It was a jam-packed night at Manchester Arena as 13,000 fans attended to support home favourite Anthony Crolla. The undercard had fellow Mancunian Marcus Morrison in action as he took on Midlander Jason Welborn.
Here’s a reflection on the night’s action and what’s next for the fighters.
Jorge Linares marched on after yet another sensational performance at MEN Arena against the brave and courageous Anthony Crolla. The Venezuelan looks set to take on American superstar Mikey Garcia in a tasty unification fight in Las Vegas.
The first encounter between both was an absolute war and it left me with anticipation for the rematch. I expected Crolla to be up against it but he walked into the ring looking confident of avenging his defeat but Linares, a four-time world champion, was on another level this time. His footwork, hand speed and movement was all just too good for the ‘Million Dollar’ man.
Despite losing for the second time to Linares it isn’t doom and gloom for Crolla though, with there being several options on the table. There is still the appeal of a match up against fellow native Terry Flanagan. Frank Warren has stated he isn’t interested in making the fight after previously failing in negotiations but money talks and it would sell out the arena or even a stadium in Manchester.
An alternative option for Crolla would be to move up a division to light-welterweight and fight fellow stablemate from Matchroom Ricky Burns. If Burns prevails in his unification Julius Indongo then it’s a fight that would be made with ease as both have the same promoter in Eddie Hearn.
A tune up fight will be needed to rebuild momentum before any discussion of a big fight for the Manchester man.
Marcus Morrison will be hoping to bounce back quickly after a surprise defeat at the hands of Jason Welborn.
Morrison left the ring with a busted nose and tasted the first loss of his career.
It was a spirited effort by Morrison though and Eddie Hearn will know it wasn’t the result needed nor expected but the resilience right until the end was admirable by the brave middleweight.
With a few quick fights, Morrison can regain the confidence he had approaching the fight against Welborn and should be targeting a rematch in the summer. Having 2015 Ring Magazine & UK boxing trainer of the year in Joe Gallagher in his corner will certainly help Morrison learn from what he experienced.
For Welborn, it is considerably the biggest win of his career. I spoke to him at the last press conference prior to his fight with Morrison and sensed he was very confident after announcing that he had joined the Mack The Knife team under Matthew Macklin. He looked solid for all 10 rounds and never looked in danger of gassing at any time during the bout. He produced a solid display with his punching speed and power impressing.
Now that he finally has the likes of MTK supporting him and the team, he can finally start looking at the bigger picture of big domestic fights.
One fight that looks likely is a rematch with Craig Cunningham in a fight tilted to be labelled as ‘the battle of Birmingham.’ And of course, there is the likelihood of the rematch with Marcus Morrison this year.
Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95