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Can Jack Catterall Push Career To Greater Heights With Linares Fight?

LEEDS, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 04: Boxer Jack Catterall poses for a portrait after a press conference to announce his next fight at Leeds Aspire on September 4, 2017 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images)

British super lightweight Jack Catterall is regarded as one of the best British fighters at 140 lbs, but he has yet to establish himself as a feared opponent even following a controversial split-decision defeat to Josh Taylor. His upcoming October 12th fight may be a career-defining one as he pushes for greatness in a division that seems to be heavily in need of one.

The super lightweight division has always been rather stale since it saw its first-ever world champion in Pinky Mitchell in 1923, with the most prominent name in the division still linked to former three-belt era undisputed champion Kostya Tszyu, father of future WBO super welterweight contender Tim Tszyu (23-0, 17 KO’s) who is set to become a world champion on September 30th.

Terence Crawford (40-0, 31 KO’s) became the next known name to light up the super lightweight division, encapsulating his tenure at 140 lbs by becoming the first undisputed champion in the division’s four-belt era.

Josh Taylor (19-1, 13 KO’s) then made a name for himself afterwards, beating two of the best-rated fighters in the division at the time in Regis Prograis (29-1, 24 KO’s) and Jose Ramirez (28-1, 18 KO’s) to eventually become the second undisputed champion in the four-belt era. However, following a loss to Teofimo Lopez (19-1, 13 KO’s) in June of this year, the division remains wide open with the presence of three different champions and one vacant title [WBO] which briefly belonged to Lopez following his win over Taylor — until his retirement.

Jack Catterall’s (27-1, 13 KO’s) 2022 loss to Josh Taylor had briefly had the opposite of what a loss entailed, given the controversial nature and decision of his loss, but the Brit had been in a status of relative hiatus following this breakthrough match and has only recently surfaced again after signing with Matchroom and defeating Darragh Foley (22-5, 10 KO’s) this year in May after being out of the ring for over a year.

Jorge Linares (47-8, 29 KO’s) has now been matched with Jack Catterall, a step-up compared to Catterall’s last opponent but for different reasons.

Linares, 38, has had a career as a world champion and made a name for himself in various weight classes. The Venezuelan fighter is possibly Jack Catterall’s greatest test after Josh Taylor; a combination of experience and skill that has tested the likes of Vasyl Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KO’s) and Devin Haney (30-0, 15 KO’s) before, albeit at 135 lbs.

Can Jack Catterall Push To Greater Heights With Linares Fight image 1
NEW YORK, NY – MAY 12: Jorge Linares punches Vasiliy Lomachenko during their WBA lightweight title fight at Madison Square Garden on May 12, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Jorge Linares is no stranger to 140 lbs, having fought there several times before including a loss he suffered against Pablo Cesar Cano, but the 38-year old former world champion seems set on still proving himself.

Though Catterall is widely-expected to win given his age and boxing ability, most of the scrutiny during this match will be based on his performance. A solid win culminating in a stoppage/knockout will make Jack Catterall a feared ‘boogeyman’ in the division, a dark horse who can potentially upturn a ever-fluctuating and oft-disregarded division.

Can Jack Catterall Push To Greater Heights With Linares Fight image 2
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – FEBRUARY 26: Jack Catterall (L) and Josh Taylor (R) exchange punches during their undisputed super lightweight championship fight at The OVO Hydro on February 26, 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

A more disappointing win, however, such as a majority- or split decision might not work in favor of when it comes to his perceived boxing ability but can make waves when it comes to his career. Ironically, an even or tough battle with Jorge Linares will likely see the division’s champions or top contenders stand in line to face him, as his position as a high-rated contender with vulnerabilities will deem him an easy target, and a good name on the resume for the division’s other top fighters.

On the flipside, a loss can collapse Jack Catterall’s career almost completely, however unlikely it is to happen. Fortunately, the Brit seems to be back on the active path of boxing following his last fight that occurred on the 27th of May this year, and a win over Linares [regardless of the performance] might see him fight for a world title in the very next match as boxing is an ever-fickle sports industry looking for its next unlikely or underrated champion, or boxing’s next laughing stock.