Today: 14-04-2024

Linares is back? Will fight Ketterall after a disappointing period

On October 21st in Liverpool, United Kingdom, there will be a fight between 30-year-old British boxer Jack Catterall (21-1, 13 KOs) and 38-year-old Venezuelan Jorge Linares (47-8, 29 KOs).

Linares unexpectedly appears in such a high-profile matchup. Not long ago, it seemed that his days of fighting serious opponents were over. His most recent impressive fight was against Devin Haney. After that, he had a series of fights in Russia.

Jorge Linares is known to Ukrainian boxing fans for his bout against Vasyl Lomachenko. They met in the spring of 2018. At that time, Ukrainian boxer Vasyl Lomachenko was fighting for the lightweight world championship according to the WBA version.

Vasyl had a tough time for a significant part of the fight. He had to contend with a larger opponent who was not willing to give up, unlike previous opponents. Furthermore, Linares caught Lomachenko with a right-hand punch and remains the only boxer who officially knocked down the Ukrainian.

The punch led to a flash knockdown. Lomachenko quickly got up, fought even more aggressively, and eventually stopped his opponent. In the tenth round, Vasyl landed a body shot that seemingly caused real pain, but it's unclear whether it was genuinely painful or if he decided not to continue.

After that, Jorge Linares had mixed performances. He scored a knockout victory over Abner Cotto in the third round but was knocked out in the first round by middleweight Pablo Cesar Cano, who had a decent punch. Then there were two victories against middleweights and a fight against Devin Haney.

Against the American, the former champion fought well. He created dangerous moments and even managed to hurt his opponent towards the end of one of the rounds. However, he ultimately lost by decision after twelve rounds.

Following that, Linares traveled to Russia. He had two fights there, first defeating Zaur Abdullaev but then suffering a knockout in the twelfth round. This happened just days before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. However, Jorge continued to fight even after that. In Yekaterinburg, he lost by decision to Zhora Hamazaryan.

It seemed like the end. Boxers sometimes transition from major fights to such shows in countries where they pay for their beatings. And the losses were quite unusual. A knockout due to recklessness and a decision loss to a middleweight. It appeared that age and physical abilities were diminishing.

But now Jorge Linares will face one of the leaders in the super lightweight division (up to 140 pounds), and it will be for the WBA Intercontinental title. So, if Linares wins, he will have the right to contend for the full WBA title currently held by Rolando Romero.

Why did Catterall choose Linares? Here, perhaps, the name played a role and the relatively low risk. Jack is an underrated boxer. Not long ago, he gave Josh Taylor a hard time in the super lightweight division.

They met on February 26, 2022, in a fight for the status of undisputed champion. And the then-undisputed champion literally struggled to secure the victory, which some fans and experts questioned.

Nothing seemed to work for Taylor. He had a cut right from the start of the match. He was knocked down and had points deducted for rule violations. Catterall also had a point deducted.

The fight looked chaotic, mostly from the champion's side. Josh couldn't figure out his opponent, who seemingly did nothing unusual. He was focused, precise, and unafraid. He didn't break under Taylor's punches and didn't shy away from speed but made Taylor expend energy in close combat and clinches.

Taylor's hand was raised, but this fight took a toll on him. Josh hadn't boxed for over a year. He had lost his titles along the way, relinquishing some voluntarily and losing others by organizational decisions. Then he faced Teofimo Lopez, who defeated him convincingly.

Jack, on the other hand, returned with a decision victory over Darragh Foley, but it wasn't impressive. It was just a good win, nothing more. So, this upcoming fight should answer all questions for Catterall; otherwise, there will be more doubts, especially considering his tendency to self-promotion.

There are no questions about Linares. He's earning money by putting his head on the line and hoping to land a good punch in return. If he succeeds, he will have one of the best chances and could be in the running for the "Upset of the Year" award. If not, no one will be surprised.

After his trips to Russia, even after the invasion, expectations for this man are minimal.

In terms of odds, Catterall is the clear favorite at 1.10. Linares is such an outsider that there has probably never been such a wide gap in his career. You can bet on him at 6.50.

Indeed, Linares winning would be a miracle. He's no longer the same boxer he was five years ago. Physical condition and motivation may be diminishing.

What Linares still has going for him is his punching power. He's not a typical one-punch knockout artist, but getting hit by him is not advisable. However, Jorge is becoming slower both in attack and defense. He can't move forward or backward as quickly.

The crucial factor here is what Catterall will bring to the table. An ideal scenario for the British fighter against the current Linares would be a fight lasting five or six rounds. Jack should be breaking down the once-famous fighter without any problems. He has a similar punching power but sees where and when to strike and can execute it.

In reality, if Jack doesn't win by stoppage, there will be questions. Because his previous fight wasn't impressive. This fight should put all doubts to rest; otherwise, there will be more and more questions, especially given Catterall's penchant for self-praise.

There are no questions about Linares. He's making money by putting his head on the line and hoping to land a good punch in return. If he succeeds, he will have one of the best chances and could be in the running for the "Upset of the Year" award. If not, no one will be surprised.