RingTV.com caught up to Antonio DeMarco for this Q&A concerning his come-from-behind 11th-round knockout of former two-division beltholder Jorge Linares for the vacant WBC lightweight belt on Saturday.
DeMarco-Linares took place at Staples Center in Los Angeles on the undercard of a controversial main event that ended with RING and WBC light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins being dethroned by second-round TKO against Chad Dawson on HBO Pay Per View.
A 25-year-old southpaw, DeMarco improved to 26-2-1 with his 19th knockout in the most significant win of his career.
DeMarco trailed 98-92 on the cards of Jerry Cantu and Marshall Walker, and 99-91 on that of Joel Scobie, when he unleashed a barrage of blows that forced referee Raul Caiz Jr. to rescue the bludgeoned and bloody Linares at the 2:32 mark of the 11th.
In victory, DeMarco scored his second stoppage win during a run of three straight triumphs since falling by ninth-round knockout to the late Venezuelan Edwin Valero (27-0, 27 KOs) last February. DeMarco’s Showtime-televised failed bid to earn the WBC lightweight belt was the final bout Valero’s career.
DeMarco told RingTV.com that he drew strength from his experience against Valero, which bore similarities to the bout against the 26-year-old Linares (31-2, 20 KOs).
Where Linares out-landed DeMarco, 216-to-97 in total punches and 149-to-83 in power punches, Valero out-landed DeMarco 270-80 overall, 183-33 in power shots, and had an 87-47 advantage in jabs.
Like he did against Linares, DeMarco bloodied Valero, his left hand opening a first-round cut beneath his rival’s right eye. In the second round, DeMarco opened a gash over Valero’s forehead as well as his right eyelid thanks to a left elbow that grazed the oncoming Valero’s face.
But unlike his fight against Valero, DeMarco did not retire on his stool against Linares.
Linares had last suffered defeat when dethroned as WBA junior lightweight titleholder in 73 seconds by Juan Carlos Salgado in October of 2009, ending his run of six consecutive knockouts. Among the wins since losing to Salgado was Linares’ 10-round unanimous decision over 2000 Olympic silver medalist Rocky Juarez in July of last year.
Linares had prepared for DeMarco’s southpaw style by spending three weeks in Bagiuo, Philippines working with five-time Trainer of The Year, Freddie Roach and strength and conditioning guru Alex Ariza, plus sparring with southpaw eight-division titlewinner Manny Pacquiao.
Linares was touted as the perfect, younger, faster and stronger emulator of the style of WBO and WBA lightweight beltholder Juan Manuel Marquez, the man Pacquiao faces in an HBO Pay Per View-televised defense of his WBO welterweight belt on Nov. 12.