Loma or Linares



Back to the Future: Vasyl Lomachenko or Jorge Linares?


By Derek Smith


Vasyl Lomachenko or Jorge Linares who wins?


In the movie business, it's the next big star, in the world of pop music, it's the next big thing.  In the fashion world, it's the trend of the season, and in the world of sports … the latest is the greatest.  Steph is greater than LeBron, who eclipses Kobe, who compares favorably to Jordan, etc. 


In the world of boxing we have the components and structure which we can call the boxing industry.  Unlike the basketball industry, the tennis industry, and the golf industry, the boxing industry doesn't make tons of money on peripherals like clothing, shoes, equipment, lessons and summer camps.  The boxing industry is a world of promoters and sanctioning bodies.  A world of athletic commissions, and claustrophobic gyms with no A.C. hotel ballrooms, award ceremonies, and press conferences with scripted confrontations.  Boxing is also cable TV and pay-per-view outlets; power players with deep pockets and an opinion altering influence.  Power players who can convince a large segment of the sporting public that, "Yes, he is greater than Sugar Ray, he is the next Ali." 


With the flagship of boxing, the heavyweight championship,  languishing in the dark and dreary, promoters find themselves in the unenviable position of dealing with the uncertainty of life, that is life after Mayweather, Ward, Marquez, and Cotto.  Manny is a question mark. 


High Tech

Enter Vasyl “High Tech” Lomachenko, the charismatic junior lightweight champion, who has been proclaimed by the spokesperson of at least one cable network as, "the greatest boxer that I've ever seen." An enthusiastic statement tempered by the logic it represents: A toxic logic that Lomachenko projects an image that will give boxing a much needed shot in the arm; an eastern European who fights in a flashy style, and can throw all the punches, in varying combinations, at warp speed; a dancing master from the Ukraine. Harlem is gentrified once again and all the boxing scribes jump aboard the A-train, and head downtown toward the Garden chanting, "The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming."


Nino de Oro

His opponent in this star-is-born moment will be lightweight champ Jorge “Nino de Oro” Linares, a three- time world champion at featherweight, super featherweight, and lightweight. Linares is a veteran of 46 fights with only three losses and 27 KOs. A fighter with fast hands and a more than capable punch, Linares looks to be a litmus test for Loma. The variable being Lomachenko's southpaw style. Lomachenko's lack of professional experience (10-1, 8KOs) makes the x-factor a real factor, as does Linares lack of experience against quality southpaws. His defining southpaw moment was being stopped by lefty Antonio DeMarco 10 years ago. The Venezuelan is a for real champ though. He can box, he can rumble, and he can get off the deck and win. In his recent fight at The Forum in L.A., he fought a good fight against game southpaw Mercito Gesta, winning a unanimous decision. Gesta isn't ranked among the division's elite, and Linares didn't look unbeatable. 


Box or rumble

Loma's red flag moment was watching him lose a split decision and almost drown in his second pro fight with experienced journeyman Orlando Salido. It's a given that he can box with Linares, but can he rumble with him? 


Sometimes big match-ups are reduced to the basic element of who can take whose stuff the best.  It doesn't seem to be the best course of action for Loma to stand in front of Linares, and play slip and counter, nor does it seem wise for Linares to get into a tactical boxing match with the Ukrainian stylist.  It could become the bull vs. the matador in a game of speed chess, and we all know in that scenario the bull doesn't process information fast enough, and walks into one.


Both fighters possess exceptional jabs, and the early rounds may become a contest of such, with Linares trying to neutralize Lomachenko's mobility by keeping him in front of him.  Lomanchenko will try to keep Linares turning in order to neutralize his left jab so his own right jab can prevail.  Linares' body attack and his ability to cut off the ring will have Loma taking that extra step in order to keep from getting cornered.  This should pay dividends by mid- fight and that's when the real fight will begin.  The pace will slow down and Lomachenko will have no choice but to fight his way off the ropes, or out of a corner.  Linares being bigger, stronger, and probably five or six pounds heavier by fight time, will have a decided advantage.


Lomachenko, a slickster like Pacquiao, is very adept at slipping and sliding to the side and hitting an opponent with a hard counter shot that he doesn't see coming.  There will be dangerous moments for both fighters, but experience will prevail and it is the general consensus at Uppercut that Linares will win either by a late round stoppage or a unanimous decision.