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Linares wants Lomachenko after Gesta fight

By Chris Williams: WBA World lightweight champion Jorge ‘Golden Boy’ Linares (43-3, 27 KOs) wants a fight against Vasyl ‘Hi-Tech’ Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) after he defends his title against #14 WBA Mercito ‘No Mercy’ Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs) next month on January 27 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.

Linares points out that Lomachenko ”doesn’t have power.” That’s pretty obvious though. Lomachenko is more of a volume puncher, who wins his fights by hitting his opponents and then getting out of the way of their return fire. A big part of Lomachenko’s wins nowadays is the showboating that he does in his fights. He learned the hard way that he doesn’t have the ability to stand and trade in a one on one type of fight.

Orlando Salido exposed Lomachenko’s lack of power in his win over him 3 years ago. Lomachenko was forced to change his style after that fight by becoming a pure boxer instead of a thrilling slugger like Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev. Lomachenko will never be a slugger unfortunately. He wins his fights by hitting his opponents with weak shots while attempting to demoralize them by clowning them to make them look bad in front of the boxing fans.

If the 29-year-old 2-time Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko is ready to stop talking about moving up to lightweight and actually do it, Linares would be more than happy to defend his World Boxing Association 135 lb. title against him. Lomachenko has been talking about wanting to move up to lightweight for ages, but he just can’t seem to get himself to make the move for some reason.

You can argue that Lomachenko is worried about what could happen to him when he moves up in weight and starts facing more talented fighters with better punching power than the limited guys that he’s been fed by his promoters a Top Rank since he turned pro in 2013.

Top Rank has put Lomachenko in with 1 good fighter in Orlando Salido, and he beat him in 2014. The rest of the guys Lomachenko has been fed have been plodders, fighters coming off long layoffs or guys that had to move up 2 weight classes in order to fight him. We that recently with super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux moving up 2 weight divisions to fight Lomachenko at super featherweight on December 9. There was no catch-weight for that fight. Rigondeaux had to move up 2 weight classes just to get the fight with Lomachenko. It was pretty sad to see.

“After M. Gesta, I can see you @VasylLomachenko #TeamLinares,” said Linares.

Former Top Rank fighter Gesta, 30, is expected to be easy work for Linares next month. Despite having a flashy 31-1-2 record, Gesta is just a stay busy fight for Linares, and not considered a real threat to beating him. Gesta has been padding his record with wins over soft opponents for most of his 14-year pro career. Gesta stepped up against an A-level fighter 5 years ago in facing former IBF World lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez and he was subsequently easily beaten by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision on December 8, 2012.

It’s been nothing but soft opposition since then for Gesta, who has spent the last 5 years of his career facing tune-up level opponents. This is one reason why the sanctioning bodies haven’t pushed Gesta up high in their rankings. Gesta hasn’t lost a fight in 5 years, but he’s also not fought anyone good. Gesta and Carlos Molina fought to a 10 round draw on April 30, 2015. That obviously didn’t help Gesta. This is not the former WBA junior middleweight champion Carlos Molina. This is the Molina that Amir Khan and Adrien Broner easily beat. They share the same name, but they’re vastly different fighters.

“I like that fight, Lomachenko is a good fighter. I have a lot of respect for him but it’s not a difficult fight for me,” Linares said to Tha Boxing Voice. “Because we’re very similar. He has good legs, very fast and quick but he doesn’t have power. I like that style, maybe it’s better for me. He’s an Olympian, it’s a different style. Not a professional style but it’s good if he came to lightweight. I’d stay at lightweight for this fight. It would be an amazing fight for next year.”

I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Lomachenko to move up and face him at lightweight if I were Linares. Even if Lomachenko wants that fight to get made, I don’t see his promoters at Top Rank making that fight. You have to understand that Top Rank is trying to turn Lomachenko into a major PPV star. He already got beat by Salido when they made the mistake of matching him against the Mexican warrior. Top Rank isn’t going to make a second mistake, especially with their boss Bob Arum comparing Lomachenko to Muhammad Ali. Linares might expose Lomachenko, and that would make Arum look a little silly with his Ali comparisons for Lomachenko. There are fighters that you can rightfully compare Lomachenlo to, but Ali isn’t one of them.

Linares would be better off not stalling his career while waiting on a fight against Lomachenko. Look at Mikey Garcia. He briefly got excited about the prospects of a fight with Lomachenko in 2016. Once he realized that Lomachenko has no intention of moving up to lightweight to fight him, Mikey moved on. Linares should do the same thing. Lomachenko is expected to move up in weight sooner or later, but the talk is that he’ll fight one of the Top Rank guys for the WBO lightweight title against the winner of the Ray Beltran vs. Paulus Moses fight. If Lomachenko can win the WBO lightweight title, it would make for the 6th weight class in which a Top Rank fighter has the World Boxing Organization title in their possession. Top Rank currently has their champions holding the following WBO belts:

1. Gilberto ‘Zurdo Ramirez – WBO Super middleweight title

2. Jeff Horn – WBO welterweight title

3. WBO lightweight title about to be fought over by Top Rank promoted Ray Beltran against Paulus Moses. If Lomachenko beats the winner of that fight, then Arum’s promotional company will have that belt as well.

4. Vasyl Lomachenko – WBO super featherweight title

5. Oscar Valdez – WBO featherweight title

6. Jessie Magdaleno – WBO super bantamweight title

The WBO light welterweight title was recently vacated by the Top Rank promoted Terence Crawford.

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