Let me start by saying that Jorge Linares has always been a favorite of mine, his technique and combination punching for me is what separates him from most other fighters.
As for Anthony Crolla, he is a tough as nails fighter looking to get his payback after losing a hard fought decision to Linares this past September.
In their first fight both fighters had their share of good moments, but I felt it was Linares who displayed better footwork to create the angles to land the cleaner shots.
With the big win over Crolla, Linares lifted the vacant RING lightweight title and also claimed Crolla’s WBA strap. So Crolla will be fighting for redemption and to get his straps back around his waist.
From what I have seen recently in Crolla’s sparring footage as he prepares for the Linares rematch, I see a sharper more motivated fighter in Crolla. However, Crolla must know that it’s going to take a very educated and disciplined performance to get his titles back.
So how do I see the rematch going?
Much like their first fight, I see Linares opening up to the body then shifting his feet to tag Crolla with eye-catching combination shots to the head. Linares will do this early and often.
Crolla will then be forced to work behind his jab to find the range to release his own arsenal.
Linares will again look to employ his lateral movement to locate escape routes and in turn will push Crolla to continue to reset his footing.
The Linares combination punch sequence will once again be memorable and will leave a lasting impression on the judges.
Linares will again box brilliantly, but he must hold his ground in the championship rounds because Crolla will be right there with his gutsy menacing rallies.
I see Linares (41-3, 27 knockouts) winning unanimously in another hard fought but clear decision. And hopefully the brilliant sharp shooting Mikey Garcia showdown is up next. A fight against Mikey Garcia would be a highly skilled tactical clash for Linares and it is a fight that every fight fan would love to see come to fruition.
As for Crolla (31-5-3, 13 KOs) it will be back to the drawing boards and I could see him tangling with a former champion Juan ”Baby Bull” Diaz. Question then however will be if Diaz would want to face a fighter that holds no titles.
My pick: Jorge Linares in a 8 rounds to 4 unanimous clear decision win. I just feel that Linares this time around will not allow himself to get dragged into a dog fight. As mentioned above, I see Linares using his sharp dagger of a jab and his shifty footwork to position himself to land eye catching combinations from bottom to top. Once again however, I do see this fight having some back and forth exchanges that Crolla will be desperately pressing and forcing Linares to trade leather with him. So fight fans are going to be the ultimate winners in this anticipated rematch.