The War Report: Paint the perfect picture (Week 12, 2017)

THE RING Magazine/WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares. Photo credit: Lawrence Lustig

THE RING Magazine/WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares. Photo credit: Lawrence Lustig


The biggest and brightest stage of the week was under the spotlight in England last Saturday and British boxing fans witnessed “The Golden Boy” paint the perfect picture on their canvas in the Manchester Arena.


Normally referred to as “El Niño de Oro,” Jorge Linares put together an exquisite display of boxing in the hometown of Anthony Crolla and went on to defend the WBA lightweight title and THE RING Magazine lightweight championship for the first time in their immediate rematch. It was in stark contrast to the competitive battle last September that took place in the same setting and Linares dominated with brilliant strokes of his left hand.


The Venezuelan initially used that lead hand as a gauge for distance in the opening rounds but, in the third, his creativity was conveyed through it. Crolla, 31-6-3 (13), couldn’t differentiate what kind of punch Linares was about to throw and the confusion left him motionless behind his guard for much of the fight. The portrayal of his left uppercut and hook were manifested in the same motion and, while Crolla could sense the punch coming, he didn’t have a clue where it would land. By the midway point of the fight, Linares had already proven himself to be on another level than his counterpart but, in the seventh, an artsy knockdown substantiated his point.


Photo credit: Lawrence Lustig

Photo credit: Lawrence Lustig


Crolla, 30, didn’t see the left uppercut that connected perfectly on his chin and he instantly dropped to his knees once it landed. He even seemed surprised to have found himself there, all of the sudden, and, on the Showtime telecast, those ringside cheering him on could be seen grasping their heads in anguish. To his credit, Crolla perhaps had his best round in the eighth but, by the ninth, Linares implemented a right hand that would hurt Crolla once again to eventually weather him down for good. Trainer Joe Gallagher wanted to stop the fight after 11 full rounds but Crolla’s pride was far too big for his trainer’s authority. Crolla went back out there and finished the fight for morality’s sake or, in other words, let Linares put the finishing touches of his latest painting.


Linares, 31, isn’t flawless, by any means but is a polished artisan of the Sweet Science. A nomad of the sport, Linares notched his 11th straight win and has done so in five different countries. It’s likely his exhibit will return to the United States in his next bout and hopefully it’s against someone with same kind of endowment.



Fight of the Week


Randy Caballero UD 10 Jesus Ruiz (122) | March 23 – Indio, California



KO of the Week


Qudratillo Abduqaxorov TKO 1 Charles Manyuchi (147) | March 25 – Singapore



Manyuchi, 20-3-1 (12), carelessly tried an impression of “The Drunken Master” (Emmanuel Augustus) and got knocked out by a young Uzbek fighter on Saturday night in Singapore. Abduqaxorov, 11-0 (8), didn’t let all the posturing distract him and he possibly gave Manyuchi the biggest professional lesson of his life. Manyuchi, Masvingo, Zimbabwe, had realistic aspirations of heading to the United States with a win but all that changed within three minutes.



Honorable mentions


Jhonny Gonzalez KO 3 Francisco Contreras (130) | March 25 – Juarez, Mexico




Lawrence Okolie KO 1 Geoffrey Cave (200) | March 25 – Manchester, England



Conrad Cummings TKO 3 Gogi Knezevic (160) | March 25 – Manchester, England



Fighter of the Week


Jorge Linares, 42-3 (27)


Jorge Linares (left) vs. Anthony Crolla II. Photo credit: Lawrence Lustig

Jorge Linares (left) vs. Anthony Crolla II. Photo credit: Lawrence Lustig


“I feel like I hadn’t fought,” Linares insisted after the fight. “I trained hard and felt in great condition. I am ready for the big fights in the U.S. and am very grateful for (Golden Boy Promotions CEO) Oscar De La Hoya for making the trip to Manchester and being here with me for this fight against Anthony Crolla.”


Mikey Garcia, the current WBC lightweight titleholder, was in studio during the Showtime telecast and expressed his willingness to fight Linares in a unification bout. “First off, I congratulate Jorge Linares for a great win,” said Garcia. “His skill, flexibility, combinations and power were definitely impressive. I hope we can make a fight as soon as possible. He didn’t look cut or hurt, so maybe we can fight this summer.”


That’s certainly a match-up between two of boxing’s virtuosos.



Honorable mention


Ed Bilbey


Ed Bilbey


Bilbey, 17, collapsed to the canvas after an amateur bout Friday night in South Normanton, England, and was later pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital that night.


There were only three rounds fought in what was described as a competitive fight with Tyler Rivers but, just as his arm was raised in victory, Bilbey collapsed. It took a moment for those there to realize Bilbey wasn’t showing an emotional moment in victory and a spooky feeling must have overcome the room as a doctor performed CPR in the middle of the ring. Rest in peace, Ed Bilbey.



Hostile Agent of the Week


Omar Narvaez, 46-2-2 (24)


Narvaez never showed up to Puerto Rico last weekend for his scheduled fight with Emmanuel Rodriguez – marking the fourth time in which the fight was nixed. Sanctioned by the IBF as a bantamweight eliminator, Rodriguez got a replacement opponent and sparked him out in one but it won’t get him a shot at the IBF bantamweight titleholder Lee Haskins. Narvaez cited visa issues as an excuse to get out of going to Rodriguez’s home island. The fight was first scheduled to take place in Narvaez’s home country of Argentina but television issues thwarted that plan.





From this past week (in order of weight class)



World title bouts


Tyron Zeuge TD 5 Isaac Ekpo (WBA 168) | 48-47 twice, 46-46 (Fight cut short and sent to the cards after Zeuge suffered a cut from a headbutt) | Zeuge defends the WBA super middleweight title for the first time.


Photo credit: Alexey Sukachev

Photo credit: Alexey Sukachev


Jorge Linares UD 10 Anthony Crolla II (THE RING Magazine/WBA 135) | Linares defends the WBA lightweight and THE RING Magazine titles for the first time.





Lawrence Okolie KO 1 Geoffrey Cave (200)

Jason Quigley UD 10 Glen Tapia (160) | 100-90, 99-91, 98-92

Tureano Johnson KO 2 Fabiano Peña (160)

Jack Arnfield UD 12 Brian Rose (160) | 115-113 twice, 116-112

Conrad Cummings TKO 3 Gogi Knezevic (160)

Jorge Paez Jr. RTD 3 Daniel Sandoval (160)

Jason Welborn UD 10 Marcus Morrison (160) | 96-93 twice, 97-92

Azizbek Abdugofurov UD 10 Martin Fidel Rios | 98-92 twice, 97-93

Ray Robinson TKO 7 Claudinei Lacerda (154)

Neeco Macias UD 8 Cesar Soriano (154) | 78-73, 79-72, 80-71

Qudratillo Abduqaxorov TKO 1 Charles Manyuchi (147)

Deniz Ilbay UD 12 Angelo Frank (147) | No scores available

Mauricio Herrera UD 8 Hector Velazquez (147) | 80-72, 80-72, 80-72

Josh Taylor TKO 6 Warren Joubert (140)

Jhonny Gonzalez KO 3 Francisco Contreras (130)

Martin Joseph Ward UD 12 Maxi Hughes (130) | 116-112, 116-113, 118-111

Christopher Martin KO 3 Daniel Franco (126)

Tramaine Williams UD 8 Eduardo Garza (126) | 79-71 twice, 78-72

Emanuel Navarrete TKO 1 Salvador Hernandez (126)

Randy Caballero UD 10 Jesus Ruiz (122) | 96-94 twice, 97-93

Emmanuel Rodriguez TKO 1 Robinson Lavinanza (118)

Nico Hernandez TKO 4 Patrick Gutierrez (115)

Marlen Esparza UD 4 Rachel Sazoff (112) | 40-36, 40-36, 40-36


Declarations of War

Fights made official this past week


Kubrat Pulev vs. Kevin Johnson (200+) | April 28 – Sofia, Bulgaria

Robert Helenius vs. Dereck Chisora (200+) | May 27 – Helsinki, Finland

Beibut Shumenov vs. Yunier Dorticos (200) | April 29 – Las Vegas, Nevada

Cedric Vitu vs. Marcello Matano (154) | May 18 – Paris, France | An IBF junior middleweight eliminator for a mandatory shot at its titleholder Jarrett Hurd.

Josesito Lopez vs. Saul Corral (154) | April 9 – Los Angeles, California | The main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card televised on FS1.

Terence Crawford vs. Felix Diaz (THE RING Magazine/WBC/WBO 140) | May 20 – Newark, New Jersey | The main event of an HBO telecast.

Miguel Berchelt vs. Takashi Miura (WBC 130) | June 24 – Los Angeles, California | The main event of an HBO telecast.


Imminent conflicts

This week’s boxing schedule


Television (U.S.)


Tuesday, March 28


FS1 (9:00 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT) | Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino – Nice, California




Leduan Barthelemy vs. Reynaldo Blanco (140)

Kyrone Davis vs. Mark Anthony Hernandez (154)

Malcolm McAlister vs. Alejandro Torres (160)


Saturday, April 1


ESPN2 (11:00 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT) | The Cosmopolitan – Las Vegas, Nevada




Antonio Orozco vs. KeAndre Gibson (147)

Mercito Gesta vs. Gilberto Gonzalez (140)

Joet Gonzalez vs. Derrick Murray (126)


beIN Español (11:00 p.m. ET / 8 p.m.PT) | Monterrey, Mexico


Cesar Juarez vs. TBA (130)


Notable fights not on TV

In order of weight class


Friday, March 31


David Papot vs. Dzmitry Atrokhau (160) | Saint-Nazaire, France

Mzuvukile Magwaca vs. Jason Canoy (118) | Cape Town, South Africa

Gideon Buthelezi vs. Anel Aviles (115) | Cape Town, South Africa


Saturday, April 1


Mairis Briedis vs. Marco Huck (200) | Dortmund, Germany

Sefer Seferi vs. Marcelo Ferreira dos Santos (200) | Burgdorf, Switzerland

Tefik Bajrami vs. Diego Javier Sanabria (200) | Luzern, Switzerland

Luis Arias vs. Scott Sigmon (160) | Maplewood, Minnesota

Caleb Truax vs. Eric Draper (160) | Maplewood, Minnesota

Paulus Moses vs. Benoit Makangila Vela (135) | Windhoek, Namibia

Alberto Machado vs. Juan Jose Martinez (130) | Ponce, Puerto Rico

Sakaria Lucas vs. Oscar Chauke (126) | Windhoek, Namibia

Edgar Valerio vs. TBA (126) | Las Vegas, Nevada

Emilio Sanchez vs. TBA (122) | Las Vegas, Nevada

Toshiyuki Igarashi vs. Miguel Cartagena (112) | Tokyo, Japan



You can reach Michael Baca II at and follow him at





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