By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Bob Arum can’t see Vasiliy Lomachenko losing to Jorge Linares on Saturday night.
The Hall-of-Fame promoter is concerned, though, about the weight advantage he expects Linares to have over his fighter when they enter the ring at Madison Square Garden. Arum told BoxingScene.com that Linares could out-weigh Lomachenko by somewhere between eight and 13 pounds once their 12-round bout begins.
The 30-year-old Lomachenko, a champion at 126 and 130 pounds, will make his 135-pound debut against the 32-year-old Linares, the WBA lightweight champion.
Venezuela’s Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) has competed at or near the lightweight limit of 135 pounds for the past 6½ years. The 5-feet-8 Linares also is at least one inch taller than Ukraine’s Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs), a skillful southpaw who won Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012.
“I think it’ll be very challenging,” Arum told BoxingScene.com before a press conference Thursday at The Garden. “The unknown is every time a fighter goes up in weight, particularly when he hasn’t struggled to make weight, it becomes a challenge. Can he handle the bigger guy and an experienced guy, like Linares? We don’t know. We know if they were the same size, on skill level, Loma’s skills I think are much greater than Linares’ skills. But it’s going up in weight that is the real question.”
Linares and Lomachenko are expected to weigh in at approximately 5 p.m. ET on Friday. They’ll have a little less time to add weight than some boxers who’ve competed in New York recently because their weigh-in will take place later than usual and their main event is set to start earlier than normal – around 9 p.m. ET on Saturday night (ESPN).
“Loma is a professional that doesn’t put on unnecessary weight, because that slows him down,” Arum said. “I think that he would go in the ring probably at 142 pounds. And Linares will probably go into the ring at 150, 155, something like that. So he’s giving away a lot of weight, but Loma’s an incredible fighter.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.