Jorge Linares victorious in homecoming bout
Jorge Linares was not about to lose his WBC lightweight title belt on Saturday night.
Fighting for the first time in his native Venezuela in over five years, Linares successfully defended his belt, knocking out Ivan Cano in the fourth round before a sold-out, partisan crowd at El Poliedro in Caracas, Venezuela.
With the win, Linares improves to 40-3, 27 knockouts. He has now won his last nine bouts in a row.
Cano, who resides in Mexico City, drops to 23-7-2, 15 KOs.
Linares was fighting for the first time since May 30, when he recovered from a knockdown in round six to stop Kevin Mitchell in the 10th round. Linares, who is ranked No. 1 by THE RING, was trailing on two judges’ scorecards entering that final round.
This time, it was all Linares from the opening bell. The 30-year-old fighter from nearby Barinas was the aggressor, walking Cano down and landing at will.
Cano tried to mount an attack in the latter half of the second round but the rally was short-lived as Linares dropped him with an accumulation of punches toward the end of the third round.
Sensing Cano was still hurt from the previous round, Linares went in for the kill at the start of the fourth. His persistence paid off as he landed a well-placed left hook that dropped Cano to one knee in a corner. Cano, 23-7-2, 15 KOs, beat the count but referee Len Koivisto spared Cano from further punishment, waving the fight off at 58 seconds.
The mandatory challenger for Linares’ WBC title is unbeaten Dejan Zlaticanin. It will be interesting to see if Linares does fulfill his mandatory or chooses to unify the lightweight titles. Terry Flanagan successfully defended the WBO lightweight title against Diego Magdaleno on Saturday and Darleys Perez will defend the WBA title against Anthony Crolla later this fall.
Linares is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
In other bouts:
– Middleweight Alfonso Blanco of Venezuela won a one-sided, 12-round decision over Sergey Khomitsky, Belarus. Scores were 119-109 twice and 118-112 for Blanco.
– Heavyweight contender Alexander Ustinov knocked out longtime veteran Maurice Harris in the first round.
– Maxim Vlasov won a one-sided decision over Gusmyr Perdomo in a six-round, light heavyweight bout. Scores were 60-54 twice and 59-55.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.