Indio, Calif., September 28, 2018 – Long considered one of the world’s best lightweights, Jorge Linares of Venezuela (44-4, 27 KOs) delivered a solid performance but took the loss against the world’s best pound for pound boxer on many lists. Vasyl Lomachenko, last May at Madison Square Garden.
Linares delivered the first knockdown of Lomachenko’s professional career, and was not in danger for a moment of quitting or being embarrassed like Lomachenko’s recent opponents. But the Ukrainian caught Linares with a left hook to the body, and although he made it to his feet to beat the count, the fight was stopped in the tenth round. On the cards, one judge had it for Lomachenko, another for Linares, and the third a draw.
But a loss is still a loss. Linares begins his road back by moving up a division to junior welterweight this Saturday. Fans have a rare chance to see this talented southpaw in a small venue at the Fantasy Springs Casino Resort in Indio, California. The rest of the boxing world can watch for free as part of the Golden Boy Facebook Watch live streaming series, starting at 10 pm ET/7 pm PT.
Lightweight suits an older Linares
Linares has fought at lightweight for the last six years, but at age 33 it’s been difficult for him to make the 135-pound limit. Linares says he feels stronger and faster in the 140 pound division. And make no mistake, since unified lightweight champion Terence Crawford moved up to welterweight and left all the belts behind, it’s a division full of opportunity.
“I had been thinking about moving to 140 pound for some time,” said Linares this week. “When the opportunity to fight Lomachenko came, I took the fight at 135 pounds even though it was already difficult to do so (make weight). If I were to get the opportunity to fight him again, I would drop to 135 pounds, but for now I’ll look for more opportunities at 140 pounds. A fight with Mikey Garcia or Jose Ramirez would be excellent, but I need to get stay focused on the opponent in front of me.”
Linares tests himself against Abner Cotto (23-3, 12 KOs) of Puerto Rico. The 31-year-old ia a younger cousin of one of Puerto Rico’s all time greatest boxers, Miguel Cotto, who will be on hand to greet fans and take in his cousin’s bout. Cotto is a significant underdog, but he is on a five-fight win streak since losing by knockout to Javier Fortuna in 2014, including three stoppage wins.
Linares goes ‘old school’ in return to trainer Jorge Zerpa
Linares is training with an old familiar face, Jorge Zerpa, who trained him 11 years ago for his first world title fight against Oscar Larios in Las Vegas. “We’re working on a lot of things, but mostly we’ve been reviewing and going back to an old school style of training. I’m not changing my style, just adding some things.”
Linares says he will not assume this fight to be a lay up. “I know Abner Cotto is tough. He knows how to fight on the inside and the outside. I know he will work hard to give a great fight this Saturday.” Southern California fans should not pass up the chance to take the short drive to the desert and watch a display of skills by Linares. Watch to see if his impressive speed travels up to the new weight division. It should, and if he gains power, he will be a force against the current contenders. Linares is still in his prime and the fight with Cotto is sure to be entertaining if not competitive in the end.
Both fighters made weight a shade over 137 pounds on Friday.
Undercard features: Duarte vs. Guitierrez, Duro vs. Aviles
On the undercard, the co-main event features 22-year-old lightweight prospect Oscar Duarte of Mexico (14-0-1, 9 KOs) against Roger Guitierrez of Venezuela (19-2-1, 16 KOs). Another 22-year-old lightweight in the contender ranks, Romero Duro of the Philippines now living in Los Angeles (17-1, 14 KOs) faces Ezequiel Aviles of Mexico (16-2-3, 6 KOs). Duro has appeared twice on Jorge Linares undercards in the last year at The Forum in Los Angeles and is building up a strong local following.
“I’m happy to make my way to a title fight,” said Duro “I’ve been working very hard and I’m very prepared for the victory. I’m excited to come back to Fantasy Springs again to score a great victory.”
If you can’t make it out to the desert, search “Golden Boy Fight Night” to find the live stream or use the link to Golden Boy Fight Night Page.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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