Boxing fans need to stop and take note: March 2017 has been an outstanding month for boxing. On the first weekend of this month, Keith Thurman bested Danny Garcia in a unification match. On March 18 reigning pound-for-pound king Roman Gonzalez lost a thriller to Thailand’s Wisaksil Wangek and middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin won a close, hotly contested bout over Daniel Jacobs. In between those two big U.S. weekends, undefeated super welterweight star Demetrius Andrade travelled to Germany to defeat fellow contender Jack Culcay.
This weekend, the boxing world will focus its attention on Great Britain. For the fourth straight weekend, two of the best fighters in a division will face off, as WBA lightweight title holder Jorge Linares defends his belt against Anthony Crolla, in a rematch of their bout from last September.
On that night, Linares travelled into Crolla’s hometown of Manchester and took his belt. It is noteworthy that Crolla is a big enough draw at the Manchester Arena to lure Linares back across the pond for a rematch.
The Ring considers that Linares’ win over Crolla last year established him as the lineal champion at lightweight. I personally side with the Transnational Boxing Rankings, who still regard the lightweight belt as open.
Either way, Linares, deserves to rank as either No. 1 or 2 in the division. Crolla should be placed no lower than five or six. So this is a major fight.
It is the hope of all true boxing fans that the winner of this bout will face Mikey Garcia, who captured the WBC belt last January. The winner of that fight would unquestionably deserve true championship status.
Garcia is viewed by many observers as a potential pound-for-pound star. He has spoken in recent interviews about a desire to earn undisputed status in the lightweight division, although realistically, that unifying all the various alphabet soup trinkets is a bit like trying to herd cats.