Crolla vs Linares: Similar to Ricky Hatton's win over Kostya Tszyu, says David Coldwell
Last Updated: 22/09/16 12:00pm
David Coldwell is expecting Anthony Crolla to produce another magical Manchester night like Ricky Hatton's unforgettable win over Kostya Tszyu.
The trainer and member of the Sky Sports team was at the Manchester Arena back in 2005 when The Hitman left the world's number one pound-for-pound fighter on his stool before the final round on an emotional night.
Coldwell will be at the same venue on Saturday when Crolla takes on three-weight world champion Jorge Linares, live on Sky Sports.
Manchester's new favourite is defending his WBA world title and aiming to pick up 'The Ring' lightweight belt against the Venezuelan in what many people are expecting to be the steepest test in his roller-coaster career.
Crolla is the bookmaker's favourite, but Coldwell has got him down as the underdog, along the same lines as Hatton back in 2005.
"Ant is the sort of kid who on nights like this, will just refuse to be beaten - just like Ricky Hatton against Kostya Tszyu," he said.
"I know Tszyu was an absolute legend and a step above but in comparison, this just reminds me of that.
"Even though Tszyu was coming to the end of his career, Ricky Hatton was a solid prospect and WBU champion but he'd never done anything extraordinary or hung around at that level, but the timing was absolutely perfect."
Hatton kept taking shots but he kept pressuring him, kept coming back and eventually it took its toll on Tszyu and that night at the Manchester Arena, where all those fans were behind him, Ricky just wouldn't be denied.
Tszyu had only boxed once in the previous 17 months due to a ruptured Achilles when he arrived in Manchester to defend his IBF world welterweight title and Coldwell feels that Linares is "just past his best" as well.
But the man behind Jamie McDonnell and Tony Bellew's world-title glory still expects the visitor to cause all sorts of problems due to his experience and smartness.
Coldwell believes Crolla and trainer Joe Gallagher will come up with a different gameplan after his recent stoppage wins over Darleys Perez and Ismael Barroso and has backed the home favourite to pull off a memorable win, similar to Hatton's defining night.
"Hatton kept taking shots but he kept pressuring him, kept coming back and eventually it took its toll on Tszyu and that night at the Manchester Arena, where all those fans were behind him, Ricky just wouldn't be denied," said Coldwell.
"I've got a feeling that Saturday night could be the same for Crolla, as well.
"I think Linares is the slight favourite, just like Tszyu was, but I can just see it going the same way as that night - and it was unbelievable back then.
"I used to go there all the time and it is a brilliant atmosphere, just brilliant. I love that stadium, it is a proper, proper cauldron and that is what Linares will come up against.
"I am praying it goes Crolla's way and with those fans behind him, I can see that happening."
Coldwell was in Bellew's corner at Goodison Park when he was crowned IBF cruiserweight world champion in the summer and was ringside at The O2 when fellow Sheffielder Kell Brook took on Gennady Golovkin in front of a full house.
Crolla is unlikely to do what Hatton did after beating Tszyu and take 30,000 fans to Las Vegas for his huge fights with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, but he is now the new fans' favourite in Manchester.
Carl Froch believes the 29-year-old is only surpassed by heavyweight star Anthony Joshua - who boxes in the Manchester Arena on November 26 - but Coldwell knows Crolla will be Britain's number one on Saturday night.
"In terms of popularity, he is without doubt Britain's number one," he said.
"He is loved by everyone. There will be so many people crammed into that Arena, watching it on Sky Sports, or down the pub because he is such a nice guy."
Watch Crolla v Linares live on Sky Sports 2 from 7.30pm this Saturday.