By Keith Idec
Promoters Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya have overcome what was once considered an insurmountable obstacle to finalize a Vasyl Lomachenko-Jorge Linares fight for May 12.
According to a Los Angeles Times report Tuesday, Arum’s Top Rank Inc. (Lomachenko) and De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions (Linares) have come to an agreement for Lomachenko to challenge Linares for the Venezuelan’s WBA lightweight title May 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York. They struck a deal, according to the Los Angeles Times, because ESPN agreed to air the telecast headlined by Lomachenko-Linares at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, so that it won’t be broadcast at the same time as HBO’s replay that night of the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin middleweight championship rematch.
Mexico’s Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) and Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) are scheduled to fight again in a high-profile HBO Pay-Per-View main event May 5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. De La Hoya, whose company promotes Alvarez, and HBO’s hierarchy understandably didn’t want one of Golden Boy’s boxers competing for ratings with the Alvarez-Golovkin replay at the same time.
HBO also is expected to a televise a live fight May 12, along with the Alvarez-Golovkin replay. Due to its earlier start time on ESPN, the Linares-Lomachenko telecast is expected to end before HBO’s broadcast begins May 12.
De La Hoya initially indicated Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) gladly would fight Lomachenko, just not the night of May 12, due to the television scheduling conflict. Top Rank reportedly offered Linares, 32, a career-high purse to defend his title against Lomachenko, which was among the reasons Linares wanted to take it.
Now that they’ve finalized their deal, Ukraine’s Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) will attempt to become a world champion in a third weight class (135 pounds).
The 30-year-old Lomachenko – commonly considered one of boxing’s best fighters, pound-for-pound – owns the WBO super featherweight title (130 pounds). The two-time Olympic gold medalist previously held the WBO featherweight championship (126 pounds).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.