Cano overpowers Linares
By John J. Raspanti
The look on Jorge Linares face said it all. The first knockdown had surprised him. The second sent shocks waves through his body. A third trip to the mat and a wobble, convinced referee Ricky Gonzalez that the former three-time champions night was over.
It had taken 2:48 seconds.
His opponent, Pablo Cano, was thrilled. He jumped on the top rope and raised his hands. Cano had entered the fight having dropped two of his last three. He hadn’t fought in 11 months. In other words, he wasn’t expected to win.
Linares was expected to win. A title fight with WBO junior welterweight Maurice Hooker was pretty much assured. That is, as long as he beat Cano.
The best laid plans of mice and men.
Cano (32-7, 22 KOs) was winging shots at Linares seconds after they touched gloves. Linares (45-5, 28 KOs) moved to his left and backed away. He tried to jab, but something appeared off. Cano moved in and let fly with an overhand right. The blow caught Linares behind his left ear.
The impact caused his whole body to collapse. Linares got up quickly. He nodded to the referee.
Cano could feel it. He pursed Linares with purpose. Linares tired to fight back. He landed a few punches. Nothing. Cano was bigger and stronger. Another stinging right floored Linares. Once again, he got up quickly. He put his arms and the ropes and listened to the count. Was he pondering what to do?
He tried jabbing, which normally works. Cano, behind a high guard, was intent on ending the fight. Linares needed the round to end. Cano pushed after him. Linares tried to protect against the punch that knocked him down twice, the right. After forcing Linares into the ropes, Cano surprised him again. It wasn’t the right this time that landed, but a short-left hook. Linares went down like a ton of bricks. This time he struggled to get up. He beat the count but looked dazed. The fight was stopped soon after.
“I am happy, I am very content, said Cano. “All of my career I have wanted a victory of this magnitude against a fighter of this caliber like Jorge Linares.
“He surprised me with the big right hand,” said the crestfallen Linares. “He had power in his punch.”
Will Linares go back down 135 pounds? Hard to say, he’s 34. The fight was the 50th of his career.
Perhaps he suddenly got old. It happens to all of us, but it’s more dramatic in boxing.