Almost 21 years after knocking out Kyong Soo Chung in his professional debut, Jorge Linares is hanging up the gloves. “Niño de Oro” confirmed his retirement in an interview with Boxing News and on Instagram, claiming that he’s done with fighting but not with boxing.
Born in Venezuela but operating out of Japan since the age of 17, Linares opened his career with a 27-fight winning streak that saw him claim titles at 126 and 130 pounds. Despite the marvelous offense that would become his calling card, cracks appeared in 2009 when Juan Salgado Zambrano blew him away in 73 seconds to claim Ring Magazine’s Upset of the Year.
After two years of rebuilding, Linares opted to move to lightweight and challenge Antonio DeMarco for the vacant WBC belt. He racked up an insurmountable lead on all three cards going into the 11th, only for his durability to once again fail him as DeMarco bloodied and battered him for the comeback stoppage. A two-round drubbing at the hands of Sergio Thompson followed, leaving Linares in career purgatory before he’d even left his mid-20s.
To his credit, Linares quickly recovered and embarked on a six-year, 13-fight winning streak, notably beating the likes of Kevin Mitchell, Anthony Crolla, and Luke Campbell before falling just short against a mid-prime Vasiliy Lomachenko.
That run would prove the peak of his career An attempted move to 140 saw him flattened by Pablo Cesar Cano, and though he gave Devin Haney a tough out in his final lightweight title fight, he’d ultimately end his career on a four-fight skid.
His final record sits at 47-9 with 29 knockouts.
There’s something deeply admirable about a fighter with such obvious, debilitating, and physically insurmountable weaknesses going so far through sheer skill and effort. Linares earned plenty of hardware, produced plenty of highlights, and leaves boxing with nothing to be ashamed of. Happy trails, champ.