Vasiliy Lomachenko dramatically stops Jorge Linares in round 10

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 09: Vasiliy Lomachenko works out outside Madison Square Garden on May 9, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bill Tompkins/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 09: Vasiliy Lomachenko works out outside Madison Square Garden on May 9, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bill Tompkins/Getty Images) /

Vasiliy Lomachenko stepped up in weight and challenged Jorge Linares for his WBA lightweight title. Linares was game, but Lomachenko proved his worth.

Before his Saturday, May 12 clash with Jorge Linares, many believed Vasiliy Lomachenko was the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. His performance enhanced their belief.

As Lomachenko walked out to the ring, Madison Square Garden’s crowd greeted him with cheers. He possessed the fans’ hearts before the opening bell. Linares was in hostile territory. His walk was anticlimactic and met with boos and disapproval.

Lomachenko and Linares locked eyes in the customary staredown. Linares’s height advantage was clear, but Lomachenko stared through him unintimidated.

In round one, ESPN commentator Timothy Bradley pointed out the positioning of both men’s feet. Lomachenko’s lead right foot remained outside of Linares’s left lead foot. Lomachenko established the better position and did more with it.

He caught Linares’s punches on his gloves and threw several lefts to Linares’s body. He won the round due to his masterful ring generalship.

Linares stepped up his attack at the start of round two. He came out throwing combinations. He used his size to push Lomachenko back. Lomachenko didn’t panic and he countered with a straight left to Linares’s head. It was the best punch of the round, but it was a hard round to score.

Lomachenko tried to steal the round towards the end, but it could have gone either way. I scored it a draw.

Lomachenko subtly stalked Linares for the majority of round three. Linares was on his back foot as Lomachenko advanced. Both men were conservative with their output, but Lomachenko’s punches were precise and dramatic. This was Lomachenko’s round.

Lomachenko rocked Linares’s body after the first minute of the fourth. Linares threw punches, but they started to miss at a higher frequency. Linares hit Lomachenko in the back of the head and the referee warned him. The tone of this fight became more one-sided. Lomachenko imposed his will and Linares appeared to weaken slightly.

Round five started slowly but heated up midway through. Both men exchanged in close, but Lomachenko got the better of it. Frustrated, Linares landed low on Lomachenko and was warned. Lomachenko furiously finished the round tagging Linares’s body and head.

Linares landed low again early in the sixth and was warned for the second time. His face swelled and he ate more Lomachenko punches to the head. Lomachenko pressed the attack and landed at will. His punches weren’t always hard, but they hurt Linares’s psyche.

Just when it looked like Linares was falling into despair, he landed a right hand that floored Lomachenko. The crowd and Lomachenkko were shocked. He didn’t look hurt and got to his feet quickly, but it gave Linares a 10-8 round.

Linares came out aggressively in the seventh. Lomachenko’s legs looked fine, but he was cautious. Linares outworked Lomachenko and won another round. His knockdown gave him new life.

Lomachenko and Linares mixed it up early in round eight. Linares was cut over the left eye. His face started to break up badly. Lomachenko smelled blood and threw successive combinations perfectly on Linares’s cut. The tide shifted to Lomachenko’s favor.

Linares fought courageously in the ninth. He came out swinging and landed an eye-catching combination on Lomachenko halfway through the round. Lomachenko took the round off which was dangerous considering how close the fight was. I only had Lomachenko up by a point when the round was over.

Linares threw a combination to start the 10th. Lomachenko avoided most of those punches and pressed forward. He stepped up his output and pushed Linares to the ropes. Linares returned fire but was dramaticallydropped with a little over a minute remaining.

Lomachenko threw hellacious hooks that rocked Linares. He was too damaged and too fatigued. He couldn’t make it to his feet and the referee waived off the fight.

Linares deserves a lot of credit. He dropped Lomachenko and won numerous rounds, but Lomachenko is special. He has a high boxing IQ paired with lightning reflexes. His punches are exact and he has the stamina of a marathon runner.

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Linares is a warrior and a fantastic boxer. Unfortunately for him, Lomachenko is better. Lomachenko’s performance will push him to the top of the pound-for-pound rankings if he wasn’t there already. He doesn’t have Mike Tyson’s power, but he is clinical in his execution.

Lomachenko put the lightweight division on notice. Mikey Garcia should stay up at super lightweight. Lomachenko is the kind of boxer that his peers should fear.