Fighting talk: Kevin Mitchell is world class!
The 30-year-old was severely hindered by a clash of heads in the fourth round of his WBC World title contest at London’s O2 Arena.
The grotesque gash developed in to a huge haematoma throughout the rounds, restricting Mitchell’s vision as it was targeted with punishing rights from the Venezuelen champion.
Mitchell, attempting to win a world title at the third time of asking following defeats to Michael Katsidis and Ricky Burns earlier in his career, had Linares down in the fifth round and was ahead on the judge’s scorecards prior to the 10th round stoppage.
“I was gutted for him,” said Blackledge. “He should be the world champion now but he paid the price for leaving his left hand down. He just left himself too exposed at times for Linares to land that right over the top.
“He suffered with the clash of heads, his eye ballooned, but he didn’t protect the cut. It’s a shame because he’s definitely a world level fighter and he deserves another chance.
“That one mistake cost him and those right hands from Linares made the difference. He was winning the fight on the card, he had Linares down in the fifth, but he couldn’t carry on with that cut.”
Blackledge added: “I think there’s definitely a rematch there. It was a great fight, it was close and I think Mitchell would beat him. It was a really good performance but fair play to his opponent for coming back.
“Kevin is with Eddie Hearn so he’ll be well looked after, particularly after that performance.”