Jorge Linares and the Ties that Bind

by
Jorge Linares and the Ties that Bind
“The family met with me and said they wanted to send the kid to Japan.” (Photo: Courtesy)

Jorge Linares and the Ties that Bind

by
Jorge Linares and the Ties that Bind
“The family met with me and said they wanted to send the kid to Japan.” (Photo: Courtesy)

“The family met with me and said they wanted to send the kid to Japan.” (Photo: Courtesy)
“The family met with me and said they wanted to send the kid to Japan.” (Photo: Courtesy)

Saturday night at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom, Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares (40-3, 27 KOs), the former three-weight champion from Tokyo, Japan, by way of Barinas, Venezuela, challenges reigning and defending WBA World lightweight champion Anthony Crolla (31-4-3, 13 KOs), the Fighting Pride of Manchester, for his title.

According to WBA president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza, Linares’s talent set him apart from the beginning.

“There was a group of 60 fighters approximately that were good boxers, with high hopes, but he was the most talented of all,” Mendoza told Sky Sports.

“Linares was a little bit hyperactive to be honest, but very smart. He was very respectful, at some points quiet, but he was always very concerned about the welfare of his family. He has never changed that.”

Linares, much like his opponent this weekend, is living proof that the expression “Nice guys finish last” is not true.

An all-around sportsman who excelled in distance running and volleyball, Linares took up boxing on the advice of his father and has never looked back.

“He comes from a boxing family,” said Mendoza. “His father had a gym in front of the house. They do their homework, they run, they train. The discipline was there, the respect was there, but there was not the money.

“The family met with me and said they wanted to send the kid to Japan—he was just 15.”

Mendoza encouraged Linares to put his professional ambitions on hold while continuing his education.

“I said you have not graduated from high school, I’m not going to allow that. I told him, ‘At this point I don’t know if you’re going to be a world champion,’ and he replied: ‘I will be.’

“He came back with a high school diploma and said, ‘Now you cannot deny me, I have to go to Japan. Our refrigerator is like a fish tank—we only have water and light. I need to feed my family, I’m going to be a world champion.’”

Despite their shared history and mutual admiration, Mendoza’s respect for Linares and all he has achieved is mirrored by the respect he feels toward Anthony Crolla.

“This is very tough,” Mendoza said, “because I love Anthony Crolla’s story. But I have to be impartial. The fight on Saturday will prove that good kids can fight. They are very disciplined, they are both family men, and their styles are alike.

“This moment in their career is critical for each other and they are the best lightweights in the world. Besides that, they are role models, and it shows that boxing has good values. It’s going to be a very, very interesting bout.”

This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.


Crolla and Linares Make Weight

Crolla and Linares Make Weight



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