For Jorge ‘Golden boy’ Linares 43(27)-3(3)-0 of Venezuela this will be his 6th time defending this belt since winning the vacant strap against Javier Prieto in 2014. The thirty two year old is no stranger to title fights as HE has successfully won and defended the WBC World featherweight and WBA World super featherweight titles. His first defeat came against Juan Carlos Salgado while defending his WBA World super featherweight title. After reaching the top in two weight divisions this first round TKO knocked Linares back down to earth with a bang.
After seemingly recovering over his next four fights he suffered another TKO this time at the hands of Antonio DeMarco in the eleventh round going for the vacant WBC World lightweight title. Unfortunately in his next fight he suffers another TKO in the second round after being ruled unable to continue due to a cut eyelid, during a WBC lightweight Semi-final eliminator.
Since that unfortunate night Linares has been on impressive form, winning twelve bouts in succession picking up his current WBA World title and the Ring magazine light weight title in the process. As coincidence should have it, Linaires last defeat came with Freddie Roach as his trainer in his corner and now he will be in the opposite corner.
There is some underlying bad blood between Linares and Roche, as Linares manager took to twitter to criticise Roach for not improving his defence. While Roach has since came out and claimed Linares was knocked out in sparring by his man Pacquiao. Linares claims these are lies and offered to fight Pacquiao. Roach has stoked the flames leading up to this by claiming Linares isn’t the same fighter from five years ago. I would tend to agree with this belief but I would argue he is better now than before as he now has a greater appreciation for defence.
Mercito ‘No Mercy’ Gesta 31(17)-1-2 of the Philippines is no stranger to Inglewood as he fought here in his previous fight earning a win over Martin Honorio via TKO in the eighth round. He is also no stranger to Linares, as they have sparred together in the past. As previously mentioned Gesta’s trainer Freddie Roach was also Linares. What could be on the back of Gesta’s mind is the fact that is only other World title fight ended in defeat, back in 2012 against Miguel Vazques for the IBF World lightweight title.
With the odds stacked against Gest Roach however is confident his south paw fighter can cause an upset and hinted at his plan “If you frustrate him, he falls apart. If things don’t go his way, he can be a little bit of a baby. At this point in his career, I think we have a very good shot to win that fight.”
On the under card Argentina’s thirty five year old Lucas Martin Matthysse 38(35)-4(1)-0 takes on twenty five year old Thailand fighter Tewa Kiram 38(28)-0-0, for the vacant WBA World Welterweight Title. Matthysse should be comfortable fighting here as he as fought in the USA fourteen times before, while Kiram will be making his USA debut. Both fighters could start the fight a little edgy as Matthysse has lost every World title fight he has been in, while Kiram has never fought in a World title fight.