Exclusive: Sky Sports’ Adam Smith previews Linares v Crolla II

Joe Hewlett 25/03/2017

Head of Sky Sports boxing and leading commentator Adam Smith is relishing yet another big fight night at the MEN Arena in Manchester.

Mancunian Anthony Crolla challenges Jorge Linares in a hotly anticipated rematch with the WBA lightweight title up for grabs.

The match-up is billed as ‘revenge or repeat’ and Adam Smith expects it to be another memorable night in Manchester.

Speaking exclusively to WBN he said: “We’ve been covering the sport for a long time and we always look forward to the big nights in Manchester. I was speaking to Ensley Bingham earlier and I remember his left hook and those days when Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright was over in 1996, we’ve had Nigel Benn, Steve Collins, Michael Gomez, Prince Naseem Hamed and the days of Ricky Hatton and now Anthony Crolla.

“Joe Gallagher was saying earlier it will Anthony Crolla’s seventh fight headlining the MEN Arena it’s brilliant. It’s great for the city, a fantastic night of boxing and a brilliant rematch – It’s what boxing is all about.”

The winner of tonight’s showdown is destined for a unification showdown with American superstar Mikey Garcia. After a magnificent first fight, Linares came out victorious via a unanimous decision and is the red-hot favourite to retain the title. Smith believes that Crolla must produce the performance of his life if he is to defy the critics.

“He has to make adjustments and he knows he needs to. This time round he needs to pressurise Jorge Linares more and I think he just stood off him too much in the first fight which allowed Linares room to use his classy combinations. It’s a tough fight for Anthony and he’s got to hope Linares is not as sharp as last time. I know Anthony has had a perfect camp ahead of this fight and has done everything possible to win back the WBA title. He must produce a performance that we’ve never seen from him before if he is to defeat Linares.

“But Linares is one of the great fighters of the past decade in boxing and I have been a huge admirer of him for a long time. He rocked Anthony during the middle rounds of the fight and it had an impact on the outcome of the fight. Every fight that Crolla goes into he is the underdog though; if anyone can win then it’s this guy – He’s shown us in past rematches against the likes of Derry Matthews and Darlys Perez that he can find a way to emerge victorious,” he added.

The fight will be live on Sky Sports 1 tonight from 7.00pm.

Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95