By Chris Robinson
On Saturday night, there was no shortage of boxing luminaries inside of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada for Lucas Matthysse’s crushing first-round knockout over Mike Dallas Jr.
Such notables in the building included former champions Zab Judah and Shane Mosley, junior welterweight contender Karim Mayfield, former WBO female super bantamweight champion Ana Julaton, junior middleweight contender Alfredo Angulo, rising lightweight Sharif Bogere, and former two-division titlist Jorge Linares.
Striking a conversation with Linares, I quickly discovered that much has changed with the Venezuelan-born prizefighter's career.
It was March of last year when Linares was dealt a crushing upset loss after being blitzed in two rounds by Sergio Thompson in Quintana Roo, Mexico. That loss came on the heels of Linares’ dramatic 11th round TKO defeat to Antonio DeMarco in Los Angeles.
Shortly after the back to back setbacks, Linares would part ways with his trainer Freddie Roach and was last seen inside of the ring this past October, winning a ten-round decision over well-traveled Hector Velazquez.
Linares pointed out that he is now training in Las Vegas under a new coach.
“I’m very happy to be in the United States one more time,” Linares stated. “I’m happy to start training with a new trainer, Ismael Salas. That’s very important to me, because the only thing on my mind is to get the championship back.”
Salas is no stranger to hardcore fans, having previously worked with standout Cuban champions Yuriorkis Gamboa and Guillermo Rigondeaux in recent years.
Linares seems elated with the switch and what their future holds.
“I’ve known [Salas] before and we were talking of the possibility of [training together] and now I have the opportunity,” said Linares. “It’s a reality and I’m very happy and we understand each other really well. He’s a good trainer.”