Trainer Joe Gallagher believes his charge Anthony Crolla can silence 11,000 braying Liverpudlians when he takes on Derry Mathews for the Commonwealth lightweight title.
The city’s confidence was rocked last month when their prime heavyweight world champion hopeful David Price was sensationally knocked out by American Tony Thompson.
And Gallagher believes his charge can inflict a similar blow to the Scouse boxing scene by overcoming hometown hero Mathews in their rematch at the Echo Arena Satruday night.
“We were at the David Price fight when he lost to Tony Thompson there and the place just went quiet,” said Gallagher.
“I said to Anthony, ‘listen to that, that’s what you can do by beating Derry Mathews’.
“I don’t think Derry had any pressure on him last time. This time he has – it’s in a big arena and I think it’s the first time he’ll be fighting in front of so many people.
“That can do one of two things; it can either make him raise his game or make him choke under the pressure – Crolla doesn’t have that pressure.”
The trainer insists hostile territory won’t bother the New Moston fighter – ‘Million Dollar’ took the British lightweight belt at Liverpool’s Olympia, flattening home favourite John Watson in nine rounds.
However, Mathews sensationally relieved him of the crown last April in Boxing News’ domestic fight of the year with the clash stopped inside six rounds for Crolla’s protection.
His career has suffered setbacks since that night at Oldham’s Sport Centre – once slated to fight WBO champion Ricky Burns, Crolla has since lost to Gary Sykes at October’s Prizefighter.
The 5”8 fighter has since bounced back to become English lightweight champion – he overcame Kieran Farrell last December in traumatic fashion as his opponent collapsed after the bell.
Yet Gallagher believes his man’s style has acquired a new-found maturity since his previous clash against Mathews, which saw him knocked down for the first time.
“The referee kept stopping things to look at Crolla’s eye and that put a bit of panic in him,” he said.
“He thought it was stick or bust.
“Derry Mathews, in contrast, had that bit more experience and knew how to hold on and get through.
He’d been down before against Choi and numerous fighters but it was new to Crolla and I think he’ll be better for the experience.
“This time it’s going be another good fight, probably the fight of the night, but it’s going to be a different result.”
Image courtesy of Matchroom Boxing, via YouTube, with thanks.