Linares: Lomachenko is Beatable
As Vasyl Lomachenko rockets up the pound-for-pound rankings, the boxing world has begun to question who can provide him a challenge in either the 130 or 135 lb. divisions. One man who believes he is up to the task is WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares.
Linares (42-3) last fought in March, dominating Anthony Crolla in a rematch that was nowhere near as competitive as their first fight. The Venezuelan champion was no worse for wear after the fight, and wants to remain active in 2017.
"I would love to fight at the end of July or early August," Linares said in an interview with Boxing Scene. "There is enough time where I think that I can fight two more ones this year."
Among the potential next opponents for Linares, a matchup with WBC lightweight champ Mikey Garcia looms large. If that fight is ordered by either sanctioning body, it would be a stellar matchup to determine who the best fighter at 135 pounds is.
But the most intriguing matchup for Linares is with a fighter that has yet to professionally compete at lightweight: Vasyl Lomachenko, who holds the WBO junior-lightweight belt and has an argument to call himself the best fighter in boxing, plans to move up to lightweight in 2017 if he cannot get any of the other 130 lb. champions to take him on in a unification bout.
Linares welcomes the fight: he recognizes the greatness of Lomachenko but believes he possesses the skills to emerge victorious if he does share the ring with the Ukrainian phenom.
"I know he’s a great fighter," Linares said. "He’s a southpaw, he’s very talented and fast but believe me – it isn’t impossible for me. I’m a smart fighter who is also very fast. It would be a very interesting fight."