Arum says Lomachenko-Linares will happen on May 12 if ESPN shifts game
By Chris Williams: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says it’s up to ESPN whether the May 12th fight between WBA World lightweight champion Jorge Linares and Vasyl Lomachenko can take place on that date. ESPN will need to move a women’s SEC softball game that is in the time slot that Arum needs for the Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) vs. Linares fight, according to Lance Pugmire of the LA Times.
It’s not possible for Arum to schedule the Linares-Lomachenko fight later in the evening on the 12th of May, because it’ll conflict with the Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin replay on HBO. Golden Boy, the promoters of Linares (44-3, 27 KOs), are fine with letting him fight Lomachenko earlier in the evening on May 12th, but the fight must take place before the end of the Canelo-GGG 2 replay.
It can’t run at the same time, as it would mean fewer boxing fans would be tuning to watch it. Not surprisingly, Golden Boy doesn’t want to compete with themselves by having Linares fight Lomachenko on ESPN at the same time the Canelo vs. Golovkin 2 replay takes place on HBO.
”Bob Arum tells me the Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jorge Linares will happen if ESPN shifts a SEC women’s softball game. Card would start at 5 pm Pacific May 12,” Lance Pugmire said on his Twitter.
Women’s softball is more popular than one would think. ESPN might not want to shift the time they televise the game, as it’s sure to bring in some decent ratings in the U.S. Personally, doubt that a boxing match between Lomachenko and Linares has enough importance in terms of viewer numbers to supplant women’s softball. If ESPN can’t move the softball game time, then Arum will need to reschedule the Lomachenko vs. Linares fight for a different date.
Arum isn’t likely to give up the May 12th date. So, instead of Lomachenko fighting Linares on May 12th, the Ukrainian will probably stay on that date and face fellow Top Rank fighter Raymundo Beltran for his newly captured WBO lightweight title. Beltran is Arum’s Plan-B option for Lomachenko if he can’t get the fight with Linares.
If Lomachenko and Beltran wind up facing each other on May 12th, Arum will likely have that fight take place on ESPN at the same time as the Canelo-Golovkin 2 replay on HBO Boxing. It won’t be good for Linares and Beltran that they’ll be competing with the Canelo vs. Golovkin replay, because it means their ratings will take a major hit. Instead of Lomachenko being seen by a lot of fans on May 12th, his fight with Beltran will probably bring in dismal numbers.
There aren’t too many fans that are to be excited about watching Lomachenko fight the 37-year-old Beltran in the first place. That’s a terrible fight. But for Lomachenko-Beltran to be competing with the Canelo-Gennady 2 replay, it’s a rotten idea. It’s bad for Lomachenko, because he’s got a lackluster opponent in Beltran and the fans will be watching Canelo and Golovkin fight on HBO. There’s no reason for the fans to tune in to ESPN to watch Lomachenko beating up Beltran.