Jorge Linares was expected to roll over relative unknown Sergio Thompson on Saturday in Cancun, Mexico, which would’ve earned him a rematch with WBC lightweight titleholder Antonio DeMarco on July 7.
Instead, it appears as if Thompson will be fighting DeMarco.
Thompson, who lives in Cancun, defeated Linares by a second-round technical knockout when Linares couldn’t continue because of a bad cut above his left eye in the title eliminator. The fight was stopped by the ring doctor at 2:27 of the round.
Linares, clearly the more polished of the two, appeared to outbox an aggressive Thompson and wobbled the Mexican with a sharp left hook about midway through the first round, although he remained on his feet.
Linares (31-3, 20 knockouts) appeared to have a small cut above his left eye as he sat on his stool between rounds.
The Venezuelan picked up in the second round where he left off in the first, controlling the action with his jab and solid power shots as Thompson continued to fight aggressively.
The end came suddenly. Thompson, wild and fearless, unloaded a barrage of hard, accurate punches that forced Linares to touch the canvas with both gloves even though he didn’t appear to be hurt, making it a knockdown.
That wasn’t Linares’ biggest problem, though. When he stood up, blood poured from the cut and the referee led Linares to the doctor immediately. The physician took one look and waved his arms, signaling the end of the fight.
The loss was a bitter disappointment for Linares, who was dominating DeMarco when he was knocked out in the 11thround for the vacant WBC title last October in Los Angeles. Linares, a bloody mess in that fight too, was taking considerable punishment when the referee stopped the fight.
Thompson (22-2, 20 KOs) wasn’t expected to be in Linares’ class, although he appeared to have good punching power based on his record.
The only time Thompson faced a notable opponent he lost a split decision to unbeaten Russian Alisher Rahimov in Thompson’s hometown. Rahimov won easily on two cards, which apparently reflected what happened in the fight, but he somehow lost on the third.
Still, Thompson’s swarming style gave Linares trouble as long as the fight lasted. Who knows what would’ve happened had it continued? Remember, Linares was stopped by Juan Carlos Salgado in the first round in 2009.
Of course, we’ll never know. The cut, obviously the result of a punch, ended the fight before it really got started.