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Linares vs. Crolla: Anthony attempts to regain WBA belt

Jorge Linares boxing photo

By Scott Gilfoid: Anthony Crolla was outclassed in his previous fight with Jorge Linares last September in losing a 12 round unanimous decision. That was against an injured Linares, who fought with a hurt right hand from round 6 on. This Saturday, Crolla (31-5-3, 13 KOs) will attempt to beat a healthy Linares (41-3, 27 KOs) to win his WBA World lightweight title, as well as the WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine lightweight belts at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. Crolla is really up against it.

Crolla didn’t possess the talent to get the job done with Linares fighting with just one hand last year. Just how Crolla get the job done against an uninjured Linares, 31, is the important question. It doesn’t look good for Crolla unless he come through with a body shot knockout like he did against Darleys Perez in 2015. Linares doesn’t make stupid mistakes like Perez did with him backing up against the ropes and covering up. Linares is well-trained, and he always stays in the center of the ring in order to use his superior boxing skills.

You can argue that the main thing Crolla has going for him is the fact that the Linares fight is taking place in his hometown of Manchester. The crowd will be cheering every punch Crolla throws in the fight, and you have to imagine that any close rounds will be given to Crolla. The scoring for Crolla’s previous fight with Linares seemed WAY OFF compared to the fight that I saw. Two of the judges gave Linares a narrow victory.

Personally, I only gave Crolla 2 rounds in the entire fight and those were in the second half of the fight after Linares was injured. The judged scored it 115-114, 115-113 and 117-111. The last score made sense to me, but the first two scores looked like they were from a different fight. The 115-114 score came from British judge John Keane.

“Jorge Linares is all I’m focusing on, but beat him and it’s only going to grow,” said Crolla to skysports.com. “It’s only going to get bigger and bigger.”

Linares is a road warrior, who is well accustomed to fighting on the road in foreign territory. Linares did the job in the past twice in the UK in beating Crolla and Kevin Mitchell. It seems like Linares fights at a higher level when the crowd is rooting against him. The noise motivates Linares rather than causing him to become unglued the way it does for other fighters. As such, Crolla’s hometown advantage doesn’t help as much as you’d think.

The only area that I think it helps is with the scoring by the judges. However, Linares was so much better than Crolla last time out, it impossible for the judges to mess up the fight. You could see with your eyes that Linares gave Crolla a boxing lesson from start to finish, even after he injured his hand.

Linares has problems against fighters that can punch. Unfortunately, Crolla, he can’t punch upstairs with a lot of power. Crolla is a good body puncher, but he lacks the power to go to the head with authority. Linares doesn’t have issues facing body punchers, because he doesn’t stand still long enough for them to get close to him, and he’s very good at defending against the body shots. As such, Crolla’s main offensive weapons will be a non-factor on Saturday against Linares.

If Crolla is going to win this fight, he’s going to need to try and beat Linares by a knockout. I just don’t see that happening, because he’s not going to be able to knock Linares out with a body shot like he did against Perez. Linares is too well schooled to be taken out with a body shot.

I hate to say it but I see Crolla losing once again to Linares this Saturday, but this time it’ll be much worse for him. Linares is 100 percent healthy for this fight, and it’s unlikely that he’ll come up lame in the second half of the contest with another injury. Linares was hurting Crolla with his body shots last September. He sapped the energy right out of Crolla after giving him a taste of his own medicine by hitting hum hard with a right to the body.




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