By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Vasyl Lomachenko obviously isn't proud of getting dropped by Jorge Linares on Saturday night.
It hurt his cause among judges, one of whom had Linares ahead, 86-84, when Lomachenko landed that temporarily paralyzing left hook to Linares’ liver in the 10th round. Lomachenko’s trip to the canvas, the first knockdown he suffered during his 4½-year pro career, reminded the Ukrainian southpaw to be more careful defensively against an accurate, bigger fighter at Madison Square Garden.
Lomachenko called it a “flash” knockdown, which Linares scored with 31 seconds to go in the sixth round by landing a straight right hand to the middle of Lomachenko’s face.
Once he came back to stop Linares, Lomachenko looked for a silver lining in that troublesome moment. Lomachenko suspects showing that type of vulnerability for the first time since he turned pro in October 2013 might encourage previously hesitant opponents to want to fight him.
“That’s what I told [Top Rank] vice president Carl Moretti right after, in the ring,” Lomachenko said during the post-fight press conference. “Right now, it’s gonna be much easier for you to get opponents for me because they all see I’m also a human being. And what I did, I just made an easier job for my promoter.”
Promoter Bob Arum and those that work for him have had trouble luring quality opponents into facing Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs). Potential opponents often price themselves out of proposed fights against the newly crowned WBA world lightweight champion.
An inability to secure super featherweight title unification fights was what prompted Lomachenko to move up to 135 pounds to face the taller Linares (44-4, 27 KOs), who has competed at or around the lightweight limit for 6½ years. Arum hopes Lomachenko’s assessment of how that knockdown could help make his job easier proves to be true.
“I think it really elevates him,” Arum said of Lomachenko’s performance. “People will now say that he’s a fighter. And frankly, guys at lightweight and above are saying tonight, ‘Well, I’ll go in [with him]. He’s not Superman.’ ”
Arum also said he expects Lomachenko to return to the ring August 25, against an undetermined opponent at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.