Las Vegas' Jorge Linares defends lightweight title on Showtime

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He showed vast bravery to battle back in the eighth after hitting the deck but Linares moved into a higher gear and stamped his authority on the fight. On all three scorecards, Linares won by 118 points to 109, a huge margin. But none more so than the left uppercut that dropped Crolla, 30, in Round 7.

Indeed, whereas Crolla pushed forward confidently during the opening rounds of their first fight, the 30-year-old native of the United Kingdom was more cautious in the opening rounds.

"I'm obviously gutted about how the fight went".

Crolla insists he has made crucial adjustments after defeat when the two fighters met past year: "Obviously, I'm not going to give too much away, but we have to be smarter in the ring".

The win sets Linares up for a possible unification fight with WBC Lightweight World Champion Mikey Garcia, a matchup that would be considered one of the best that can be made in any weight class.

"His movement was very good, his variety was good, he came back better in most departments. I think we can get it into works and maybe fight him this summer, maybe late July".

Cut in the sixth and dropped by a spearing uppercut in the seventh, three identical scorecards of 118-109 were perhaps even a little generous to the undoubtedly fearless but outgunned home fighter. To win this one, Crolla needed to make it rough and ugly and hopefully cut Linares, but he was never able to make that happen. "I believe I can come again".

"It sounds stupid but the end of the round was probably better for him than me because I'd recovered and it was one of the times I'd had a bit of success". Showtime (or ShoBox, if you like) is giving us live coverage of Jorge Linares (41-3, 27 KOs) defending his WBA World Lightweight Title against Anthony Crolla (31-5-3, 13 KOs) at Manchester Arena in Manchester, U.K.

Trainer Joe Gallagher wanted to pull his man out after the 11th but Crolla showed characteristic bravery to talk him out of it. Light-welterweight - with the notice - I'd certainly go into it that's for sure.

"I'm 30 years old but I don't think I'm an old 30". I was a fan of his and if it wasn't me taking the punches I probably would have been admiring what he was doing.

To his credit, the gritty local hero came back with a strong response in the eighth, but Linares was just far too sharp and every time Crolla attempted to force the issue, it only led to him being laced with spiteful counters. The setting was flawless but I lost my belt.