Ketteroll unconvincingly defeated Linares. So, he won't get a title fight.

Ketteroll unconvincingly defeated Linares. So, he won't get a title fight.

On the night of October 21-22 in Liverpool, United Kingdom, a bout for the WBA Intercontinental championship in the 63.5 kg weight category took place between British boxer Jack Ketteroll (28-1, 13 KOs) and Venezuelan Jorge Linares (47-9, 29 KOs).

The unexpected did not happen. The favorite won but did so in a rather calm and uninteresting manner. This might make it challenging for him to secure big fights against top opponents.

Linares extended his losing streak. He only got this fight due to his name. Jorge Linares is no longer the dangerous boxer he once was, considered a leader in the lightweight division in 2017-2018. Since then, the Venezuelan has suffered losses in fights he shouldn't have lost and in places he didn't need to box in.

At present, Linares has lost four consecutive fights, with his last victory dating back to 2020. He has suffered two losses against formidable opponents and two that could have been avoided – namely, against Zaur Abdullaev and Zhora Hamazaryan.

Clearly, he didn't need to go to Russia, not just because it's a terrorist state still engaged in Europe's largest war since World War II but also because boxing events in Russia are often of a lower tier. They may be extravagant, funded by oil money, but fundamentally, they are intended to bring in a well-known boxer who has already lost their prime to be beaten by a local athlete. Going there is an admission that you are no longer capable of much.

Two of his other losses were to credible opponents in title fights. This is the world of boxing, where you work for your name, and it ensures you title fights even when you might not deserve them in your career's later stages.

In 2021, Linares lost to Devin Haney but put up a strong fight. Haney led, but he couldn't knock him out – Devin won by decision. In 2023, Jorge lost to Jack Ketteroll in a title bout that could have potentially given him a chance at a championship.

The fight with Ketteroll could have gone any way. You couldn't rule out a knockout from Linares, although we hadn't seen one since 2021, and his punch was not as powerful as before. Likewise, Ketteroll could land a knockout punch. He once knocked Josh Taylor down. However, we witnessed perhaps the worst possible outcome.

Right from the start, Jack took on a cautious counter-puncher stance. He maintained a wide stance, punched from a distance, and didn't rush into clinches. This was a wise move, considering his opponent's age of 38. He wanted to let Linares work and then break him once signs of fatigue appeared.

Linares looked jittery, trying to adjust his stance opposite the champion, attempting to find his range. It wasn't terrible, and in the early rounds, perhaps even better than the champion. But he lacked precision. Jorge threw his right hand in an attempt to connect, but he couldn't find the target he wanted – the head or chin.

After the initial rounds, it became clear that one accurate punch could turn the fight around, but it would require a miracle to land it. That miracle happened in the fifth round. Ketteroll seemed more accurate than his opponent. At one moment, he landed a left hand and calmly went for the finish.

What Linares couldn't lose was his experience. Because Jorge keeps himself in good shape and has the experience, he wasn't easily finished even now. Although Jack tried very hard, and some series seemed to land squarely on the target, it looked like the referee would step in and end the fight.

Linares even tried to make a comeback after that. He increased his movement and engagement. He attempted to take control. But it didn't work out well. Ketteroll was awkward and faster. Moreover, he was boxing as the second number, so Jorge's initiative didn't break him.

Unfortunately, for the sake of the spectacle of the fight, the British boxer didn't rush into a brawl. He attacked from a distance, attempting to punch from there. The opponent couldn't do much anymore. Linares lacked the speed and timing to fight like he used to. Therefore, he tried but couldn't succeed.

Ketteroll never managed to push the action either. He calmly and confidently secured the victory by unanimous decision: 116-112 twice and 117-111 in favor of the British boxer. It wasn't what fans wanted to see, but a win is a win.


What now? The question of whether Linares should continue has been lingering for a while. Losing to Haney or even to Ketteroll is one thing, but it's another when you lose to average Russian fighters and go without a victory for three years.

Things are unlikely to get better. Jorge is 38 years old. He's physically strong but is losing his boxing condition. He either doesn't have the timing or the imagination for an attack in some cases, or he lacks the physical ability in others. Perhaps it's time to consider taking a break?

Jack Ketteroll theoretically has a shot at the WBA world title or at least a contender status. Believing in the latter is more plausible.

Before this fight, the Briton was ranked seventh in the WBA ratings. After the victory, he will undoubtedly rise to the top 3 or 4. But what use is Romero to him if the Association doesn't demand this fight? He can box, but he doesn't provide the show and is only known in the UK. But even at home, he's not a superstar.

To pique the interest of a champion through fan excitement, he needed to engage and knock out Linares. He either didn't want to or couldn't. Now, we'll wait for another fight – maybe there, he will want and be able to.

One option is to call out the number one in the British rankings, O'Hara Davis. A local showdown for the right to contend for the title. Sounds good. Or Ryan Garcia, who already has experience fighting a British opponent and a successful one.

But for that, Garcia needs to get past his future opponent and want to fight the tricky but not lucrative enough Ketteroll.

Jack is a good boxer, but there's no hype left after his fight with Taylor. Harsh reality has shown us two decision wins where everyone expected either a knockout or a spectacular victory over his opponents. That's not how you build a fan base. And a fan base is a direct ticket to titles.



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