The bout started somewhat tentatively with Prieto applying the pressure and Linares being forced to move, pick his spots and fight a controlled fight. At times it looked like it was going to be a battle between Linares skills and speed and the power and pressure of Prieto. Unfortunately for the Mexican however his lack of speed did make things a little bit easier to Linares who managed to avoid many of the wide round house swings of Prieto.
The first 2 rounds were very similar to each other. Prieto trying to land bombs whilst often forcing Linares backwards, Linares picking his spots and landing sharp shots in return. It did however look like Prieto was going to land eventually, and that's what he did in round 3 when he seemed to momentarily sting Linares. That was however as good as it got for Prieto who was then forced to follow the skillful Venezuelan who was caught by anything else all that notable.
In round 4 the ending was sudden. Prieto was on the march towards Linares until the "Golden Boy" landed a sharp jab instantly followed up right hand, right on the ear. This sent Prieto's legs into a wobble for a second before he dropped his hands, a moment later he dropped to his back. It seemed like Prieto had gone down awfully casually and he looked like a man sun bathing, though he took the entire count. From the way the right hand landed we have to suspect that Prieto suffered some sort of damage to his ear or equilibrium though he may have just had enough.
With this win Linares becomes a 3-weight world champion, just the second to have been promoted by a Japanese promoter. Unfortunately for him he will have to defend his title against Omar Figueroa when Figueroa returns from his hand injury and that could be a very painful night for Linares given the power and style of Figueroa. For now however Linares is free to celebrate a victory that puts him back on the boxing map and sees him claiming a world title for the first time since his loss to Juan Carlos Salgado, more than 5 years ago.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)