Today’s press conference in Manchester to announce the Linares-Crolla rematch was beyond refreshing. In an era of table-throwing, sucker-punching and verbal sparring, it’s easy to forget that elite fighters can still sell a fight on the back of pure professionalism, proven in-the-ring entertainment and genuine class. Both men were full of respect for one-another after their Fight of the Year contender last year, which Linares won via a fairly comfortable unanimous decision.
Even before the lights were on and the cameras were rolling, local hero Crolla was working his way around the room – thanking both assorted media and loyal fans for turning up. The rematch between the pair could well end up being another great spectacle, and as the now-challenger Crolla told BNTV, he’s more desperate than ever to learn from his mistakes and steal the show on his big night. He said:
“Manchester’s the perfect setting. Last time was the perfect setting – but this one’s going to be even bigger. Jorge Linares is seen as the best lightweight in the world, and my ambition is to be the best lightweight in the world. I want to beat Jorge Linares, pick up those three beautiful belts and also stake my claim to be the best. I could’ve had a tune-up fight, but I want to be involved with these big nights. My last few fights have all been big nights. That’s what I want and that’s what I thrive on.”
In a tactical sense, Crolla is preparing to enter the trenches for twelve rounds once more. Himself and trainer Joe Gallagher have already began making tweaks ahead of March 25, and as he told BNTV, the fight – at some point – will once again undoubtedly explode into life. He finished by saying:
“I see it being another war. I think there’ll be a few changes from both of us. We’re going to go away, and we’re going to work on things to make sure we improve on the first performance. I think at times it will be a chess match, but one thing I can guarantee is this… There’ll come a point in this fight – maybe earlier than last time – where we go to war, and it’ll be an entertaining fight for the fans.
“I felt last time that the fight was going my way and I was getting a foothold in it. Then, at the end of round six, he buzzed me with a great shot. I won the next round on all three of the cards, but that shot took a bit of zip out of both of my legs. That then allowed Jorge to move his feet, and I wasn’t cutting the ring off quick enough. This time, I’ve got to obviously not get caught with a big shot, but also work on things like cutting the ring off and being that bit smarter.”
Tickets for Jorge Linares vs. Anthony Crolla on March 25 at the Manchester Arena can still be purchased via www.stubhub.co.uk, with chief support being Jack Arnfield vs. Brian Rose for the WBA International middleweight title.