RING Ratings update: Jorge Linares inching closer to P4P Top 10
Jorge Linares dazzled everyone with his artistic domination of Anthony Crolla on Saturday night in England but nothing changed for him in the RING Ratings.
The Japan-based Venezuelan won a wide unanimous decision in their rematch, the first defense of the RING lightweight title he won by outpointing Crolla somewhat less emphatically in September. Linares looked so good that more than one member of the RING Ratings Panel suggested he be added the pound-for-pound Top 10.
That’s not a far-fetched idea given Linares’ seamless performance on Saturday – in Crolla’s hometown of Manchester – and his effectiveness over the past few years, always as a road warrior.
The problem was that he would’ve had to supplant the fighter currently at No. 10 on the pound-for-pound list, 23-year-old Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue.
Inoue (12-0, 10 knockouts) has made the most of his short career, winning major titles in two divisions and looking spectacular each time out. And, similar to Vasyl Lomachenko, he took on major challenges right out of the gate. Among his victims: Ryoichi Taguchi, Adrian Hernandez, Omar Narvaez, David Carmona and Kohei Kono.
Linares (42-3, 27 KOs) has won 11 consecutive fights since back-to-back losses in 2011 and ’12, including seven knockouts. Victories over Kevin Mitchell and Crolla (twice) are evidence that he is finally living up to his vast potential.
So what did we decide? To leave things alone for now.
We feel that Inoue has a slightly stronger resume over the past few years. In particular, Crolla (who dropped from No. 4 to No. 8 at 135) is a solid opponent but too limited to launch Linares onto our pound-for-pound list. Plus, Inoue has been more active than Linares, who fought only once last year because of a hand injury. Inoue fought three times in 2016, although he hasn’t fought yet in 2017.
Linares’ pound-for-pound fate could be in his hands, though.
If he fights and beats beastly Mikey Garcia, an enormous 135-pound matchup that already is percolating, it would be much more difficult to keep him out of the pound-for-pound Top 10.