By Elliot Foster
Jorge Linares agreed to the rematch, just like everybody thought.
The Venezuelan, who outpointed Anthony Crolla last September to win three lightweight titles, even agreed to return to Manchester.
And on Saturday, the pair go head-to-head again in a battle for supremacy in the 135-pound division.
Instant Boxing has all the details in a guide ahead of the big fight…
What is it?
This the rematch between Anthony Crolla and Jorge Linares, with the British fighter looking to reclaim the WBA world lightweight title after losing it to his Venezuelan opponent back in September. Linares’ WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine titles are also on the line.
When and where is it?
The fight will take place at the Manchester Arena on Saturday, March 25, 2017.
What time is it?
The bout should take place at approximately 10pm GMT, with the undercard fights starting a few hours beforehand.
What TV channel is it on?
The fight will be shown on Sky Sports 1 HD in the UK, with the programme beginning at 7pm to take in much of the build-up and undercard, while the US coverage is being provided by Showtime.
What is the story behind both fighters?
2015 was an extraordinary year for Anthony Crolla, who became WBA lightweight world champion just 11 months after suffering a fractured skull and ankle when tackling burglars at a neighbour’s home in Manchester. He was hit over the head with a concrete slab, but made a full recovery and completed his recovery with a victory over Darleys Perez via a fifth-round stoppage.
The first defence of his WBA title saw a knockout win over Ismael Barroso the following May, before losing on points to Linares at the Manchester Arena last September, with the three judges scoring the fight 115-114, 117-111 and 115-113 in favour of the visitor, who many believe produced a career-best display.
Linares had previously beaten Britain’s Kevin Mitchell at the O2 Arena in London and goes into the second Crolla fight on the back of an unbeaten run since March 2012. He has held world titles at three weights.
What have they been saying?
Crolla insists he has made crucial adjustments after defeat when the two fighters met last year.
“Obviously, I’m not going to give too much away,” he said, “but we have to be smarter in the ring.
“We have quickened things up a little bit, and there are certain shots there that we feel we didn’t capitalise on last time and plan on doing it this time.
“I’m very much more business-minded. My head is just totally on the job.
“I am always confident and believe in myself, and the harder and smarter you train, the more confident you get.
“It could be another long fight – I’ve prepared for 12 hard rounds as always. But whether it is a points decision or not, I believe it is a different result this time.”
Linares has warned Crolla that he is targeting a more convincing win this time.
“He knows he has had to work harder to get back what he feels is his,” he said. “But the only problem is I have come even better prepared as well.
“I’m coming in and doing whatever is necessary to win more convincingly than I did in September. I think this will be a faster-paced fight, and I’m ready for whatever comes.
“A fighter has to prepare themselves for the long run, and if the knockout [opportunity] comes, I’m ready for that too.
“I will go for it, but the most important thing is that after the fight, my hand is raised as the victor.”