Unlike other recent foes of Vasyl Lomachenko, Jorge Linares wasn’t flat outclassed. He wasn’t forced to quit on his stool, wasn’t so broken down mentally that he gave up on the fight.
But he got stopped all the same, and Lomachenko claimed the WBA “world” lightweight title via 10th round TKO tonight at Madison Square Garden, live on ESPN.
Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KO) had to come off the canvas himself, as Linares (44-4, 27 KO) dropped him late in the sixth round with a beautiful right hand that found Lomachenko making a rare mistake of overconfidence, stepping into a perfect rocket and finding himself on his seat as a result.
Lomachenko, though, proved there’s more than just pure dominance to his game, as he gamely came back from that well, not letting Linares develop any major rhythm as a result, though Linares did fight well and did give him a real contest for the first time in a while.
BLH had the fight 86-84 for Lomachenko at the time of stoppage. Official scores at the time of the stoppage were 85-85, 86-84 Linares, and 86-84 Lomachenko.
The stoppage came when Lomachenko cracked Linares to the liver, putting him down suddenly. Linares, to his credit, got back to his feet, but looked physically done, and the referee observed that, stopping the fight at 2:08 of the 10th round.
What Lomachenko does next is up in the air. There’s money in a fight with Mikey Garcia at 135, but Garcia is busy in July, it appears, unifying with Robert Easter, and that one could be tough to put together given Garcia’s icy relationship with his former promoter, Top Rank. If Easter were to beat Garcia, that could be a potential option. And there is, perhaps, going to be some call for a rematch with Linares. This was a competitive fight, plenty entertaining, and had a great finish, but Lomachenko had to work for it this time.
All in all, a great night with an enthusiastic crowd at MSG, a fight that lived up to its promise, and the continued run of a fighter the likes of which we haven’t seen in some time. Can’t ask for a lot more.
In the welterweight co-feature, Dominican prospect Carlos Adames stayed undefeated, going to 14-0 (11 KO) with a 10-round decision win over Mexico’s Alejandro Barrera. Scores were 96-94, 97-93, and 98-92, all for Adames. BLH had it 97-93 for Adames.
This was the U.S. TV debut for Adames, 24, and he looked good, if certainly a flawed young fighter. He has power in both hands, waits for openings, but didn’t work behind his jab much at all and showed a somewhat leaky defense, too. Barrera (29-5, 18 KO) is a solid veteran fighter and was a legitimate step up in class, too, and Adames still got the job done. But there are certainly things to work on, and staying right at this level for a couple more fights is probably the right move for Adames moving forward. He’s only 14 fights in, there’s no huge rush. There’s a lot to like there, and it’s clear why Top Rank have high hopes for him.
Off-TV, everyone who was supposed to win did: Michael Conlan, Teofimo Lopez, Fazliddin Gaibnazarov, Mikaela Mayer, and Jamel Herring all picked up victories.