Jorge Linares feels inspired by his chance to return in the UK to face Jack Catterall

Jorge Linares clocks Al Toyogon with a right cross during his comeback fight in Tokyo. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Former three-weight world champion Jorge Linares will look to hold off not just Jack Catterall but also Father Time when the pair collide in a scheduled 12-round junior welterweight contest at the M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, England (formerly Echo Arena) on Saturday.

Linares, who captured world titles at featherweight, junior lightweight and lightweight during a productive career, welcomes the opportunity to return to the U.K., which over the years had been a happy hunting ground for him.

“I’m so excited to be in the U.K. it’s my first time in Liverpool but I have a lot of history in London and two times in Manchester,” Linares (47-8, 29 knockout) told The Ring. “This time it’s a different opponent, different location, different ring, different fans. I’m so excited to be there.

“I think now I feel different because I feel like now I go back to my house, my town. I remember in 2015 when I fought Kevin Mitchell it was total different feeling from now, when I fought Anthony Crolla two times in Manchester it was totally different, I was more comfortable.

“Catterall is an amazing southpaw, he’s had a lot of good fights in the past. I saw an amazing job he made with [then undisputed junior welterweight titleholder Josh] Taylor. I have a lot of experience and am super happy to fight in England. I’m feeling super good to show the people who I am and I’m back in a good way.”

Despite setbacks, Linares wants to remain in the fight game. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

The 38-year-old veteran enters the fight after losing his last three, firstly to Devin Haney (UD 12) and then twice in Russia against Zaur Abdullaev (TKO 12) and Zhora Hamazaryan (UD 10) in 2022.

Since then, Linares has taken time away from boxing and returns with a healthily mind and feels he is a reinvigorated fighter.

“I watched a lot of boxers at lightweight and junior welterweight and I can see I have still have a lot of chances,” he said. “I’m happy, I’m focused, I’m training very well, like ten years ago. I can be a champion again if I want, it depends on me, my mentality, my motivation, the people around me. Now I have the same feeling I had before when I was a champion. That’s why I’m back in the gym, why I’m back fighting again.

“No matter how old I am, I don’t care about that, my life is very healthy all the time, I take care of myself, I eat clean, very healthy. My life is very nice, very clean all the time. I’m back. I do a better job than before, no matter I lose three times, I don’t care about that. I have a lot of experience, I know I feel good, when I feel bad, that’s why I know when I lose. It’s another big opportunity to make an amazing fight to win again and then fight a lot of big fights. I’m very honest with you, my team, my family, with my people, my target is to make a maximum two more fights and I want to retire with a good legacy.”

Although Linares has been a professional for 21-years, he isn’t ready to walk away just yet.

“I’m very focused on Catterall, that’s the most important thing, I don’t need to be thinking about the future and next year, now I need to be focused on this fight on October 21,” he said. “Win this fight and then I can sit down and then all the opportunities can come naturally. There are a lot of good fighters at 135 and 140. I cannot think too much about who’s next. The important thing is right now. I’m super happy, focused, excited to make an amazing fight with Catterall.”

Linares has been training in Miami since the early summer before moving is camp to Las Vegas six weeks ago to hook up with regular trainer Ismael Salas and his assistant Fernando Diaz, and he is primed to return to big-time boxing.

He has longed for a return to England and now he has that opportunity again.

“That was my dream from three years,” he said. “I was talking to my team and family, ‘I’m so excited to go back and fight in England.’ So imagine how I feel.

“I want to say thank you to all the people in the UK, thank you for the support, they like my style, they’re happy to see me again. I’m excited to be there and make a beautiful fight with Catterall.”

Catterall (27-1, 13 KOs), rated at No. 6 by The Ring at junior welterweight,  learned on the job after he turned professional and scored several impressive wins over the likes of Tom Stalker (TKO 8), Joe Hughes (UD 12), and then won the British title against Tyrone Nurse (UD 12). However, despite staying unbeaten his career seemed to stall.

He was the WBO No. 1 ranked contender and finally got his big chance when he met then undisputed champion Josh Taylor. Catterall fought the fight of his life, dropping Taylor before holding off the defending champions’ late charge. Most believed he had done enough but he lost a highly contentious 12-round split decision. When the rematch never came to pass, the 30-year-old craftsman returned and beat Darragh Foley (UD 10).

This is an excellent opportunity for Catterall to put a big-name former champion on his ledger, while it gives Linares one last chance to get back into the title picture. However, Father Time is difficult to defeat and Linares has been on the slide. It will be difficult to arrest that slide here. I expect Linares to have some moments early but as the fight progresses, it becomes more one-sided and Catterall can get a second half stoppage.

Catterall-Linares, plus undercard bouts, will be broadcast on DAZN at 2:00 p.m. ET/ 11:00 a.m. PT. and 7 p.m. GMT.

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