Tuesday, March 20, 2018  |


Jorge Linares hopes Mikey Garcia fight will remove doubts


INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Jorge Linares rotated his right hand inside a blue bucket crammed with ice, dipping the finely tuned extremity in and out.

About an hour earlier, that right hand — along with his boxing acumen and tremendous athleticism — helped him turn away the stern challenge of Luke Campbell at The Forum. Now, Linares sat in a locker-room at The Forum and attempted to reduce the swelling associated with pounding his fist into someone’s face for 36 minutes.

Soon, he was greeted by a second visitor, and this one came bearing a gift. It was HBO Sports head honcho Peter Nelson, who clasped his hands around Linares’ and congratulated the 32-year-old veteran following the victory in his HBO headlining debut. “I love watching you fight,” Nelson said. And he made sure Linares would never forget this special night.

He handed the Venezuela native a white sleeve with a clear face with the date scribbled on the disc commemorating his fight. Linares (43-3, 27 knockouts) can celebrate his re-entrance into the American television market any time he wishes now, but he’s hopeful this isn’t the summit.

Not after all the times he was counted out as a bust. After all the occasions Linares was touted as a fighter with immense potential who would never reach it.

He’s battled depression following consecutive stoppage losses in 2011-’12. That’s in the past, though. Linares climbed out of that pit, reinvented himself, and is once again flashing the hand speed and combination punching that had observers drooling over him 10 years ago when he made his American TV debut on an HBO pay-per-view undercard.

There’s one fight that can prove, once and for all, that Linares is the kind of talent he displayed that July 2007 night. He knows it.

“My goal was to come back to the American market and kind of steal the show and jump back in. This fight was meant to catapult me and set the stage for (the Mikey Garcia) fight,” Linares, shirtless in black sweat pants, told RingTV.com through a translator. “It might get complicated with the promoters, though, because Mikey Garcia loves money.

“He’s willing to go up to 150 (pounds) to make a mega fight (with Miguel Cotto). If he’s willing to go up to 150, that just shows the character of Mikey Garcia. … If we can work something out, it would be a very different fight than the one with Luke Campbell.”

The 2012 Olympic gold medalist pushed Linares to the brink and gave THE RING lightweight champion fits with his boxing ability and southpaw style. Garcia is a far more highly regarded fighter than Campbell, but he presents a much different style.

THE RING’s No. 1-rated 135-pounder is a skilled counter-puncher who packs fight-ending power in both fists. He demonstrated as much with a highlight-reel knockout of Dejan Zlaticanin in January, then THE RING’s No. 1 lightweight.

Garcia proved his pound-for-pound status with a climb to 140 pounds and a one-sided decision over Adrien Broner in July. The 29-year-old Californian indeed wants a crack at Cotto in the legend’s grand finale in December, but it could be David Lemieux who gets the future hall of famer.

Either way, Linares is back fighting in the United States where he belongs, and soon, he might have an opportunity to prove that at 32, he’s just hitting his stride.

“It’s kind of my dream fight,” Linares said of Garcia. “I’d be fighting one of the best pound-for-pound fighters. I’d be honored to be on that list.”


Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger

  • bradman

    Garcia-Linares would be an excellent scrap; Mikey ices the Venezuelan by the middle rounds.

  • ciobanu catalin

    Garcia sees himself as a mayweather(he is far from it) and only wants big money for fights, i dont think he has proven as much, fight linares fight loma and fight bud, then you will be near floyd and demand things, until then, just fight….

    • Ruben Patterson

      First thing Garcia is far from thinking or seeing himself “as a Mayweather”. Different character, demeanor, fighting style, ect. Second people forget that Mikey had cleaned out his division before his promotional issues. Every champion that came during his hiatus he had already beaten. He was chasing Linares fight before the Broner fight but it was not available, he crashed a lomachenko interview and challenged him to fight. Loma’s dad was present and stated they were not ready to move to 135 and that they would only fight Garcia if it is PPV. Now people are going to knock him for trying to move up to fight Cotto? Come’on Cotto is a 154lb fighter how can you kick him for going for the biggest challenge. Also of course any fighter would want. The big money fights why else would you do it? This would also guarantee Linares his biggest paycheck to date so in a sense his chasing the same thing.

      • ciobanu catalin

        You are taking things a bit out of context. Linares and loma are not ducker, in fact they are always looking for a tough fight. But garcia is a cherry picker since he has cleared the division a few years s back and time off. Bottom line is i would love to see fights between anyone of these 3

  • Lion king

    Garcia is good but not good enough for Loma or Crawford, he even ducked the good but no great Gamboa

  • Ten Count Toronto

    If there was some illness or injury to explain Linares ineffectiveness and apparent excess of respect to Campbell from rounds 6 to 10, they’re doing the right thing by keeping it secret
    because there ought to be a stampede of top-shelf names from 130 to 140 who are thinking now is the right time to get Linares in the ring.

    But could it be as simple as Linares taking too long to adjust styles to a different opponent? The tactics and mindset which worked so well to make the Crolla rematch lopsided and much less punishing were not a good choice against Campbell who is taller and much more athletic and thus got exactly the style of boxing in which he could compete.

    Now one of the benefits of being Linares’ age and experience is that you’re not supposed to get stuck in the wrong style for half the fight, especially when you still appear to have most of your prime speed, agility & power to work with – but it still happens, especially when they;re maybe looking past the opponent at hand.

    • Mauro Hermida

      I think he looked past him a bit. He was conservative, didn’t want to take too much in the way of risks, which would allow him to move to his dream fight. If for some reason he lost, all that would be off the table. I would have liked to see more gusto though. It seemed evident that he could apply more pressure and get more done when he needed to.


    Mikey gonna crack that glass jaw, homes!

  • william ellis

    Linares does not dodge anyone, overcame losses, fought his way back: a fine champion. But I think Garcia is on another level.