Linares ready for ‘most important’ title bout

Colin Cowherd knows exactly how No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 12 Syracuse will end on Saturday

Jorge Linares has dubbed this weekend’s world title bout against Anthony Crolla as the “most important” of his career.

Linares goes head-to-head with Crolla in Manchester on Saturday night, as the Venezuelan bids to lift the WBA world lightweight crown.

The 31-year-old – a former world champion at featherweight and super-featherweight – vacated the WBC lightweight title in February, with his last fight coming 11 months ago in a fourth-round knockout over Mexico’s Ivan Cano.

But Linares faces a stern test in Crolla, with the British fighter enjoying two successful defences since winning the title against Colombian Darleys Perez last November.

“We are ready and come Saturday night – we are taking all of the belts,” said Linares.

"Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome. This is the most important fight of my career."

Earlier this week, Crolla admitted that he “rates Linares very highly” yet his trainer Joe Gallagher still believes that the Londoner will triumph in Manchester.

Addressing Linares' promoter, Roberto Diaz, Gallagher said: "Have a good look at the WBC belt as it will be going on Saturday night.

"The atmosphere is different up here. Boxing unites a city split by City and United. All will be behind Anthony."