Talking Boxing

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February 16, 2017

"It's never a loss, it's a lesson"

Anthony Crolla, Jorge Linares, WBA, Sky Sports, Ismael Barroso, Darleys Perez

Crolla will be hoping for another memorable night in Manchester against Linares like the one against Ismael Barroso.

by Shaun Brown

Anthony Crolla has a habit of fighting and beating the same man twice.

As far back as 2008 and 2009, Crolla was facing Youssef Al Hamidi, Carl Allen and John Baguley on two occasions each time. 'Million Dollar' constructed a record of five wins in six against the trio, with the sole loss coming against Al Hamidi.

Those were the early days of Crolla's career. A baby-faced 21-year-old making his way in the sport, possibly not imagining that one day he would be walking out in front of thousands of fans against the best lightweights in the world.

Over the years Crolla would have ups and downs against the likes of Gary Sykes, Derry Mathews before finding his feet against Gavin Rees and John Murray. It wouldn't be long before a long-awaited world title opportunity would present itself.

A night in July 2015, a fight against Darleys Perez for the WBA crown. A majority draw that befuddled everyone bar Perez who walked out of Manchester, with his title going back with him to Colombia. The champion, however, would be dominated and halted by 'Million Dollar' Crolla four months later. A crunching left hook to the body, the fairytale had come true. Defeats, draws, and the stupid burglars who tried to hurt him outside of the ring had only delayed the dream coming true.

Momentum was with Crolla. The steam rolling Ismael Barroso would wipe the floor with Crolla in May 2016, so said some of the experts. Crolla withstood the assault early on and turned up the heat inside the Manchester Arena. Barroso couldn't cope. Another South American sent home by the choirboy looks and Mancunian hooks of Crolla.

Jorge Linares would arrive in England's North West in September. Unfazed, undeterred and the man who would close the book on the feel good story of Anthony Crolla... for now.

"We don't lose, we learn. It's never a loss, it's a lesson," said the philosophical Crolla when he spoke to Talking Boxing about losing his world title.

"I did take a lot from it, but not for one minute am I happy that I lost. You never should be. You learn a lot from a loss. From your amateur time, when you lose as an 11-12 year old kid, you take a lot from a loss. I'm not happy with that, I want to put it right."

Another rematch then. Another chance to right a wrong. March 25, 2016 and once again at the Manchester Arena. Round 13 or a new version of Crolla and Linares?

"We'll engage in a war at some point, but whether it'll be early on or later I don't know.

"He's said he'll come with a different gameplan and we'll come with a different gameplan, we'll do things a little bit different. I've got to because fighting a fighter like him, if I come prepared the same then it's almost ignorant isn't it. You want to look to improve and that's what we're looking at doing.

"We're looking at changing a few things and to make sure the result is different. He said at the press conference he's going to come different. We'll see. I think he's got a great team over in Japan, and his head trainer seems a very good coach, and I'm sure he'll come with a great plan. I believe I've got a great coach and a great team around me, and we'll come with a great plan. So, it'll be nice to put them up against each other."

Crolla has no complaints with who won in their first fight. The result was fair. He was in the ring with an elite fighter, one of the best at 135lbs if not the best depending on whether you're Team MIkey Garcia or Team Linares.

Linares, 31, isn't invincible however. Perhaps that what makes him even better than he has been in the past. The Venezuelan was, at times, exquisite against Crolla five months ago.

Juan Carlos Salgado, Antonio DeMarco and Sergio Thompson all share the prestige of having a victory over Linares on their records. Crolla obviously plans on being the fourth. He says he has faced Linares somewhere near his best, who in turn hasn't seen the best of the now challenger.

"I lost the fight to a fighter who had a good night," Crolla said.

"I didn't lose to a great fighter who had a bit of an off night. He had a good night. It's one of them, and this is in no disrespect to Kevin Mitchell, I like Kevin a lot (but) I honestly believe if I got the Linares that had fought Kev I'd beat him. That's my opinion. Some will agree, some will disagree.

"I'm gutted that I lost but I got over it because I give it everything in camp. I give it everything on the night. I made mistakes but gave it everything in there, and I lost to a good fighter on a good night. I didn't lose to an under-par Linares. It's good that I fought him on one of his best nights. You'd have to ask Linares himself how it ranks up there but I'm certain it'd be up near the top."