Vasiliy Lomachenko Takes The Lightweight Crown: Lomachenko stops Jorge Linares in 10
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: May 13, 2018
Madison Square Garden is known as “The Mecca” for a reason. There is a sense of magic or something special in the air in the arena. For those that were disappointed in the cancellation of the rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, Linares-Lomachenko more than made up for it. Fans in the arena and on television witnessed a battle similar to the series of fights between James Toney and Mike McCallum in the early 1990’s where a high level of technical skill and action was on display. The lightweight championship bout between Jorge Linares and Vasiliy Lomachenko lived up to and exceeded the hype.
The arena was not packed to the rafters, but it did not matter as chants of “Loma” begin reigning throughout the arena. When the first bell rang to start the bout, it was clear that it would not be an easy night for Lomachenko. The early rounds were nip and tuck with a slight edge for the Ukrainian. The momentum of the bout changed in the fourth round when Lomachenko decided to increase his volume. The Ukrainian began landing left hooks, right hands, and uppercuts on Linares. The bout started to look like a typical Lomachenko fight with him overwhelming his opponent. Then Linares landed a perfectly timed right hand that put Lomachenko on the seat of his pants. The two-time Olympic gold medalist was hurt and was fortunate that the punch landed towards the end of the round.
The next few rounds were close with Linares’ fast hands and combination punching having an adverse effect on Lomachenko. By the tenth round, Lomachenko began to walk down Linares and in a combination landed a devastating body shot that put Linares down. The Venezuelan rose to his feet, and the referee put a halt to the bout. Lomachenko is now the WBA and Ring Magazine lightweight champion.
The judges scoring the bout indicated how tightly contested the fight was. All three judges had different scorecards. One judge scored for Lomachenko, one for Linares and the last judge had the bout a draw before the tenth round. With the victory, Lomachenko becomes the first boxer in history to win titles in three separate weight classes with the fewest amounts of fights (12). Former six-division champion Oscar De La Hoya won titles in three divisions in 22 professional bouts. The two premier fights of the last era Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao won titles in three divisions in their 34th and 41st bouts.
The manner in which Lomachenko defeated Linares by facing adversity against an experienced top fighter laid further claim to those who believe he is the best fighter in the world with just 12 bouts under his belt. Linares may have lost his title to Lomachenko, however; he showed a level of skill that will allow him to return for significant fights in the future.
On the televised undercard the Dominican Republic’s Carlos Adames (14-0, 11 KOs) made his debut under the Top Rank banner with a rough hard-fought decision over Mexico’s Alejandro Barrera (27-5, 17 KOs). Barrera made it clear that he was not there to lie down for Adames. The Dominican fighter landed cleanly on Barrera in almost every round, but never waivered the Mexican’s confidence who in the later rounds began to push Adames back while unloading combinations. Unfortunately for Barrera, he was never able to hurt Adames. The judges ended up giving Adames a unanimous decision victory with scores of 97-93, 98-92 and 96-94. Adames currently fights in the welterweight division. However, his size indicates that a move up to 154 could be in his future.
Ireland’s Michael Conlan (7-0, 5 KOs) was featured on the undercard winning a listless unanimous decision over Spain’s Ibon Larrinaga (10-2, 2 KOs). Conlan worked the body while landing a sweeping right hand throughout all eight rounds. Conlan’s performance was not particularly impressive. However, the young Irish fighter seemed to have no problem going the full eight-round distance. The judges awarded Conlan the clear unanimous decision with scores of 80-72 from all three judges.
On the untelevised undercard, former Olympian Mikaela Mayer (6-0, 4 KOs) went the full six-round distance against New Zealand’s Baby Nansen (6-3-1, 0 KOs). Mayer was able to showcase her right hand throughout the bout landing it with frequent regularity. The judges awarded Mayer with a wide unanimous decision victory with scores of 60-54 from all three judges.
Also on the undercard was 2016 Olympian Brooklyn native Teofimo Lopez (9-0, 7 KOs) who made quick work of Brazil’s Vitor Frietas (13-2, 7 KOs) by stopping him in the first round with the first right hand that landed. The punch landed behind the ear causing Frietas to be unable to gather his balance. Frietas had former 130-pound champion Acelino Frietas in his corner to no avail. Lopez will continue to climb the ranks in the lightweight division and is someone to keep an eye on in the near future. A title shot opportunity may be coming sooner than expected for the young fighter.
(Featured Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)