By Francisco Salazar
After losing by knockout in his last fight to Vasiliy Lomachenko, Jorge Linares has decided to move up in weight for his next fight.
The former WBA lightweight titleholder will face fringe contender Abner Cotto on Sept. 29, Golden Boy Promotions announced Wednesday afternoon.
The 10 round junior welterweight bout will take place at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. The fight will stream live on Facebook Watch in the U.S. and globally on the Golden Boy Fight Night Page.
Linares (44-4, 27 knockouts) dropped Lomachenko in round six in their showdown on May 20 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, but was knocked out by a body shot in round 10.
Linares, who is originally from Venezuela and currently resides in Tokyo, Japan, also lost the RING Magazine belt to Lomachenko.
Considered one of the more technical fighters in boxing today, Linares entered the Lomachenko fight having won his previous 13 fights. Having won a world title 126 and 130 pounds, Linares believes he can win a world title in four weight classes.
"I am coming back hungrier than ever to demonstrate to the world that I am still one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world," said Linares in a release. "I want those big fights and the world has not seen the best of me. With my new team, we will demonstrate that I am more than capable in taking over this new junior welterweight division against a notable opponent in Abner Cotto. This Sept. 29, fans will see a determined Jorge Linares."
Cotto (23-3, 12 KOs) may provide a decent test for Linares.
The 31-year-old Cotto, who is the younger cousin of Miguel Cotto, has fought mostly at 130 and 135 pounds. Only in his last five bouts, all victories, has he fought as a junior welterweight.
Cotto's losses were to Omar Figueroa, Francisco Vargas and Javier Fortuna. All three fighters were unbeaten at the time Cotto faced them.
"I'm immensely grateful to my team and my promoters for bringing my career back to the highest," said Cotto, who fights under the Cotto Promotions banner. "This is a sport where I have fallen, butI have returned with much more desire to achieve the goal I have always dreamed of since I was 10 years old, which is to challenge for a world title."
Hard-hitting lightweight Romero Duno (17-1, 14 KOs) of the Philippines is penciled to fight in the co-feature bout.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.