The Manchester Arena hosts a WBA world lightweight title fight this Saturday, September 24th as Britain’s Anthony “Million Dolla” Crolla (31-4-3) faces the challenge of Venezuela’s Jorge Linares (40-3). Linares is a three weight class world champion, and he has held the WBC lightweight belt for more than a year, so he is certainly the most decorated opponent Crolla has faced. Linares is 31 years old now, and he is coming off a layoff of approximately one year to recover from hand injuries. To combat possible ring rust, Linares has taken part in an extended training camp that has seen him spend the last eight weeks in Las Vegas. Crolla is a big and strong lightweight who has basically out-muscled the opponents in his world title fights. He won the belt after 17 hard-fought rounds with Colombia’s Darlys Perez, as they drew in their first meeting before Crolla stopped him in the five-round rematch. This past May, he successfully defended the belt with a seventh-round stoppage of Venezuela’s Ismael Barroso, who came out firing in that fight but tired as the rounds ticked off. Crolla is going to have to be ready for a far better and more tested Venezuelan fighter in Linares this time around. Linares has fought most of his career in Japan as he lives in Tokyo, and he has earned a reputation as a road warrior in his career that now spans more than a dozen years. Linares turned professional at a young age, and he has an amateur background prior to that. In May of last year, he went to England to defend his WBC world lightweight belt and stopped 39-2 Kevin Mitchell in the 12th round. That he has fought and won in England before cannot be discounted as invaluable experience for Linares. Crolla is a popular champion, and he enjoys a home-ring advantage in this one, but that is tempered a little bit by Linares’ experience. Crolla will enter the fight favored, as the Brit has really come into his own since reaching the world title level. Crolla has just 13 knockouts in his career, but he has stopped his last two opponents, indicating he has found his power. Linares packs more of a punch, having 27 knockouts across his 40 wins. Below are the lines that are at the sports books heading into fight week. The Eddie Hearn promoted live event features 11 fights in all, so check back later in the week for more lines and for Over/Under action as well. Lightweight – 12 rounds Jorge Linares +190 Anthony Crolla -230 Featherweight – 12 rounds Tshifhiwa Munyai +245 Isaac Lowe -290 Light Heavyweight – 12 rounds Frank Buglioni +500 Hosea Burton -800 Middleweight – 12 rounds Jack Arnfield +550 John Ryder -925
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