Jorge Luis Linares Palencia (born August 22, 1985), best known as Jorge Linares, is a Venezuelan professional boxer who has held the WBA and Ring magazine lightweight titles since 2016. He is a four-time world champion in three weight classes, having previously held the WBC featherweight title from 2007 to 2008; the WBA super featherweight title from 2008 to 2009; and the WBC lightweight title from 2014 to 2016. As of May 2017, he is ranked as the world's best lightweight by The Ring and BoxRec, and second by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
Linares made his professional boxing debut managed by the Teiken Boxing Gym in December 2002. He was trained by Sendai Tanaka there, and Antonio Esparragoza who was trained by Tanaka's master Amílcar Bursa gave Linares the nickname of El Niño de Oro.
Linares made his debut at the age of 17 at featherweight. The fight took place at at the Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka, Japan on December 15, 2002. He knocked out Kyong-Soo Chung in the first round of their scheduled four round fight. His next fight took place in February 2003, a six round bout against Chawal Sor Vorapin at the famous Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. The fight aired on NTV G+ in Japan. Vorapin was dropped in round 1 and Linares was down in round 2 as the fight went to the scorecards. Linares won a unanimous decision (59-54 58-54 58-54). In his next five fights, Linares floated between super bantamweight and featherweight and remained undefeated, winning three via stoppages.
On January 31, 2004 Linares, at the age of 19 fought for his first title, against 36 year old veteran and multiple weight world champion Hugo Rafael Soto (55-9-2, 38 KOs) in his home country of Venezuela at the El Poliedro in Caracas. Linares won the vacant WBA Fedelatin super bantamweight title after winning a unanimous decision with scores of 100-90, 100-90 and 99-91. Soto retired after this fight. In his tenth professional fight in August 2004, he won the vacant WBA Fedelatin featherweight title after defeating Renan Acosta (13-1, 5 KOs) at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. The fight went 10 rounds with the scores of 98-95 98-96 97-95 all in favor of Linares.
Following a string of four wins, all via stoppage, Linares challenged 30 year old Jean Javier Sotelo (13-2, 8 KOs) for the vacant WBA Fedecentro featherweight title. The fight took place at the Estadio Luna Park in Buenos Aires on May 6, 2005. Linares was knocked down for the first time in his career in round 2. He beat the count and knocked Sotelo down twice in round 2 forcing a stoppage win. Linares spent the next year fighting in Venezuela, Japan and South Korea.
Linares vs. Larios
On July 21, 2007, Linares fought on the undercard of Bernard Hopkins vs. Ronald Wright at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Nevada. It was the first time in his career that he would fight in the United States since turning professional. He fought former WBC super bantamweight champion Óscar Larios (59-5-1, 37 KOs) for the vacant WBC featherweight title. Linares dominated the action with his jab combinations and power punches which consequently backed up Larios, although he remained competitive. Larios did not try to counter anything thrown his way. In the tenth round, a flurry of power punches from Linares sent Larios to the canvas. Larios beat the count, but referee Vic Drakulich stopped the fight giving Linares the win via technical knockout. At the time stoppage, Linares was ahead on two of the judges scorecards 87-84 and 89-82 whilst the third judge had Larios ahead by one point 86-85.
Linares vs. Diaz
Linares made the first defense of his world title against former NABF featherweight champion Gamaliel Diaz (22-6-2, 9 KOs) on December 15, 2007 at the Plaza de Toros in Cancun, Mexico. Linares floored Diaz with a counter right hand in round eight, winning the bout via KO. Diaz was also knocked down in round four following a right uppercut. At the time of stoppage, Linares was ahead on two of the judges scorecards 68-64 and 67-65, whilst the third judge had it even at 66-66.
Linares relinquished the title on August 13, 2008, in order to move up to super featherweight. Another reason for vacating the title was that he needing more time to recover from injuries. Óscar Larios was elevated from Interim to full championship status.
Linares vs. Garcia
Eleven months after his last fight, Linares challenged 27 year old Whyber Garcia (20-5, 14 KOs) for the vacant WBA super featherweight title. The fight took place on November 28, 2008 at the Centro de Convenciones Atlapa in Panama City. Linares won the fight and claimed the vacant WBA title via fifth round technical knockout.
Linares vs. Perez
On June 27, 2009 Linares made his first defense against former Mexico lightweight champion Josafat Perez (12-1, 7 KOs), who was moving down in weight, in Mexico. Linares retained the title following an over right to the head of Perez which floored him. Perez beat the count and carried on with unsteady legs. The fight went on. Following some fast combinations from Linares, Perez stumbled backwards and referee Luis Pabon intervened to stop the fight. The time of stoppage was 1 minute 40 seconds into round 8.
Linares signed a contract with the Golden Boy Promotions in September 2009 whilst still remaining Teiken Promotions.
Linares vs. Salgado
On October 10, 2009 Linares traveled back to Japan to make a second defense at the Yoyogi #2 Gymnasium in Tokyo against unbeaten 24 year old Mexican boxer Juan Carlos Salgado (20-0-1, 14 KOs). Linares lost his WBA super featherweight title and his unbeaten streak after being knocked out in round one. Salgado came forward aggressively at the opening bell and knocked Linares down with a powerful left hook. Linares got back up, only to be attacked straight away with a barrage of left and right jabs to the head and body flooring him again, prompting the stoppage. The defeat was named Ring Magazine's 2009 Upset of the Year.
Linares took five months out before returning to Venezuela defeating 38 year old former interim WBC super featherweight champion Francisco Lorenzo in a scheduled 10 round bout via majority decision. The judges scored the fight 97-93, 97-94 and 95-95.
Linares vs. Juarez
In his second professional fight in the United States on July 31, 2010, Linares fought on the Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz II pay-per-view undercard at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas and comfortably defeated Mexican-American boxer, five time world title challenger Rocky Juarez (28-6-1, 20 KOs) by unanimous decision. Linares scored a knockdown in round five. Judge Al Lefkowitz scored the fight 97-92, Dave Moretti and Richard Ocasio both scored the fight 99-90 in favor of Linares. Linares claimed the interim WBA Fedelatin lightweight title.
Linares defeated Mexico's Adrian Verdugo by a technical knockout in the seventh round of a ten-round lightweight bout in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico, on May 28, 2011. After that fight, Linares has trained with Freddie Roach at Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, along with the U.S. Olympic boxing team in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and served as Manny Pacquiao’s sparring partner in Baguio in the Philippines.
Linares vs. DeMarco
Linares fought for the vacant WBC lightweight title against Antonio DeMarco at the Staples Center on October 15, 2011. He outlanded DeMarco 216 to 97 in overall punches landed, but lost by TKO after suffering a major cut on his nose eventually allowing DeMarco to begin pounding on it, forcing the referee to stop the fight in the eleventh round. In addition to his own wish, Golden Boy Promotions and Teiken Promotions appealed to the WBC for a rematch.
A rematch with Antonio DeMarco had been scheduled ahead of time to take place at the Home Depot Center on July 7. However, Linares lost to Sergio Thompson in a WBC Lightweight title eliminator via a second round stoppage in Cancun, Mexico on March 31, 2012.
Linares faced Jorge Francisco Contreras on 10 November 2013, sensationally knocking out Contreras in the first round.
Linares vs. Arakawa
Following four consecutive wins, Linares was lined up to fight former Japanese lightweight champion Nihito Arakawa (24-3-1, 16 KOs) in a WBC lightweight title eliminator. The fight took place on the undercard of Saul Alvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 8, 2014. In the early rounds, Linares used his head and foot movement along with his superior boxing skills. The fight was full of back and forth action throughout, with a accidental clash of heads which opened up a cut to Linares' left eye. The fight went the 10 round distance as judges Tim Cheatham and Bill Lerch scored the fight a shutout 100-90 in favour of Linares. Judge Richard Houck scored the bout 98-92 for Linares.
Linares fought on the Shawn Porter vs. Kell Brook undercard at the StubHub Center in Carson, California in a stay busy fight on August 16 against journeyman Ira Terry (26-11, 16 KOs). Linares won via a 2nd round knockout. The end came when Linares hit Terry with a left hook, which staggered him, followed by a right hand to the cheekbone. Without counting, the referee waived the fight off.
Linares vs. Prieto
On November 10, 2014 the WBC ordered Linares to fight their Silver lightweight champion and contender Javier Prieto (24-7-2, 18 KOs) for the vacant WBC lightweight title. The winner would then need to fight Omar Figueroa Jr., who was granted Interim status and named 'Champion in recess' after suffering an injury in his last fight. The bout was scheduled to take on Tuesday, December 30, 2014 in Tokyo at the Metropolitan Gym. Linares became the youngest Venezuelan to win a world title in three different weight divisions at the age of 29 and only the second from Venezuela after Leo Gamez, who was a four-division world champion, when he knocked Prieto out in four rounds to claim the WBC title in his second attempt. The end came when Linares connected with an overhand right to the side of Prieto's head, knocking him down and out.
Linares vs. Mitchell
British lightweight contender Kevin Mitchell (39-2, 29 KOs) attempted to win a world title in his third attempt when he challenged Linares for his WBC title. The fight took place on May 3, 2015 at the O2 Arena in London live on Sky Box Office PPV. The fight was officially announced on March 19 by Eddie Hearn. He said, "This is a huge night for British boxing, and today's announcement is just the beginning. I'm delighted to deliver shots for Kevin and Lee in the U.K. and they have every chance of becoming world champions on May 30." Other bouts on the card included Kell Brook's IBF welterweight title defence against Frankie Gavin and Lee Selby challenging for his first world title against IBF featherweight champion Evgeny Gradovich. It was the first time Linares fought in the UK.
Linares was dropped in round five but went on to retain his world title in round 10 via technical knockout. Mitchell was badly cut above the left eye which closed up. Mitchell was dropped in the tenth before the referee stopped the bout. The cut was due to a clash of heads in round four, which also opened a cut on the side of Linares' head. At the time of stoppage, Mitchell was ahead on two of the judges scorecards at 82-88 and 84-86. The third judge had it even at 85-85.
Linares vs. Cano
Linares traveled back to his home country Venzuela for only the fourth time in his 12 year professional career and first time since 2010, to make a voluntary defence against 27 year old Mexican contender Ivan Cano (23-6-2, 15 KOs) at the El Poliedro in Caracas on October 10, 2015. It was also the first time Linares had a world title fight in Venezuela. Linares knocked Cano out in round four to retain his WBC title. Cano was also down in round three of this one sided fight.
Negotiations with Zlatičanin
Linares' next fight was scheduled to be against unbeaten mandatory Dejan Zlatičanin (21-0, 14 KO). Terms where agreed on January 8, 2016 for a fight to take place. This was also the day of the purse bids. A date in April was discussed for the fight. In February, Golden Boy Promotions revealed that Linares would have to withdraw from the fight due to a fracture in his right hand. There was talk that WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman would name Linares as Champion in recess and have Zlatičanin fight next available challenger, 39 year old Italian boxer Emiliano Marsili (32-0-1, 14 KOs), where Linares would ahave the option to the fight the winner upon his return. Linares was later stripped of the title. but made aware he had the option to fight for the belt when his hand injury had healed.
Linares vs. Crolla
On June 15, 2016 it was announced on Sky Sports that a deal had been made for Linares to challenge WBA lightweight champion Anthony Crolla (31-4-3, 13 KOs) on September 24 at the Manchester Arena in Manchester. This was the second time Linares fought in the UK and the first time in Manchester. Linares won the WBA lightweight title and claimed the vacant The Ring Magazine and WBC Diamond title after winning the bout via unanimous decision. Two judges scored it close at 115-114 and 115-113. The third judge had it more wide at 117-111, all in favour of Linares. Linares' unique style, hand speed and power punches seemed to conquer Crolla's tactics of pressure fighting. Immediately after the fight, Linares offered Crolla a chance of a rematch, "I want to tell all the people thank you very much. We gave Manchester a beautiful fight and we can do it again."
On October 6, 2016 WBC ordered negotiations to begin between Linares and WBC titleholder Zlatičanin, which no deadlines in place. A doctors report revealed that Linares had hurt his right hand during the Crolla fight and wouldn't be returning to the ring in the near future. Due to that reason, the WBC allowed Zlatičanin to make a voluntary defence.
Linares vs. Crolla II
Reports in early December suggested a rematch could possibly take place in Manchester on 25 March 2017. The winner of the rematch would then be ordered to fight the winner of the Dejan Zlatičanin vs. Mikey Garcia, due to take place January, which was won by Garcia, in a unification fight. All three titles would be at stake in the rematch, with Eddie Hearn due to make an announcement in 2017. An official announcement was made on 4 January 2017, for the fight take place at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, a city which Linares said was open to returning to. The WBA, WBC Diamond and The Ring magazine world lightweight titles would be at stake. The fight was televised live on Sky Sports in the UK and on 24 January, Showtime announced they would cover the fight in the United States. Both fighters weighed in at 134.4 pounds.
On fight night, in front of 13,000 fans, Linares dropped Crolla in the seventh round with a left uppercut, and went the distance to win by wider margins (119-109 on all three scorecards) than the first fight. Crolla started off well hitting to body, but Linares quickly capitalized and started connected well to the body and landing combinations of uppercuts. Linares put in a more solid and dominant performance than their first encounter. At the end of round 11, Crolla's trainer Joe Gallagher came into the ring and walked towards referee Howard John Foster, possibly to stop the fight. After Crolla pleaded with him, Gallagher allowed him to go the distance. With the win, Linares retained the WBA, The Ring and WBC Diamond lightweight titles.
In the post-fight interview, he thanked his promoter Oscar De Le Hoya for making the trip and watching him ringside and said his next move would be a big pay day in Las Vegas against WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia. Crolla apologized to the live attendance, admitted he lost to the better man and said he would be back to rebuild, "Manchester, I am so sorry I couldn't do it for you. Your support means so much to me. He caught me but before that I thought I could get to him. I got beaten by the better man - no excuses. I am 30 years old, I am going to rest, but I believe I can go again." Both fighters embraced at the final bell and showed respect. Crolla meditated around moving up to super lightweight. This was the first time Crolla had lost consecutive fights and losing to the same opponent twice after his losses to Gary Sykes in 2009 and 2012.
Professional boxing record
|Professional record summary|
|45 fights||42 wins||3 losses|
|45||Win||42–3||Anthony Crolla||UD||12||Mar 25, 2017||Manchester Arena, Manchester, England||Retained WBA and The Ring lightweight titles|
|44||Win||41–3||Anthony Crolla||UD||12||Sep 24, 2016||Manchester Arena, Manchester, England||Won WBA and vacant The Ring lightweight titles|
|43||Win||40–3||Ivan Cano||KO||4 (12), 0:58||Oct 10, 2015||Poliedro, Caracas, Venezuela||Retained WBC lightweight title|
|42||Win||39–3||Kevin Mitchell||TKO||10 (12), 2:57||May 30, 2015||The O2 Arena, London, England||Retained WBC lightweight title|
|41||Win||38–3||Javier Prieto||KO||4 (12), 1:50||Dec 30, 2014||Metropolitan Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan||Won vacant WBC lightweight title|
|40||Win||37–3||Ira Terry||KO||2 (8), 1:21||Aug 16, 2014||StubHub Center, Carson, California, U.S.|
|39||Win||36–3||Nihito Arakawa||UD||10||Mar 8, 2014||MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|38||Win||35–3||Francisco Contreras||TKO||1 (10), 3:08||Nov 10, 2013||Ryōgoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan|
|37||Win||34–3||Berman Sanchez||TKO||3 (10), 1:09||Aug 25, 2013||Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan|
|36||Win||33–3||David Rodela||TKO||8 (10), 2:51||Mar 16, 2013||Grand Oasis, Cancún, Mexico|
|35||Win||32–3||Héctor Velázquez||UD||10||Oct 7, 2012||Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento, California, U.S.|
|34||Loss||31–3||Sergio Thompson||TKO||2 (12), 2:27||Mar 31, 2012||Grand Oasis, Cancún, Mexico|
|33||Loss||31–2||Antonio DeMarco||TKO||11 (12), 2:32||Oct 15, 2011||Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S.||For vacant WBC lightweight title|
|32||Win||31–1||Adrian Verdugo||TKO||7 (10), 1:49||May 28, 2011||Mazatlan International Center, Mazatlán, Mexico|
|31||Win||30–1||Jesús Chávez||RTD||4 (12), 3:00||Oct 24, 2010||Ryōgoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan|
|30||Win||29–1||Rocky Juarez||UD||10||Jul 31, 2010||Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Won WBA Fedelatin interim lightweight title|
|29||Win||28–1||Francisco Lorenzo||MD||10||Mar 27, 2010||Polideportivo José María Vargas, La Guaira, Venezuela|
|28||Loss||27–1||Juan Carlos Salgado||TKO||1 (12), 1:13||Oct 10, 2009||Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan||Lost WBA super featherweight title|
|27||Win||27–0||Josafat Perez||TKO||8 (12), 1:40||Jun 27, 2009||Plaza de Toros, Nuevo Laredo, Mexico||Retained WBA super featherweight title|
|26||Win||26–0||Whyber Garcia||TKO||5 (12), 1:08||Nov 28, 2008||Atlapa Convention Centre, Panama City, Panama||Won vacant WBA super featherweight title|
|25||Win||25–0||Gamaliel Díaz||KO||8 (12), 2:02||Dec 15, 2007||Plaza de Toros, Cancún, Mexico||Retained WBC featherweight title|
|24||Win||24–0||Óscar Larios||TKO||10 (12), 2:37||Jul 21, 2007||Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Won WBC featherweight title|
|23||Win||23–0||Ramiro Lara||TKO||3 (10), 1:37||Feb 3, 2007||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan|
|22||Win||22–0||Humberto Martinez||TKO||6 (10), 2:34||Oct 7, 2006||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan|
|21||Win||21–0||Pedro Navarrete||UD||10||Jun 3, 2006||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan|
|20||Win||20–0||Saohin Srithai Condo||UD||10||Apr 1, 2006||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan|
|19||Win||19–0||Jeffrey Onate||KO||1 (10), 1:59||Jan 7, 2006||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan|
|18||Win||18–0||Denchai Sor Tiebkoon||TKO||1 (10), 2:30||Nov 3, 2005||Seoul, South Korea|
|17||Win||17–0||Ayon Naranjo||UD||6||Sep 25, 2005||Yokohama Arena, Yokohama, Japan|
|16||Win||16–0||Jesus Perez||RTD||4 (10), 3:00||Aug 13, 2005||Circulo Militar, Maracay, Venezuela|
|15||Win||15–0||Jean Javier Sotelo||TKO||2 (10), 1:56||May 26, 2005||Estadio Luna Park, Buenos Aires, Argentina||Won vacant WBA Fedecentro featherweight title|
|14||Win||14–0||Luis Perez Vicente||KO||4 (6), 1:49||Apr 16, 2005||Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan|
|13||Win||13–0||Melvin Ayudtud||KO||1 (10), 2:07||Feb 5, 2005||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan|
|12||Win||12–0||Rafael Castillo||TKO||4 (8), 2:16||Dec 3, 2004||Figali Convention Center, Panama City, Panama|
|11||Win||11–0||Sung-Hoon Park||KO||1 (10), 2:42||Oct 2, 2004||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan|
|10||Win||10–0||Renan Acosta||UD||10||Aug 7, 2004||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan||Won vacant WBA Fedelatin featherweight title|
|9||Win||9–0||Michael Domingo||UD||10||May 1, 2004||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan|
|8||Win||8–0||Hugo Rafael Soto||UD||10||Jan 31, 2004||Poliedro, Caracas, Venezuela||Won vacant WBA Fedelatin super bantamweight title|
|7||Win||7–0||Pederito Laurente||UD||10||Oct 18, 2003||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan|
|6||Win||6–0||Jung-Keun Woo||KO||2 (8), 2:12||Sep 20, 2003||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan|
|5||Win||5–0||Thunder Ito||TKO||3 (10), 2:44||Jul 12, 2003||Pacifico, Yokohama, Japan|
|4||Win||4–0||Ariel Austria||UD||8||Apr 19, 2003||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan|
|3||Win||3–0||Singdam Monsaichon||KO||3 (8), 1:02||Mar 15, 2003||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan|
|2||Win||2–0||Chawal Sor Vorapin||UD||6||Feb 15, 2003||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan|
|1||Win||1–0||Kyong-Soo Chung||KO||1 (6), 0:45||Dec 15, 2002||Prefectural Gymnasium, Osaka, Japan||Professional debut|