By Jake Donovan
It’s not on the level of a once-rumored showdown with the legendary Erik Morales, but 24-year old Anthony Crolla now has a step up in competition and yet another road trip in his immediate future.
On the heels of his U.S. debut, the Manchester-based contender will once again concede home field advantage when he faces Willie Limond for their super lightweight showdown on November 25 at the Ravenscraig Sports Centre in Motherswell, Scotland.
The 12-round bout will be contested for Crolla’s British lightweight title.
It’s been a roller coaster ride for Crolla as of late, who will be returning to the ring just two months after struggling with journeyman Juan Montiel on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather’s 4th round knockout of Victor Ortiz this past September in Las Vegas.
Crolla (22-2-2, 9KO) was originally slated to face Morales, but was removed from the running once Golden Boy Promotions was able to secure a major title for the fight on the condition that it comes against a ranked opponent. Crolla isn’t presently in the Top 15 of any of the sanctioning bodies’ ratings.
Though not receiving the dream opportunity against Morales, Crolla was still offered a slot on the card, marking his first bout in an American boxing ring. The win marked nine straight dating back to 2009, with talks once again surfacing soon thereafter of once again possibly landing a crack at Morales, who won a vacant belt that night with a 10th round knockout win over late replacement Pablo Cano.
For the moment, such a fight is still in the talking stages, with Crolla more focused on what’s official.
“My mind is solely focused on Willie,” Crolla insists as he prepares for the first defense of the British lightweight title he won earlier this year. “I’m going to be the very best on the 25th. I’m training like a lion. I can’t worry about talk of fighting Morales, I have to focus on Willie.”
What he gets in Limond (34-3, 8KO) is a seasoned ring veteran who has been in there with the best of class, only to come up short on such occasions. Limond has already one-upped Crolla in actually securing a fight with Morales, traveling to Mexico last year in suffering an 8th round knockout loss.
Limond has also come up short in challenges against Alex Arthur and Amir Khan, but is best known for being the first man to put Khan on his bum when he knocked him down in the 6th round of their July ’07 clash before getting dropped himself and stopped two rounds later.
The Scot had reached a point a couple of years ago where he was considering calling it a day, but decided that he still had something left to offer the game. Even after the Morales loss, the 32-year old regrouped and returned to the ring this past June for a points win over journeyman Arek Malek in his native Glasgow.
Against Crolla, he now believes he has in front of him what could possibly serve as his last shot at the big time.
“It’s great to be given another chance,” Limond says of the opportunity. “I’ve had all of the experiences in the world in my fights and I’m ready for Anthony Crolla.”
A press conference to formally announce the fight is being planned for next week, according to a statement from the office of promoter Frank Warren during Monday’s conference call.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]