On this day...Vasiliy Lomachenko made history

Vasiliy Lomachenko was a legend prior to his tenth-round technical knockout win over Jorge Linares to become the fastest male boxer to win three world titles in three different divisions, as he captured the WBA lightweight world title from Linares. 

Though it was presented on ESPN in primetime, the bout felt like a pay-per-view atmosphere as 10,429 fans filled Madison Square Garden, in New York City, New York to watch history get made. 

Though many will remember Lomachenko winning a world title in his third fight against Gary Russell Jr., one could make a valid case that a historic and recording-setting win against Linares might be his crowning achievement as a professional. 

Loma’s Moment of Glory

The lightweight division was not what is now. At that time, Lomachenko moved up to lightweight to pursue yet another world title, and the most notable world champion was Linares, who he targeted. 

Lomachenko would have to show some resolve in this bout that he hadn’t in prior bouts, as he got off the deck in round six, to rally back and stop Linares in round ten. At the time of the stoppage, Linares was ahead on one card, Lomachenko was ahead on one card, and one judge had it a draw. It was seen by many as the best fight of the year, and will forever enshrine the legacy of Lomachenko. 

In Lomachenko’s prime, he was so good - seeing him fight at a weight class in which he didn’t have a physical disadvantage felt by most astute viewers as a mismatch. To seemingly keep Lomachenko interested, and the fans as well Lomachenko pursued the toughest challenges and biggest opponents he could. 

After this fight, Lomachenko would do the heavy lifting for the current status of the lightweight division, as he would defeat Jose Pedraza for the WBO lightweight world title, and Luke Campbell in the U.K. for the vacant WBC lightweight title. He would fail in his effort to become undisputed as he lost a unanimous decision to Teofimo Lopez in 2020.

Lomachenko has since won three bouts against Masayoshi Nakatani, Richard Commey, and Jamaine Ortiz, as he will now make his second attempt to become the undisputed lightweight champion when he faces Devin Haney for the title, on May 20th, 2023, on ESPN+ pay-per-view.

The Last Bit Of Linares

Jorge Linares occupies a weird space in boxing history. The word most used for Linares is a ‘word of mouth’ guy, something that the internet has seemingly ruined. Linares was someone from whether it was sparring stories, or stories you heard on his come-up, that he felt like the next legend. 

It was never his heart that failed him, as he got dropped multiple times throughout his career, he was simply unable to fight through adversity from cuts to being stopped as six of eight losses came by knockout. 

The Lomachenko marked the end of Linares' revival. Someone HBO Boxing invested in early but never got to where he had hoped, Linares would make six title defenses of his WBC lightweight belt, along with unifying world title as he became the WBA lightweight world champion when he defeated Anthony Crolla in 2017. Linares would make three defenses of the unified world titles, including a rematch with Crolla. 

After losing to Lomachenko, it was a steady downward trajectory, as Linares two fights later attempt to move up to junior welterweight just to get stopped in one round by Pablo Cesar Cano. In 2021, Linares lost a competitive decision to Devin Haney, but seemingly couldn’t let his hands go, and in 2022 Linares was stopped by Zaur Abdullaev and outpointed by Zhora Hamazaryan.


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