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Breakdown: Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jorge Linares fight preview and prediction

Boxing’s big fight this weekend is an absolute classic in the making, as Vasyl Lomachenko takes on Jorge Linares live on ESPN.

Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Miguel Marriaga Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

This is a good one fight fans. Saturday night, boxing’s arguable pound for pound king Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1; 8 KOs) takes on fellow technical wizard Jorge Linares (44-3; 27 KOs). The fight is for Linares’s WBA and Ring Magazine Lightweight (135 lbs.) titles. This is the world’s undisputed top Lightweight (Linares) vs. undisputed top Junior Lightweight (Lomachenko). The fight takes place this Saturday, May 12 at Madison Square Garden and airs live on ESPN with a fight time of 8:00 p.m. ET.

How do these two stack up?

Lomachenko: 30 years old | 5’7” | 65" reach | southpaw stance
Linares: 32 years old | 5’8" | 69" reach | orthodox stance

What have these two done recently?

Lomachenko: W - Guillermo Rigondeaux (RTD) | W - Miguel Marriaga (RTD) | W - Jason Sosa (RTD)
Linares: W - Mercito Gesta (UD) | W - Luke Campbell (SD) | W - Adam Crolla (UD)

How did these two get here?

Vasyl Lomachenko is truly something special. The 396-1 amateur and two time Olympic Gold Medalist is now a 10-1 pro and two division world champion. Here, he tries to make it 3 divisions with his Lightweight debut. To be clear, in this era of watered down titles, Lomachenko is not just winning some random alphabet belt then moving up - he’s establishing his dominance in one division after another. Nothing better sums him up than his current nickname: “NoMasChenko”. In his past four (yes, FOUR) fights, he has made opponents quit on the stool. That includes his last fight, where he took on fellow pound for pound great Guillermo Rigondeaux and wiped the mat with him. He’s just on another level.

Jorge Linares is a Venezuelan fighter who may not have quite the pedigree of Lomachenko, but is honestly not that far behind him in terms of pure technical skill. A 15 year pro, Linares also started his career down at Featherweight. He made the transition to Lightweight years ago and has claimed that division’s top spot. He’s undefeated in the past 6 years, and has been a true road warrior in those years, fighting top talent wherever he can. His technique is top notch, he’s a wise and crafty veteran, and is one of the sport’s most underrated talents.

What can fans expect?

Jorge Linares is a terrific talent. #1 in his division, six years undefeated, welcoming a 10-1 fighter moving up in weight. And yet he’s the +750 underdog here. Such is the skill of Lomachenko. As good as Linares is, I don’t see him being able to handle the speed, angles, and overall assault of Lomachenko. The best point in his favor is his size advantage - will this just be a move too high for Lomachenko? Maybe, but I doubt it - he handled his last move with mastery, and is likely to be just fine with this one. I don’t see Linares landing enough to outpoint Lomachenko round by round, but I do see him being savvy enough to make Lomachenko work in those opening rounds. Eventually though, Loma takes over. The question for me is can he No Mas Linares? I doubt it, but you’d be a fool to write it off as a possibility.
Prediction: Vasyl Lomachenko, UD

Who should watch?

You. Vasyl Lomachenko is THE best pure talent in combat sports right now, period. He’s must watch TV no matter what, and here, he faces a true test (which is what we said last time...)