Linares Looks To Halt Lomachenko At MSG
Vasyl Lomachenko is one day away from his third world title in as many divisions, as he faces Jorge Linares on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
Riding high off his his December trouncing of Guillermo Rigondeaux at the Hulu Theater inside the “Mecca of boxing,” Lomachenko know faces Linares who refuses to throw in the towel against “No-Mas-Chenko.”
“I will never do that, I will never give up,” he said. “People always talk about and heap praise on Lomachenko because all of his opponents abandon (the fight), Linares said this week to FOX Sports.
“I’m not a boxer who abandons (a fight).”
Lomachenko, who looks to add the WBA Super World Lightweight title to his WBO super featherweight crown, was looking for a challenge immediately after Rigondeaux conceded their 2017 clash.
“I always want a challenge — always,” Lomachenko said to FOX Sports.
“At 130 (pounds) we can’t organize a top fight with a champion. Then (Bob Arum) asked about if I want to move to 135 against Jorge Linares. After two seconds I said, ‘Of course I can. I can and I am ready.’”
And while this was Lomachenko’s goal, this fight nearly never came to pass. The hangup from the very beginning was the timing of the event, as Top Rank had already booked Madison Square Garden for a May 12th ESPN event.
This was the fight Linares wanted, a true challenge against a fighter who either forced a stoppage or a knockout in his last seven fights, and has not seen a scorecard since 2014. There was a problem though, Linares’ promoters at Golden Boy were concerned with the timing due to Sadam Ali’s first title defense airing on HBO the same evening, as well as the replay of the scheduled replay of the Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez rematch.
And while the GGG-Canelo rematch would be postponed due to Alvarez’ suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, both sides would bridge the divide and get this fight done for May 12th at MSG.
Now with the politics and programming concerns put to the side, Linares looks to beat the fighter who stands in his way of a fight with Mikey Garcia. For all of Lomachenko’s accomplishments and abilities, Linares considers the Ukrainian knockout artist an “easier opponent” for him than Garcia.
With that withstanding, Saturday night at the Garden will be a life changing fight for the Venezuelan star, who told ESPN that, “when I win this fight, everything in my life, everything in my career, is different.”
Jorge Linares and Vasyl Lomachenko battle for the WBA Super World lightweight championship on May 12th on ESPN/ESPN+.
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