Linares, Crolla and today's boxing
24th September, 2016
I’ve just finished watching Anthony Crolla put his WBA Lightweight title on the line against Jorge Linares in Manchester. From what I saw on the tv, the crowd and the atmosphere was amazing and rewarded with a fight that had the combination of world class skill, action and talent.
Hats off to Jorge Linares who, in my opinion (finally) put all of his talent together with a steely grit to win the most impressive victory of his career. He was a class above Anthony Crolla tonight and I mean that with no disrespect to Crolla, who was excellent himself.
The talk online has predictably been about a third straight weekend of British boxers losing in high profile fights. While that is true I personally believe its something to be lauded rather than shamed.
Two weeks ago Kell Brook did what a lot of middleweights have avoided doing by stepping in the ring with Gennady Golovkin. While it’s true he had more to gain than to lose, he still put his heart and soul on line for an event that drew huge crowds in London. Likewise, Liam Smith traveled out to Texas to defend his Junior Middleweight belt, face a partisan crowd and eventually succumb to Canelo’s body work in the later rounds. Crolla could have taken an easy fight and nobody would have blamed him after Perez and Barrosa, but he chose to face the best in his division.
It’s true that the British boxers have lost each of these fights, but its also true that they were, champions or not, close if not underdogs. In days gone by these fighters could/would have made a string of non-competitive title defenses to line their pockets, never testing themselves against the best of their division, they didn’t do that. Each of these fighters chose the hardest route with variying success.
Perhaps I live in another world, and my wife tells me that I do. But I honestly think fans of boxing want to see the best fights, not just the best fighters. Say what you want about these British champs with their “world titles” but at least they’re willing to put them on the line. They are honestly looking to find out who the best fighter in their division is. Can you say the same about the likes of Danny Garcia or Adonis Stevenson?
So while boxing in the US is at an all time low, with the PBC hemorrhaging money and top rank/golden boy largely reduced to internet streams. It’s worth taking the wider view that boxing is in no way dead, its just prospering elsewhere for the time being.