In what Top Rank Promotions is calling “a battle of two of the world’s pound-for-pound best,” Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1) will move up to attempt to gain a title in his third weight division by facing WBA lightweight champ Jorge Linares (44-3). The bout, which will go down at New York’s Madison Square Garden, will be aired live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes on May12th. The card will also be aired live via the ESPN app.
The official announcement of Lomachenko-Linares represents a cross promotional success story. “This demonstrates that promoters and networks, when they work together for the good of everyone, can accomplish so very much,” says promoter Bob Arum. Linares is part of Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy stable. Lomachenko, on the other hand, is represented by Arum’s Top Rank Promotions.
“Jorge has established himself as the world’s best lightweight by taking on any and all comers over his storied career,” De La Hoya claims, “but a win on May 12 would put him on an entirely different level.” Lomachenko was an iconic Olympian who some feel is already the pound for pound best professional boxer in the world.
“We fully understand that Lomachenko is universally seen as the best fighter on the planet,” De La Hoya concedes, “but he’s never faced anyone with the size and skill of Jorge, and I am confident that he will retain his WBA and Ring Magazine world championships. As this fight makes clear, I’m 100 percent committed to giving fans the fights they want to see and will work with anyone to accomplish that goal.”
Linares himself appears quite confident heading into the matchup. “Not only will I demonstrate why I’m the best lightweight in the world,” he claims, “but also that I’m one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. I have the speed, skill and power to win this battle. This May 12, Vasiliy Lomachenko will bow down to ‘King’ Jorge.”
Such a feat may be a tall order. Lomachenko now has a history for himself of making top level opponents quit on their stools, an unlikely feat which has earned him the nickname “No Mas-Chenko,” a nod to the famous 1980 Ray Leonard-Roberto Duran rematch, a bout which saw Duran inexplicably quit in the 8th round.
“We are very excited about the fight,” says Lomachenko. “It should be a great one. Fans from around the world have been waiting for Jorge and me to fight.” The 30 year old also claims he’s happy about the fight’s location. “I am looking forward to May 12 in New York to make my debut in the big arena at Madison Square Garden,” he claims.