Jorge Linares vs. Vasyl Lomachenko – Weigh-in results
By Chris Williams: WBA World lightweight champion Jorge Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) weighed in at 134.6 lbs. for his title defense on Saturday against former 2-weight world title holder Vasyl ‘Hi-Tech’ Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) for their fight on Top Rank Boxing at Madison Square Garden in New York. Lomachenko weighed in at 134.6 lbs. at well.
This is the moment of truth for both fighters. Linares has wanted a big signature win on his resume, and he now has the opportunity to pick that win up provided he can get past that crafty Lomachenko. If Linares can win this fight, he’s going to raise his stock considerably and take his career to the next level. Linares has had some problems over the years with his defeats to Antonio DeMarco, Sergio Thompson and Juan Carlos Salgado.
For the most part, when Linares has lost in the past, it’s been where he’s gotten jumped on early by Salgado and Thompson and quickly knocked out. Once Linares has gotten out of the early rounds in one piece, he’s often been able to cruise to victory.
In Linares’ loss to DeMarco in October 2011, he suffered a bad cut in the fight that led to him struggling and getting stopped in the 11th round. Linares has turned things around since his loss to Thompson in 2012, and won his last 13 fights in the past six years. It’s not easy to win for 6 consecutive years when you’re consistently fighting the best as Linares has done.
“I always said I wanted to make history and I know it would be another record if I win this title in my 12th fight,” Lomachenko said to ESPN.com. “I am very happy and capable of doing what I was planning to do and what I wanted to do when I turned pro.”
Lomachenko winning a third division world title in his 12th fight is certainly admirable, but it shows how his promoters at Top Rank have been able to open doors for him that other fighters normally have closed. Lomachenko wanted to fight for a world title in his very first fight as a pro, but that was impossible. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum was able to get Lomachenko a world title fight in his second pro fight, which showed how much power the promotional company has.
Obviously there have been other fighters that have come along in the sport that could have won three or even four division world titles in the same amount of fights if they had been given the opportunity to fight for that many titles, and if their promoters weren’t holding them back by refusing to put them in against better opposition.
Lomachenko has had the ideal situation with his promoters letting him take on the best fighters from day one, and then using their promotional muscle to put him in against the top guys. It’s been four years since Lomachenko won his first division world title in beating Gary Russell Jr. by a 12 round majority decision to capture the vacant World Boxing Organization World featherweight title in June 2014.
On his first try for that belt, Lomachenko was beaten by Orlando Salido by a 12 round split decision in March 2014. Lomachenko did a lot better against Russell Jr. by using movement after struggling with his hand speed in the first six rounds. Two years later, Lomachenko won his second division world title in beating WBO World super featherweight champion Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez by a 5th round knockout on June 11, 2016. Two years have passed by since that fight, and now Lomachenko is poised to win his third division world title against Linares. If successful, we could see Lomachenko eventually move up to 140 to fight for one of the belts in that weight class. A likely option for Lomachenko when he makes that move is the Top Rank promoted WBC light welterweight champion Jose Carlos Ramirez, if he’s not beaten first by WBC interim 140lb champion Regis Prograis.
The highly decorated Lomachenko with his two Olympic gold medals for Ukraine in 2008 and 2012 and 396-1 amateur record will be looking to win his third division world title against the 32-year-old Linares on Saturday night. Lomachenko, 30, is one of the best amateurs of all time, but I don’t know if you can call him the greatest of all time [GOAT] as an amateur, because there have been some very good ones that were ahead of their time like Cassius Clay, Felix Savon and Teofilo Stevenson. Lomachenko has been a pro since 2013, and he has big wins over Guillermo Rigondeaux, Gary Russell Jr., Nicholas Walters, and Jason Sosa.
”I think already half of my pro career is over and I am very happy with what I have achieved but I didn’t have a plan right in the beginning for the long run,” Lomachenko said. ”My plan was to become a champion as soon as I could and the rest of it has just come. This part wasn’t planned.”
It would have helped if Lomachenko had fought one of the better super featherweight champions in WBC champion Miguel Berchelt. That would have shown the boxing world whether he could handle another Mexican body puncher after he failed against Orlando Salido in 2013.
Lomachenko has been a pro only five years. It’s likely that that he has more than five years left in his career, because that would put him at only 35. Depending on weight class he’s fighting at when he reaches that age, he could still be successful. Obviously, it’s going to be a lot tougher on Lomachenko if he moves up to 140 and 147.
If Lomachenko intends on camping permanently in one of those weight classes, it might be difficult for him to have long term success unless Top Rank is reluctant to match him against the other fighters from outside their promotion. Thus far, Top Rank has been willing to match Lomachenko against other fighters promoted by outside promoters, but whether they’ll continue to do that if he move up to 140 or 147 remains a question that will have to be answered later when/if he moves up.
In other weights on the card:
Carlos Adames 149.8 vs. Alejandro Barrera 149.4
Michael Conlan 126.8 vs. Ibon Larrinaga 126.4
Teofimo Lopez 135.8 vs. Vitor Freitas 135.4
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov 140.6 vs. Jesus Silveira 141.2
Jamel Herring 132.4 vs. Juan Pablo Sanchez 133
Mikaela Mayer 131.6 vs. Baby Nansen 131