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Lomachenko vs Linares: Negotiations hit a wall over date

A proposed May 12 date doesn’t work for Golden Boy, and talks for the big fight have come to a standstill.

Vasyl Lomachenko v Guillermo Rigondeaux Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

According to a report at ESPN, the proposed fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Jorge Linares is looking like a no-go, at least for now, even though both fighters want the bout.

The problem hinges on the dates available. Linares (44-3, 27 KO) is co-promoted by Teiken in Japan and Golden Boy Promotions, and although Teiken and Top Rank, the promoters for Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KO), were able to easily reach financial terms and agree on a May 12 date, that doesn’t work for Golden Boy.

In short, Golden Boy has a lot going on around that time. They have the Canelo-GGG II pay-per-view on May 5 with HBO, and are holding the May 12 date on HBO for a possible Sadam Ali return to action.

That means they wouldn’t want to split that audience with one on ESPN for Lomachenko-Linares, which is, as frustrating as it may be, pretty understandable.

Top Rank also proposed an April 28 date, but HBO is running that night, too, with Daiel Jacobs, and they’ll be using that date to promote the next weekend’s pay-per-view. Plus, Teiken says Linares, who suffered some minor injuries in his last fight, won’t be quite 100 percent until May. And facing someone like Lomachenko, you understand their desire to make sure Linares is in the best possible shape.

Now, could the fight be moved back? Hey, you’d think, but Top Rank is looking at May 12 for Lomachenko, period, with a fight at Madison Square Garden.

Golden Boy’s Eric Gomez says that HBO would be happy to buy Lomachenko-Linares for May 12; however, Top Rank is committed to their deal with ESPN, and Todd duBoef says that’s simply not going to happen, as they get bigger numbers on ESPN.

So we’re at a brick wall here, and it looks like this fight many of us really wanted to see won’t be happening. Maybe we can get it later this year, when there aren’t a bunch of conflicting dates, or maybe the dates are just an excuse for all these people to get difficult with each other again.

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