Jorge Linares vs Zaur Abdullaev Preview Feb. 19th, 2022
Former WBA and WBC Lightweight Champion Jorge Linares of Venezuela heads to Ekaterinburg, Russia this Saturday, February 19th to take on hometown hero Zaur Abdullaev. The 12-round bout is being billed as a WBC Lightweight eliminator. Linares last fought in May when he dropped a controversial unanimous decision to WBC Lightweight Champion Devin Haney while Abdullaev last saw action in September when he beat Dejan Zlaticanin for the vacant WBC Silver Lightweight Title. the bout is supposed to be shown on ESPN+ in America, with the card starting at 8;30 am ET.
Linares vs Abdullaev Betting Odds
- Zaur Abdullaev +105
- Jorge Linares -135
The 36-year-old Linares was defending the WBA Lightweight Title for the fourth time when he ran into Vasyl Lomachenko in May, 2018 and although he decked Lomachenko in the sixth round he was stopped in the 10th. He won the belt in 2016 and also defended it against Anthony Crolla twice by unanimous decisions, stopped Darleys Perez in the ninth round, edged Luke Campbell by split decision and then downed Mercito Gesta by unanimous decision.
After losing to Lomachenko he stopped Abner Cotto in the third round four months later. However, his hot streak ended in January, 2018 when Pablo Cesar Cano stopped him in the first round. Linares bounced back by beating Al Toyogon in a confidence-builder before stopping Carlos Morales in four rounds and then meeting Haney. After all of this action, fans will see Linares will enter the ring at 47-6 with 29 Kos.
Linares has plenty of world-class experience, skill and speed and is also a former featherweight and super featherweight world champion who has recently been living in Japan. He won the vacant WBC Lightweight Belt in December, 2014 by stopping Javier Prieto in the fourth round in Tokyo. The WBC stripped him of it in February, 2016 though after suffering a hand injury and being unable to defend the title. They then named him WBC Diamond Champion for what it’s worth.
Linares’ other losses have been against Juan Salgado in 2009, Antonio DeMarco in 2011 and Sergio Thompson in 2012. Those defeats revealed a questionable chin since all three men stopped him as did Lomachenko and Cano, meaning five of his six defeats have come by stoppage. Linares’ biggest wins have been over Cotto, Campbell, Crolla (twice), Jesus Chavez, Oscar Larios, Nihito Arakawa and Rocky Juarez.
He stands 5-feet-8-inches tall with a 69-inch reach and has boxed 332 rounds since turning pro in 2002. Linares has decent power as he carries a 54.7 per cent knockout ratio around with him but has just two stoppages in his last 10 fights and has lost three of his last six. He’s stopped two opponents since October 2015 so his power could be declining at this point of his career.
Abdullaev is a 27-year-old who will step into the ring with a mark of 14-1 with 8 Kos. also has a perfect mark at 11-0 with 7 Kos. He’s 5-feet-9-inches tall with an unlisted reach so is an inch taller than Linares. He enjoyed a fine amateur career as he won a silver medal at the Russian National Junior Championships in 2010 and the European Youth Championships in 2011 and made it to the quarterfinals of the Russian National Youth Championships in 2012.
He has average power in his fists with a current 53.3 per cent knockout ratio and has stopped one of his last four opponents. Abdullaev turned pro in 2017 and has fought 102 rounds since. His biggest wins have been against Zlaticanin, Humberto Martinez, Roberto Gonzales, Ardie Boyose, Deiner Berrio and Hank Lundy. He’s also won some minor titles as a pro including the WBC Silver and WBO Youth Championships.
This won’t be the first step up in class for Abduallev as he took on Devin Haney for the WBC Interim World Lightweight title in September, 2019 and was stopped after four rounds. That bout took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City in what has been his only fight outside of Russia so far. Of course, he’ll be fighting at home again this weekend.
Abdullaev is powerful and likes to break his opponents down but Linares has the better boxing skills. The problem is though he can be stopped if he isn’t 100- per cent prepared. Linares looked very good against Haney last year and is still competitive at 36 years of age. It’s going to be hard to beat a younger boxer in his hometown though even if he’s at his absolute. This is another tough call and common sense says to go with the younger boxer at home, but if Linares is focused and his chin holds up he should leave Russia with a win or draw.
Linares has better pure skills but has been stopped five times.
Play: Linares -135 @ BetOnline.ag
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