Jorge Linares' upcoming WBC lightweight title defense on Saturday night in Caracas, Venezuela, may not have the boxing world at large buzzing, but the 30-year-old titleholder is excited for a simple reason: he's coming home for a world title fight.
Linares (39-3, 26 KO) has not fought in Venezuela since 2010, when he beat veteran Francisco Lorenzo via 10-round decision. In fact, he's only fought in Venezuela three times as a pro, previously in 2004 and 2005, basing the majority of his early career in Japan, and in the second half of his pro run, fighting regularly there, in the United States, and in Mexico. Most recently, he went to the United Kingdom and beat Kevin Mitchell in the first defense of the WBC belt.
So for Linares, bringing a world title fight to Venezuela is a big deal.
"I am ready to continue dominating the lightweight division and ready to bring a big night of boxing to Venezuela on October 10," said Linares. "This is a great homecoming for me. After traveling for most of my career I am proud to bring the title to Venezuela and be able to defend it at home. On October 10, I will continue to show why I am a champion at 135 pounds."
Linares, who has won eight straight since back to back stoppage losses to Antonio DeMarco and Sergio Thompson in 2011-12, will be facing lightly-regarded Mexican Ivan Cano (23-6-2, 15 KO) in the main event, which will be available to American fight fans via WatchESPN.com.
"This is my opportunity to show the world that I am a feared contender in the lightweight division," Cano said. "I am coming off a victory in February, and I am ready to continue that momentum when I face Linares on October 10."
Even with the confidence, this is a big step up in class for Cano, whose most comparable opponent would probably be Dierry Jean. Jean stopped Cano in 11 rounds back in 2012, and Cano is 2-2-2 in his last six fights.
Promoter Oscar De La Hoya added, "Linares is one of, if not the best, fighters to come out of Venezuela so the crowd will be electric, cheering him on to victory every step of the way. Linares is one of the boxing's most exciting fighters to watch so I'm pleased fans around the world will have the opportunity to see him in action this Saturday."