Anthony Crolla hopes Jorge Linares comes looking for a knockout when the pair meet again in Manchester this weekend.
Crolla has the chance to avenge September’s defeat on Saturday night and regain the WBA lightweight title the Venezuelan took by unanimous points decision in their first fight.
Joe Gallagher has an inkling Linares will be in the market for a short night’s work, according to Crolla, and the local boy is desperate for his trainer to be proved right.
“Joe reckons he’ll try and do the job inside the distance,” said Crolla, speaking to Sky Sports News from an open workout in Manchester. “I hope so, I really hope he does.
“What he’s very good at is moving, great ringcraft, flashy combinations and I’m expecting a bit of everything from him on Saturday.”
Crolla is convinced the first meeting turned on a heavy sixth-round shot from Linares that punished a split-second lapse in concentration.
He said: “That’s been one of the things throughout camp I’ve been working on – being smarter, concentration.
“I believe last time that punch changed the fight a whole lot so we know we can’t afford to do that again. We felt it was going our way until then, but we’ve looked to improve and we’ve shown improvements in the gym.
“I feel it’s the best I’ve ever been, I’ve just got to go out and show it on Saturday.”
Linares says he, too, is “much different and much better” than the fighter who outpointed Crolla and is enjoying being back in his “second home”.
“Eight weeks of training have gone perfectly psychologically, physically,” he said, “and I’m happy to be back here in Manchester. Even if I’m not so welcome I love it here.”