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Linares to cash in on Million Dollar Crolla

| 25.03.2017

Champ taken to hammer home the message

The latest chapter of the inspirational Anthony Crolla story is told at the Manchester Arena on Saturday, as the determined lightweight battles Jorge Linares in a much-anticipated rematch for the WBA world title, live on Sky Sports.

30-year-old Crolla overcame a mountain of adversity to get his hands on the world title strap, only to have it cruelly ripped from his waist by hard-hitting Venezuelan Jorge Linares last time, courtesy of an agonisingly close points decision.

Manchester Arena Boxing

Crolla all heart

Local lad Million Dollar Crolla isn’t the most gifted boxer you will find – with a record of 31 wins against five defeats and three draws proving that – but what he lacks in finesse he more than makes up for in fitness, durability, and an unbreakable will to win.

Crolla’s first attempt at a world title ended in a draw with Columbian Darleys Perez at this venue back in the summer of 2015. He saw his opponent deducted two points for persistent low blows that night, so could, perhaps, count himself lucky to get away with the split. There was no doubting the winner of the rematch however as the Manc blew his man away, stopping him in five rounds.

Ismael Barroso suffered a similar fate next time out, falling in seven, before Linares relieved him of that title with a points verdict last September. Margins of one round, two rounds and, somehow, six rounds, meant they needed a second shot at settling the quarrel. Crolla to even up the score and win this time out is 13/8 with Coral.

Crolla faces a tough test in Linares, who ended Mitchell's career last year.

Linares loves an upset

New champion Jorge Linares is no stranger to a shock on these shores, and as well as taking Crolla’s prize possession on his last visit, fight fans will remember he KO’d Kevin Mitchell in 10 rounds at the 02 Arena back in 2015 for the WBC title.

That was a stunning match-up, with Linares down in the fifth round, before Mitchell suffered a horrible cut, touched down and was then stopped in the 10th. The winner collected a lot of friends amongst British boxing fans that night, and will fancy himself capable of hammering home the message against Crolla this time.

The champ ducks between the ropes an 8/15 favourite with us, but punters will be interested to know that he also brings a 61 per cent knockout average into this fight. The points win over Crolla was the first in five that he hasn’t won by KO/TKO. The Golden Boy seemed to have the Englishman in trouble first time out, and a play on Linares to win inside the distance looks the value at 5/2. That’s where my money goes.

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Frank Monkhouse