Matthysse-Kiram & Linares-Gesta – Official weights
By Jeff Aranow: Lucas Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs), Tewa Kiram (38-0, 25 KOs), Jorge Linares (43-3, 27 KOs) and Mercito Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs) all made weight for their fights this Saturday night on HBO Boxing After Dark [BAD] at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
(Photo credit: Tom Hogan- Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions)
Matthysse weighed in at 147 pounds, while his opponent 25-year-old Kiram weighed in at 146.1 lbs. Matthysse and Kiram will be fighting for the vacant WBA World welterweight title. Kiram looked a little bit taller than Matthysse during the face off between the two. However, the size difference wasn’t nearly as pronounced as Matthysse’s fight against the 5’11” Viktor Postol in 2015. Matthysse was too short for Postol, and he wound up taking a beating and getting stopped in the 10th round.
This is the ideal fight for Matthysse, 35, to score a knockout to win the vacant WBA 147 lb. title. It doesn’t get any better than this for Matthysse, as Kiram has been isolated in his native Thailand his entire career, matched against little more than novice fighters and journeyman. Kiram’s record is one of the most padded that you’ll ever see from a fighter ranked at No.1 by the World Boxing Association.
The WBA is about to be made to look really bad on Saturday if Matthysse obliterates #1 WBA Kiram in the early rounds, because a quick victory will reflect on the judgement of the sanctioning body to rank the Thailand fighter so highly. Matthysse seems to know what he has in front of him in Kiram, and he can’t wait to get in the ring to bludgeon the inexperienced fighter.
Linares weighed in at 135 lbs. for his voluntary title defense against 30-year-old Gesta, who is trained by Linares’ old trainer Freddie Roach. Gesta weighed-in at 134.8 lbs. This is not expected to be a competitive fight between Linares and Gesta.
Gesta got the better of Linares during a sparring session 7 years ago in 2011. Of course, that was sparring and not the real thing. At the time of the sparring session, Gesta’s career was seen as being very bright. Unfortunately for Gesta, he was beaten soundly by IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez by a 12 round unanimous decision in 2012, and he’s never been able to fully come back from that loss.
Gesta’s boxing fans career has gone nowhere since that defeat. There’s some bad blood between Roach and Linares, as he used to train him years ago, and he struggled with him in losing to Antonio DeMarco and Sergio Thompson in back to back fights in 2011 and 2012. Linares’ time with Roach as his trainer was not the high point of his career. Linares has done well lately in winning his last 12 fights.
“I lost two fights with Freddie Roach,” Linares said to the latimes.com. “I don’t blame him, I blame myself.”
Linares’ biggest gripe about Roach was he was constantly busy with other fighters, and he didn’t have the attention that he needed from him to work on things.
Roach works well as a trainer for some fighters, but he doesn’t always work out for different guys. Roach seems to work best when he trains fighters that use an attacking style of fighting. As long as Roach’s fighters are able to fight hard for a full 3 minutes per round in bringing pressure, they do well with him. But when they struggle and need to turn to Roach for a Plan-B option, things don’t work out as well. We saw that clearly with Manny Pacquiao in his loss to Jeff Horn last July. Roach looked flustered and confused in the corner for that fight. He didn’t seem to have any answers to try and help the struggling Pacquiao get back into the fight.
“He was really busy,” Linares said in talking about his former trainer Roach. “Now, I’m with [trainer] Ismael Salas and I’ve won 12 straight fights. I’m on a great run with him, the best moment of my career. And I don’t want to live in the past.”
Linares has fought well since 2013, beating Luke Campbell, Anthony Crolla [twice], Ivan Cano, Kevin Mitchell, Javier Prieto, Ira Terry, Francisco Contreras, Berman Sanchez, and many others fighters. Whether Linares could have beaten those same guys if Roach had been his trainer is hard to know. It’s likely that Linares would have beaten those fighters, because most of them were flawed and didn’t have the same physical skills that he possesses.
Linares should take care of Gesta with no problems on Saturday. Where Linares could come unglued is when he faces WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia this year. That’s going to be a very tough fight for Linares, and he could very well lose. There won’t be anyone to blame but himself if he gets beaten by Garcia, because Roach won’t be the guy in his corner for that fight. It’ll be Salas.
Linares is coming off of a big win over the very tough Luke Campbell last September at The Forum in Inglewood. That was a good 12 round split decision win for Linares in beating one of the best fighters in the lightweight division. To beat a guy like Campbell, Linares needed to be at his best to out-box him and show him that he’s not quite on his level. Linares extended his contract with Golden Boy Promotions, and things are looking good for him right now.
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