By: Nick Skok
This past week it was reported that a deal was imminent for WBO super featherweight champ Vasyl Lomachenko and WBA lightweight champ Jorge Linares to square off. However, Linares also holds the position as WBC Diamond champion and had been ordered to face Mikey Garcia, who also holds a WBC title at that same weight, after both champions had a voluntary defense.
In January, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told Boxing Scene: “Champion Mikey Garcia received special permission to fight over the weight in February in a WBC special event. WBC diamond champion Jorge Linares will defend his championship in January. Both champions will fight each other immediately after their bouts.”
Linares did his part by winning in his matchup with Marcito Gesta last month, while Garcia’s fight against Sergey Lipnets was postponed until March 10th.
The news of a potential Linares – Lomachenko fight wasn’t lost on Sulaiman who reiterated to me that the mandatory order was still in effect when I asked him about it via twitter: “Yes that is correct , the WBC has mandated the fight , if GarcÌa wins March 10 then next fight must be GarcÌa vs Linares.”
No clarification was given if Linares would be stripped of his Diamond champion status should he instead face and/or lose to Lomachenko or if the mandatory is nulled by a Garcia loss. Furthermore, could a Lomachenko win instead give him Diamond status, setting up a mouthwatering showdown with Garcia? So many unanswered questions.
The Linares and Garcia fight has been simmering for some time now and to some extent it’d be disappointing if that didn’t materialize. Similarly, unifying and cleaning up the division at 130lbs does seem like unfinished business for Lomachenko whose been begging for the likes of fellow champion’s Miguel Berchelt and Alberto Machado. Granted, this is easier said than done as inner-industry politics place limitations on what we can and can’t see, while more champions are commonly taking less risky roads with their careers as money reigns supreme over legacy to the majority of the lot.
Luckily, Mikey Garcia, Jorge Linares, and Vasyl Lomachenko are not the majority – they’re the exception; constantly challenging and accepting challenges from the best. This is why in the end, any combination of those three boxers getting into the ring together is a win for us all.
Nick Skok writes for NoSparring.com