By Jake Donovan
Jorge Linares entered a Mexican ring to the beat of a Reggaeton duo live on hand to escort him into the ring.
Two rounds later, Sergio Thompson offered a beat of his own, with the sound and pound of his fists showing Linares the exit in the worst possible way.
A major upset occurred as Linares suffered shocking second round knockout loss against Thompson – a local underdog – in their Fox Deportes-televised main event Saturday evening at Oasis Hotel Complex in Cancun, Mexico.
The show was designed as a showcase to help Linares shake ring rust ahead of a planned July 7 rematch with Antonio DeMarco. Those plans quickly flew out the window, as Thompson had upset on the mind from the opening bell, if not his intense ring walk to the backdrop of a live Mariachi band.
Linares sought to establish his jab early on, but spent most of the round in reverse and not landing very much as Thompson brought the aggression. It was a wise strategy on the part of both fighters; Thompson did his best to force his brand of fighting, though Linares was disciplined enough to counter, including a right hand midway through the round that left his opponent wobbled.
As was the case five months ago, the sequence would prove to be yet one more matter in which Linares started but couldn’t finish.
The second round went beyond explanation. Thompson was a whirlwind of energy, to which Linares never fully recovered. A fusillade of punches left the former two-division champ to cover up without being able to offer anything in return to slow down the local lightweight. The punishment continued until Thompson willed Linares to the canvas.
Referee Bill Clancy was on top of the action, even counting in Spanish to ensure that nothing was lost in translation. Linares remained on a knee for the entire eight count and then rose just as the third man was about to spit out “Nueve.” The Venezuelan boxer-puncher seemed clearheaded as he responded to the referee’s instructions, but was then asked to visit the ringside doctor.
The concern was a cut over Linares’ left eye, turning into a gusher and drawing concern that it was a dealbreaker. The inspecting physician deemed that the battered fighter was unfit to continue, thus bringing a sudden - if not a bit inconclusive – ending to the bout.
The official time was 2:27 of round two.
Thompson picks up by far the biggest win of a career that could be classified as fringe contender status at best. Saturday’s win proved to be a game changer for the local slugger, as he improves to 22-2 (20KO) in picking up his eighth straight win over a stretch of less than 15 months. All but one of those wins over that period have come inside the distance.
Questions once again surface of Linares’ punch resistance and whether or not his knack for looking the part far exceeds his actual in-ring ability. The debacle on the road marks the second straight defeat for Linares, who falls to 31-3 (20KO).
Stranger things have happened in boxing in regards to fighters still claiming prime opportunities even in the face of humiliating defeat.
Still, it’s safe to say that Linares stands next to no chance of being able to proceed with plans (or hopes) of avenging last October’s heartbreaker to DeMarco in their Fight of the Year contender. If so, it won’t happen in the immediate future and certainly not on the targeted July 7 date.
At age 26, it’s impossible to give up on a fighter who boasts as much talent as does Linares. Still, at some point actual results need to surface to prove that the kid is for real. Even with the scenario of well-connected fighters receiving a surplus of opportunities, it gets tougher and tougher to justify keeping Linares near the front of the line.
Meanwhile, life must go on for DeMarco, whose 5th round knockout of Miguel Roman – becoming the first to stop the battle-tested veteran – two weeks ago was supposed to unofficially mark the first stage of the buzz surrounding their proposed rematch. Perhaps DeMarco faces his countryman Thompson, albeit in a far less attractive matchup to whatever American network was going to be involved in the July 7 show.
Whatever the case, Linares needs to think long and hard about the next step in a career that is suddenly in red alert status. While his ring entrance music was all the way live, it’s the traveling music now surrounding his future that now demands far greater consideration.
OTHER TELEVISED RESULTS
Unbeaten super middleweight prospect Marco Antonio Peribian (17-0, 11KO) blitzed Gerardo Diaz in two rounds of their televised co-feature, which was scheduled for 10 rounds. Peribian was extended the eight-round distance in each of his past three fights prior to resuming his knockout ways.
In a bout that never should’ve been sanctioned but far too often accepted in Mexico, Jorge Romero (21-5, 18KO) scored a second round knockout of Edward Canales, who was making his pro debut. Romero has now won four straight after hitting a rough patch in a career that saw him drop four of his past five contests.
Debuting welterweight Jesse Guerrero enjoyed his first venture into the ring as a pro, scoring a 1st round stoppage over Andres Uribe (1-4, 1KO), who has now lost four straight.
The show was presented by Golden Boy Promotions.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter:@JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]