By: Hans Themistode
Former three division world champion Jorge Linares knows what it feels like to be considered one of the best fighters in the world. But he also knows what it feels like to share the ring with who many consider to be at the top of that list in Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Outside of the lone loss of his career against Orlando Salido, Linares gave Lomachenko everything he could handle back in 2018. Even dropping the unified champion during the mid portion of the contest. Unfortunately for Linares though, after said knockdown, he was out boxed and stopped in the tenth round.
At the moment, it’s safe to say that the Lightweight division is one of the most stacked in all of boxing. With fighters such as Devin Haney, Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz the deck is stacked against Lomachenko. With that being said however, none of those aforementioned fighters can hold a candle to the unified champion. At least, according to Linares.
“We can see they have a lot of good boxers in lightweight,” said Linares on the Ak and Barak show. “But, you know, I was fighting with Lomachenko. He’s still the best at lightweight. But, you know, he has a big, tough opponent next. It’s Teofimo Lopez, right? So, Teofimo Lopez is a good fighter, too.”
Over the past few years, Lomachenko has found his name on just about everyone’s hit list. But current IBF titlist Teofimo Lopez is the next man up. He earned the biggest fight of his career with a second round highlight reel knockout over former champion Richard Commey.
Whenever Lomachenko has stepped foot inside of a ring, he was viewed as an overwhelming favorite. With two gold medals, world titles in three weight classes and 396 wins with only one defeat in the amateurs and it’s easy to see why. But in the case of Lopez, there are plenty who are giving the 22 year old a shot to pull off the upset.
Linares, though, is incredulous to that statement and the chances of Lopez in that contest.
“I don’t think so,” Linares said. “Lomachenko is different right now. After my fight, Lomachenko changed so much, right? So much, but he’s still the best, for me.”