Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks for the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN main event between Vasyl Lomachenko and Jorge Linares.
The Bloody Elbow staff unanimously agrees that while Jorge Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) is the reigning WBA lightweight champion, Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) will unseat him and win a major world title in his third different weight class. Lomachenko is a heavy favorite, but Linares is still a great fighter and this could be closer than we think it is.
Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jorge Linares
Mookie Alexander: This is such a fantastic fight. Yes, Lomachenko is a huge favorite, but that doesn’t mean that Linares isn’t any good. He’s a great, technically skilled boxer who has been unable to land that really big matchup, and now he’s got it. The big problem for him? He’s not got the greatest chin, and he cuts far too easily. That’s bad news against someone with the pinpoint accuracy of Lomachenko. He may not possess vicious power, and less so as he moves up in weight, but he’s constantly changing angles and attacking every which way that’s legally possible. Add in that Lomachenko is younger and has less wear-and-tear, and I think that after a competitive first couple of round, the Ukrainian pulls away and leaves Linares such a bloody mess that the doctors have to step in. Vasyl Lomachenko by TKO (cut), round 9.
Ram Gilboa: A lot has been written about the Ukrainian punching wonder. His movement, especially leading leg pivot, impeccable; it would have been revolutionary had other people been able to do it. And the Venezuelan is no joke, and can be a brilliant boxer at times, and is the naturally bigger man here. In the past Linares had some problems with big punchers, but Lomachenko is more of a “No Mas-chenko” threat, he stops his opponents by accumulation not with one or two big punches. So Linares can do this – but I don’t think he would. A very good coach who grew up boxing in the Soviet Union, and followed Lomachenko since his very early amateur days, told me he feels that the Ukrainian can be beaten: the elite can fight at the pace to beat him for a minute, or a minute and a half. But Lomachenko can do it like that for 10 rounds straight. So his opponents have to choose: Give it a minute and a half of your life and hope it’ll do it, you’ll knock him out – or just lay low and try to make it to the the final bell.
At this weight class and with his own unquestionable abilities, I think Linares will give Lomachenko a HELL of 4 or 5 rounds, but will eventually fade away and be stopped, somewhere in the championship rounds. Vasyl Lomachenko by TKO, round 11.
Fraser Coffeen: I wrote more extensively on this fight in our preview, but the short of it is Lomachenko is good. Like, he’s really, REALLY good. But here, he faces someone who may not be quite on his technical level, because literally not one single person on planet Earth is, but who is not so far off. That makes this a very compelling fight. Linares should have the goods to give Lomachenko pause at times, to perhaps even do the unthinkable and take some rounds. Win? No, not likely. Loma will be faster, he’ll have the better angles, and he will just be able to land more. I do see Linares’ skill allowing him to take it to the judges… but then again, everything we’re saying about Linares and this match-up is what we said about Guillermo Rigondeaux in Loma’s last fight, and he wiped the mat with his fellow Olympian. So the difference maker here is size. Does Linares’s size advantage get him more success? I think so, but I also wouldn’t be shocked to see him get No Mas’d. Vasyl Lomachenko, UD
Staff picking Lomachenko: Stephie, Nick, Ram, Mookie, Stephie, Fraser, Bissell
Staff picking Linares: