Linares (41-3, 27 KOs) narrowly outpointed defending champion Crolla (31-5-3, 13 KOs) last September in a thrilling battle in Crolla’s hometown of Manchester.
The WBC has mandated that the winner of Linares-Crolla II must face the winner of this Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING matchup between WBC Lightweight World Champion Dejan Zlaticanin and undefeated two-division titlist Mikey Garcia.
Here’s what the fighters had to say:
“I wasn’t supposed to win the first fight, but I’m glad I did so I can come back and do it again.
“I hope to see another huge crowd in Manchester and we’re going to provide the fans with another beautiful fight.”
“Jorge is the best and I want to be the best – beating him stakes my claim. I didn’t win the first one but I had success and I can work on that.
“We’ve both got great teams behind us, and I believe if I make the right changes for the fight I will take the titles.”
“The first fight was a hell of a fight. Anthony was the favorite and now Jorge is the favorite.
“Anthony is the challenger in this rematch. He’s had success in rematches before – he did it against Darleys Perez and he came back better. He needs to do that again against Jorge, No. 1 in the division.
“It gives me huge pleasure to announce that the fight will be on SHOWTIME in the U.S. and I want to thank Stephen Espinosa and his team for making this happen.”
“I need a nasty Anthony Crolla for this fight. Jorge is the best in the world so I need to keep him locked away and getting nasty – he won’t be doing any fan signings or selling tickets. If you like Anthony and care about him, leave him alone, let him work, and come and watch him win on the night.”
“I didn’t know how Jorge was going to react to the fans as I know that Anthony has great fans. I think that Jorge won a lot of fans that night and he’ll have his share in the rematch.
“Anthony didn’t have to take the fight, he could’ve gone elsewhere and got some wins, but that shows what a man this guy is. He wants the belts and we expect a better Anthony. I said you would see the best Jorge ever and you did – he’s going to be even better this time.”