The well anticipated fight at the lightweight division is slowly approaching and many fans are excited about Vasyl Lomachenko and Jorge Linares stepping into the ring on Saturday night at the Madison Square Garden.
The multi-division champion Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) will attempt to win a title in a third weight class as he takes on Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) who is the WBA “super” champion in the lightweight division. This fight will be broadcasted live on ESPN. Many consider Lomachanko as one of the best fighters in the sport, but he has a tough task ahead with Linares as he has also been a multi-division champion himself and has been a pro for 16 years. Lomachenko feels that he is ready even though he is unsure on how things will play out.
“I want to thank Linares for taking this challenge. Saturday night, it’s going to be a good bout, and we’re going to find out who is the best,” Lomachenko stated at the press conference on Thursday. “The way this bout is going to go… who knows? It’s boxing. It’s going to be a fight, and after that, we’re going to see.”
Jorge Linares has been through a hot streak in the ring, winning 13 fights in a row over a span of almost six years. His latest win was in Inglewood as he got a clear decision win over Mercito Gesta. Not only is he the WBA “super” champion, he is recognized as the lightweight champion by Ring Magazine and the diamond champion by the WBC. He is looking forward to this fight just as much as Lomachenko is.
“I’ve been working hard for the last few fights preparing for this fight,” remarked Linares. “I knew Lomachenko wanted it. I wanted it. So I was very confident that Golden Boy, Teiken and Top Rank were going to get it done.”
Linares feels that his previous opponents were getting him ready for a fight of this magnitude. “The last two opponents I faced were southpaws. Purposely. I was preparing psychologically and physically to fight Vasiliy Lomachenko. I’ve had him on my radar.”
Bob Arum, the figurehead of Top Rank Boxing, wanted to make this fight to have Lomachenko take on another challenge of sorts. However, he feels that it is necessary for Vasyl to be considered one of the best not just in the present, but all time.
“It’s a challenge, but that’s what makes a fighter one of the all-time greats…challenges,” Arum said. “(Lomachenko) was great at 126. He devastated everybody at 130. Now, he’s moving up to 135, and people say, ‘Is this a bridge too far?’ His father (Anatoly Lomachenko), who is a great trainer says, ‘No this isn’t a bridge too far.’ And we’re going to see on Saturday. That’s what boxing is all about.”
In the co-feature bout, undefeated welterweight Carlos Adames (13-0, 11 KOs) will take on veteran Alejendro Barrera (29-4, 18 KOs) as Adames will be making his debut under the Top Rank banner. He will be having his first bout in the United States since 2015. Coming from the Dominican Republic, Adames had a very good amateur career which included winning gold at the Pan American Youth Championships and the Youth National Championships in his country. In July of last year, he scored a unanimous decision win over former world champion Carlos Molina.
Adames knows that Barrera may be a tough customer, but he feels ready to fight. “I know Barrera is a Mexican warrior, but he is going to face a fighter who is ready to do whatever he needs to do to win,” Adames said.
“I’m expecting the support from my people. I am not just any Dominican fighter. I’m going to fly the flag high and represent my people.”
As a response, Alejendro Barrera thinks that this is a step up for him and that he need to take advantage of it.
“This is a great opportunity for me. This is a great card, and I am ready for whatever he brings,” Barrera said.
Also included in this fight card is 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Mick Conlan fighting Ibon Larrinaga, Teofimo Lopez against Vito Jones Freitas, Mikaela Mayer against Baby Nansen, and Jamel Herring makes his debut with Top Rank taking on veteran Juan Pablo Sanchez.
Cover photo by Mikey Williams of Top Rank