Convicted Artist Magazine

Feb 21st
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jorge-linares-boxerI feel bad for Jorge Linares.  It seems that a fighter who has immeasurable talent has also been cursed with the worst kind of bad luck a fighter can have.  Skin and chin are two things you cannot fix.  One cost him a belt against Juan Carlos Salgado in his first attempt at a hometown (adopted - Tokyo) defense.  Then, the other cost him a 3rd division world title against Antonio De Marco.

In a fight he was clearly winning, he was cut badly.  Although he was also wobbly in the 11th round, it was the blood pouring from the eye that led to his stoppage loss.  Now, he has suffered yet another unexpected loss, via TKO to unheralded Sergio Thompson.  Not much is known about Thompson, except he is a Mexican with an Anglican last name.  He is also from Quintana Roo, not a Mexican state known for producing fighters.

His name, proximity to the Belizean border, and fact that he has fought in Belize once before, suggests perhaps some ancestry there, but there is not much else on him.  Thompson was a motivated hometown fighter last Saturday, looking for a title shot against the aforementioned DeMarco.  He is also a big puncher with most wins by early knockout.  In fact, his only two losses were when he was forced to go longer rounds.  If that was Linares' plan, he never got there.

Both his skin and his chin betrayed him on this night, as he was dropped and cut, and the bout was over by round two.   Not that Linares cannot still wind up with a belt at Lightweight, but he is at the back of line now.  A fight between he and Miguel Vazquez would get Vazquez some attention, and should Linares win it, get the Venezuelan his third sanctioning body trinket, in as many divisions, but the big fights are far away.  Sadly for him, much like compatriot Edwin Valero, he did most of his best work in Japan and Mexico, so the U.S. fans and scribes who help make international stars did not see much of him.  Unlike Valero, however, he is not leaving us wondering what-if.

It has been one of those careers, like Mark Breland, that in retrospect will not look that bad.  Multiple titles, televised wins over quality opposition, etc.  However, in its time, it looks to be a career of unfulfilled promise.  So much natural talent, but after 3 losses to fighters who seemed clearly inferior, they are not exceptions.  They are the rule.  We forgave Lennox Lewis for McCall and Rahman, yet had it happened again, his stature would have been greatly diminished.

Three strikes and you are out.  He has a decision to make.  A lot of rebuilding that would have seemed beneath him a year ago, or calling it a career and letting time improve his standing.  I would perhaps call out a belt holder, so like a Carbajal, he can go out on top, but if the Thompsons, Salgados, and DeMarcos of the world are stopping you, you do not want the Rios' or Marquez's to come anywhere near you.

Chris Strait

Jorge Linares (31-2-0) vs. Sergio “Yeyo” Thompson (21-2-0) Full Fight Video

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