Jorge Linares looking to prove that Lomachenko is not “invincible”


NEW YORK – In only his 12th professional fight, Vasyl Lomachenko will step into the ring for a world title shot in his third consecutive weight division. His opponent, WBA lightweight world champion Jorge Linares, will attempt to be the spoiler of this achievement and show the boxing world that Lomachenko can be defeated when both square off this Saturday on ESPN.

The Mexican veteran, Orlando Salido, is the only professional fighter at the moment that maintains a claim to the one individual loss on Lomachenko’s record — regardless of how the bout played out. The 30-year-old Lomachenko, who currently holds a world title at super featherweight, has won his last ten fights since losing the goose egg on his record. He dominated fellow gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-1, 11 KOs) in his previous fight back in February.

Linares, of Barinas, Venezuela, beat Mercito Gesta (31-2-2, 17 KOs) to a unanimous decision at the beginning of the year on HBO. Following the win, Linares called out fellow 135 pound world champion Mikey Garcia — who had also expressed desire for a unification matchup. However, an agreement was not reached and Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) and Lomachenko was made in a major move for each respective promotional body.

“I am hungry to win and continue with my reign as world champion,” Linares said this week in New York. “This is a high level fight and a very important one for my career because I am going to prove that Lomachenko is not an invincible fighter.”

Vasyl Lomachenko tennis ball

Vasyl Lomachenko does his tennis ball workout earlier this week before his bout against Jorge Linares. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Both Linares and Lomachenko have some of the more finesse styles in the sport and should make for an intelligent fight. Despite this, in his less than one dozen bouts, Lomachenko has highly outclassed a majority of his opponents, which has led to him in becoming a heavy favorite in this Saturday’s main event from Madison Square Garden.

“I already proved where I am, and I plan on being at the top of the sport for a very long time,” Lomachenko said. “I do not plan on slowing down.”

Linares, a staple of the Golden Boy Promotions’ team, has a more increased probability to face off against Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs) if he’s able to crack the puzzle in Lomachenko. With Bob Arum’s Top Rank promoting Lomachenko, it’d likely be more difficult for a Garcia fight agreement due to the nature of the litigation past between both parties. Just this month, Golden Boy will not only be working with Top Rank and ESPN, but also will be co-promoting on a Showtime world championship card headline by featherweight world champion Gary Russell, Jr. and Joseph Diaz, Jr.

Garcia just recently won a world title at a 140 pounds, but decided to vacate it and state his desire to stay at lightweight and defend his title. This keeps the higher possibility that the winner of this weekend’s main event could eventually find themselves in a unification with Garcia sometime later this year. Nevertheless, Linares realizes the test he will have in front of him on ESPN, and promises that he won’t quit against a fighter who has been known to push his opponents to do just that.

“We will see what he [Lomachenko] is really made of when he faces me this Saturday. I Believe in myself and I know that I will come out with the victory,” Linares confidently said. “I am here to win. I did not come here to quit.”

About Albert Baker

Writer/Producer/Director of the Under the Hand Wraps documentary series and owner of Albert Baker is currently based in Fresno, California and has been covering boxing since 2014.

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