By Edward Chaykovsky
Anthony Crolla is getting some big backers who believe he will win tonight's rematch in Manchester with WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares.
They collided at the same venue last September with Linares handing Crolla a twelve round unanimous decision loss and walking away with the WBA title around his waist.
The first fight produced a lot of fireworks and more are expected in the rematch.
IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua was a big fan of the first fight and he expects the rematch to have action as well. Joshua feels good about Crolla's chances to make the right adjustments and avenge his last defeat.
"First fight, phenomenal," Joshua told Sky Sports. "Jorge Linares, phenomenal fighter. 'Million Dollar' Crolla, phenomenal fighter. I like them but I am going with the hometown fighter. Crolla, you are doing it for all of us and I wish you the best of luck."
WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew is predicting victory for Crolla. He believes Crolla will use his workrate in the second half of the contest to bring the title back home. With both boxers holding a win, Bellew would not be surprised if a trilogy fight took place.
"Anthony Crolla has bounced back from defeat, like I have, and has shown the true colours of a champion. You find out a lot more about someone in a loss, then you ever will when they win. I see it being a really tough, hard-fought fight with Jorge Linares, but I just see Anthony Crolla edging it on points with the better workrate. I think his game-plan will be on point this time and I think he will stick to it stringently," Bellew said.
"Both guys might go in there with a bit of caution, because they have seen each other's ability and felt their power. It could be a very close, tense affair, and probably will come down to the last few rounds of the fight and who wants it most. I think that will be Anthony Crolla. A close points decision win for Crolla could set up the final fight of a trilogy."