By Miguel Rivera
2018 will be a big year for Jorge Linares - if all goes well this January 27 when he collides with Mercito Gesta at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
He hopes that the big fights he expects can be made, either against Mikey García or Vasyl Lomachenko.
The Venezuelan said that although his focus is only on Gesta, he knows that if he wins this fight he could get the opportunities he's pushing for in the lightweight division.
Linares is ready to unify with WBC lightweight champion Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) or fight him at the junior welterweight limit of 140. He is also ready to collide with Lomachenko, who holds the WBO super featherweight title and is moving up to the lightweight division this year.
"The truth is, if Lomachenko goes up to 135 pounds it would be great if that fight was made, it would be great for him, for me, for boxing. Otherwise, I think I would have to go up to 140 pounds with Mikey, I doubt that if he [continues to] fight at 140 pounds that he will go back to 135 pounds. But hey, they are two options," Linares said to ESPN Deportes.
"I think Lomachenko has not faced someone with my quality, it would be an honor to have a fight of that caliber, but with God's favor if we win this January 27 it will be one of the fights we will seek."
Gesta is trained by Hall of Fame coach, Freddie Roach, but Linares is not worried about that or sees that as an advantage for his opponent.
Linares once trained under Roach and is now being handled by Cuba's Ismael Salas.
"I do not see an advantage, I had Roach [at one time] and I lost with him in the corner. I don't have to see the coach because he does not go in there to fight. Roach knows me, but many years have passed, and after having been with him, I changed a lot," Linares said.
"With Freddie I was even thinking about retirement after the defeats... it was then that I made a total change and learned to work with Ismael Salas and I have not lost, every fight has been better with him and I do not criticize anything... at the end of the day the one that goes up to the ring will not be Roach - only Gesta and myself."