By Ben Jacobs
Trainer Joe Gallagher will be looking to continue his run of form when Anthony Crolla steps into the ring this Saturday for his rematch with Colombian Darleys Pérez in Manchester.
Coming off the back of Liam Smith’s world title win against John Thompson as well as Callum Smith’s one round destruction of ‘Rocky’ Fielding, Gallagher will be looking to add a third world title to his stable of fighters.
Recalling the first fight from July which ended in a draw, Gallagher gave BoxingScene.com an insight into his thoughts on that night.
“I said to Crolla after the tenth round, ‘You’re the home fighter, he's the champion, there's a lot of rounds here that could be close. I have it level, if not level you have him one up or you one up. If you go out and win these last two rounds you've got them in the bank.’
“He goes out, then there was a point deduction in round 11 and I thought, oh my God. And then in 12 there was a point deduction again and I thought job's done. I didn't think Anthony was a massive winner on the night but at the time I thought to myself with the point deductions that it sealed it.
"Anthony’s jab was very good throughout, Pérez at times came with some good punches, Anthony came back and it was very much a real tug of war battle. Just when you thought one was on top, another one came back. It was that type of fight. I just thought Anthony did enough to win. But it was a lesson learnt and it's one that Liam Smith was aware of recently when he fought Thompson. Even if you're at home nothing's guaranteed. It was a tough fight, you can't claim it was a robbery or anything like that but it was a close fight and I felt Anthony did enough to win it.”
In terms of the rematch, Gallagher believes there could be even more excitement than the first fight given the outcome when the two men last met.
”I think that Pérez, the way he celebrated in the ring last time, he knows he got away with it,” Joe opined.
“We know what to expect this time. He knows that because the rematch was ordered that he's a bit of a marked man.
“Anthony Crolla knows he has to be better because it will be a better Darleys Pérez. I think there was a lot of emotion in the first fight after coming back from the injury. It was an emotional night but this time it's more of a back to work mentality, he's very businesslike in his training. He's going into this fight not wondering if he can win, he's thinking he knows he can. He has that self-confidence and belief.
“We can't give too much away but we know that Pérez is going to come to win this fight by knockout and Crolla may have to meet him fire with fire at some stages. I don't think he'll get the point deductions in this fight, he will know he can't give silly points away and I can't see this going the distance. I feel both kids will be going for the stoppage. They've both got to take more chances so they don't leave it to the judges.”
Ben Jacobs is part of Boxing Scene's UK team. Follow him on Twitter @Ben2012_London