One body shot in the 10th round at Madison Square Garden Saturday night and Vasiliy Lomachenko secured his spot in boxing history. He possibly also secured the number one spot in that discussion of pound-to-pound as the best and Jorge Linares will offer no argument about that.
Linares was bigger, possibly stronger as the champion coming in. “Loma” as he is known was better and became the youngest fighter with the fewest fights to win titles in three weight divisions adding the WBA Lightweight title. There could be more and Lomachenko is the one to answer that.
He does not have the body of eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao and perhaps that record will not be surpassed because the sport has changed like everything else. Though this fighter could move up a few notches and challenge the elite in that weight class at 147, and it was his 12th professional fight that will be the talk for years to come.
There was that sixth round knockdown, a tight hand from Linares and that could have been expected as this was the toughest challenge but Lomachenko is not used to going down and he got right back up to etch his name in boxing history. They cheered “Loma-Loma” most of the 10,249 in the main arena at Madison Square Garden and the champion responded.
He gave fans a great fight, possibly “ Fight of The Year” when all is said and done. This was a fight that lived up to expectations and one judge at ringside had it even prior to the stoppage. One judge had it for “Loma” 86-84 and another the same score for Linares. It could have been even as this columnist had it.
Regardless, Lomachenko made it easier with a quick punch. He is a fan favorite and a fighter that is so much a technician as the many who have their names etched in boxing history on the walls at the Boxing Hall of Fame up in Canastota New York.
“I thought the fight showed Linares is a helluva fighter and Loma just stayed in there and knocked him out with a body shot,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “He established himself as a great fighter. He has a fighting heart.”
And Lomachenko, who has made New York another home for his fights, also placed a smile on the face of Arum. The longtime promoter of champions knew when he signed the record breaking champion as an Olympian, that he had a superstar that would establish records and do it quickly.
Now it is the question of where does “Loma” go from here? Arum said his champion will return on a Top Rank ESPN card on August 25th in Inglewood California and try and unify the titles against Ray Beltran. If so, that is another accomplishment.
But the major accomplishment was getting another title at Madison Square Garden Saturday night and at 30 years of age, “Loma” has plenty more time to establish more records in the sport.
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