At the age of 32, Jorge is a 15-year pro. A three-division world champion, he won WBC featherweight world title when he was just 21 years old in July, 2007, and made one successful defense before vacating the title to move up in weight in 2008. He won the WBA super featherweight world title when he was 23 in November, 2008, and made one successful defense before losing the title in October, 2009. He won the WBC lightweight world title in December, 2014, and made two successful defenses. He fractured his right hand in training, though, in February, 2016, and was unable to make the WBC’s mandatory title defense. He was named “champion in recess,” which gave him the right to fight for the WBC title again when he returned.
In the meantime, a different opportunity came up for him. After a layoff of 11 months, Jorge returned to the ring in September, 2016, and won the WBA lightweight title. He has now made three successful title defenses.
In his last fight on January 227 in Inglewood, California, he won a 12-round unanimous decision against Mercito Gesta.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported [excerpts]: Lightweight world champion Jorge Linares retained his title for the third time and won his 13th fight in a row with a dominant, unanimous decision against Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta. Linares won by scores of 118-110, 118-110 and 117-111.
They swapped a lot of clean punches, but it was Linares who was landing the harder shots. He connected with several clean right hands, body shots and flashy combinations against Gesta, who was sloppier with his punches and not nearly as hard of a puncher.
In the sixth round, Linares, a Venezuela native living in Las Vegas, landed a big right hand, and Gesta responded by smiling, the boxing sign that he sure felt it.
Gesta, a Philippines native fighting out of San Diego, opened a small cut over Linares’ right eye in the eighth round. He has had problems with cuts, but his corner kept this one under control, so it did not cause Linares any major problems. [End Rafael item]
Trainer Ismael Salas started working with Jorge in March, 2013, and has trained him for his last 12 fights. Jorge has now won 13 fights in a row overall, seven by knockout, since his last loss in March, 2012.
In an earlier interview, Jorge said, “I came to Japan because of the WBA and their president, Gilberto Mendoza Jr. Mendoza has a great relationship with the Japanese promoter, Akihiko Honda, and they’re always having Venezuelan fighters fight here in Japan for their championships. They’ve known me since I was 13 years old. [note: the WBA was based in Caracas at the time; they are now in Panama City] When I was developing, they said maybe I should come over here and train, and I did. I came over here and they did a test on me, everybody was happy how it worked, and I stayed here.
“I love being a boxer and I love boxing. I always study it and try to be the best that I can be, and get better all the time.”
Jorge was promoted exclusively by Akihiko Honda’s Tokyo-based Teiken Promotions for the first seven years of his career, and signed a co-promotional agreement with Golden Boy Promotions in 2010.
Regarding his nickname, he said, “There was a boxer in Venezuela who was known by that same nickname. His name is Morochito Rodriguez. He saw me fight in an amateur tournament in 2002, and he said, ‘You remind me of myself. I want to give you that nickname,’ and it stuck.”