Some people felt there wasn’t even a good reason for a rematch today between Jorge Linares and Anthony Crolla, and Linares did his best to prove those pundits correct, winning a wide decision against a game Crolla in Manchester.
Linares (42-3, 27 KO) won on scores of 118-109 across the board from the three judges at ringside. Bad Left Hook had it 120-107 on two separate cards.
Linares dominated this fight in a way he didn’t the first time around, even if you were one of the wider scorers of that contest. This time out, he really gave Crolla (31-6-3, 13 KO) nothing at all, bedeviling him with movement, angles, combinations, and a tricky left hand that Linares disguised very well. In the seventh round, already up big on the cards, Linares caught Crolla with a masterful lead left uppercut, clipping him under the chin. Crolla hesitated, stumbled, and hit the canvas.
But Crolla showed why he’s such a popular fighter, too. At that point, he could easily have been mentally defeated and given up on himself, but he fought the eighth and ninth rounds with real conviction, trying his best to lure Linares into doing something stupid. He failed, ultimately, but he gave a sincere, hard effort, and there’s a lot to be said for that.
After the 11th round, trainer Joe Gallagher wanted to pull Crolla from the fight, but the fighter begged to finish the bout, and did so by going another three minutes with a man who was simply a class or two above him this time around.
Linares is now expected to face Mikey Garcia, who holds the WBC lightweight title, in what would potentially be a unification with Linares WBA “world” title. That fight looks very intriguing as a clash of styles and talents. Could Linares have just the right style to finally truly test Garcia?
Martin Joseph Ward (17-0-2, 8 KO) retained the British super featherweight title with a win over Maxi Hughes (16-3-2, 2 KO) on scores of 116-112, 116-113, and 118-111, in the third fight between the two. Ward is now 2-0-1 against Hughes, and has certainly settled whatever score was left.
Veteran Jason Welborn (21-6, 7 KO) upset previously unbeaten middleweight prospect Marcus Morrison (14-1, 10 KO), scoring a decision win on tallies of 96-93, 96-93, and 97-92 over 10 rounds.
Katie Taylor improved to 4-0 (2 KO) with an eight round points win over Milena Koleva (9-8-1, 3 KO) on a referee’s score of 80-72.