After their thrilling fight back in May resulted in a heroic Kevin Mitchell (39-3, 29ko) getting stopped in the tenth round (despite being up on two scorecards), WBC lightweight champion Jorge Linares (39-3, 26ko) has snubbed a rematch with the Englishman, and will fight unheralded Mexican Ivan Cano (23-6-2) on October 18th instead.
It was made clear in the immediate aftermath of May’s fight that Linares would be returning to Venezuela to make his next defence, and his team were thought to be open to the possibility of a second fight with the Dagenham man.
However, it seems given the torrid time Mitchell gave the champion in their fight – flooring him in the 5th before a grotesque eye injury impeded his vision and helped bring about the stoppage – the Golden Boy promoted Linares’ team have opted for a softer option for his homecoming, which is incidentally his first fight in his homeland for five years.
Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz revealed to ESPN.com that Linares was scheduled to box October 10th but a scrabble for a “suitable” opponent led to the revised date 8 days later in Caracas, Venezuela and the unheralded Cano was officially named as the opponent.
The best name on the record of the Mexican is Haiti born Canadian Dierry Jean, who is the current NABF lightweight champion and knocked Cano out in 2012.
Mitchell’s next move is unclear, although he may find a 4th shot at a version of a world title at 135 hard to come by unless stablemate Anthony Crolla succeeds in his rematch with WBA (reg) champion Darleys Perez, assuming the Colombian takes the fight and doesn’t vacate.