Jorge Linares hopes to go back to the well at least one more time.
The former three-division titlist returns to jolly old England, against whose fighters he has enjoyed extraordinary success. Linares arrives back in country as a considerable underdog versus former title challenger Jack Catterall this Saturday on DAZN from M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England.
“I had amazing fighters there three times,” Linares said of his previous trips to the U.K. “This is an amazing dream for me. I always wanted to go back to the UK to make another amazing fight with the best 135lbs or 140lbs fighter.
“The best option was Jack Catterall. The motivation that I have right now is the same as it was seven or eight years ago.”
Linares (47-8, 29KOs) is a considerable underdog for his first fight back in England since his March 2015 repeat win over Anthony Crolla. The Venezuela-born boxer—who has spent more than 20 years in Japan—was a reigning lightweight titlist at the time, when he was still among the division’s best and at a point in his career where he could turn aways top challengers and former titlists.
A points win over 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and then-rising contender Luke Campbell later that September in the U.S. ran Linares’ record to a perfect 4-0 versus British competition. The run dated back to a May 2015 tenth-round knockout of Kevin Mitchell to defend his WBC lightweight title.
The charismatic 38-year-old has fallen on much harder times in the six years since his win over Campbell. He lost his WBA lightweight title to Vasiliy Lomachenko in May 2018 and suffered a stunning first-round knockout to Pablo Cesar Canelo eight months later. He won his next two fights but has lost three in a row and is a considerable +550 underdog according to bet365 ahead of his latest UK adventure. Chorley’s Catterall (27-1, 13KOs), a 30-year-old southpaw and a -1000 favorite to claim his second win since a controversial defeat to then-unbeaten and undisputed junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor last February 26 in Glasgow.
“This is the most difficult fight of my life. I need to win this fight,” admitted Linares. “I feel like I’m a World Champion right now. I need to come to the UK to defend all my belts. This is the responsibility that I have right now, the pressure that I have right now.
“This time is different because I come from a loss. After this fight something big is coming for me. That’s why it’s very important for me to win this fight.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox