By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Even if Vasiliy Lomachenko handles Jorge Linares as soundly as the odds suggest, Lomachenko isn’t certain he’ll remain at lightweight for his following fight.
Lomachenko, who’ll make his lightweight debut against Linares, wants to consider his options once their fight ends before deciding whether to continue competing at 135 pounds or moving back down to 130 pounds. Ukraine’s Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) still owns the WBO’s super featherweight title, but the WBO has given Lomachenko until 10 days after Saturday night to let the sanctioning organization know if he intends to drop down to 130 pounds again for another defense of that championship.
“We have to see the way that everything is gonna go,” Lomachenko said through a translator. “And after that, we can decide what we wanna do. I wanna see what the opportunities are to fight in this weight class, what the opportunities are to go back in the [130-pound] weight class. So I’m gonna make a decision right away.”
If Lomachenko beats Venezuela’s Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) to win the WBA lightweight title in the main event of ESPN’s telecast from Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET), the most obvious opportunity that would await him is a partial championship unification fight against WBO lightweight champ Ray Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs). Lomarchenko and Phoenix’s Beltran are promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc.
“That depends on him,” Arum said, referring to Lomachenko. “He has a great manager in Egis [Klimas]. We’ll sit together and talk. I would think that if he wins at 135, he’ll stay at 135. That’s what I think, but again, I don’t know for sure.”
The biggest fight for Lomachenko if he were to return to 130 pounds would be a partial unification bout against Gervonta Davis (20-0, 19 KOs).
Floyd Mayweather Jr., Davis’ promoter, has changed his mind and is now willing to match Baltimore’s Davis against Lomachenko. Mayweather and Top Rank president Todd duBoef have discussed making a Lomachenko-Davis bout next if Lomachenko beats Linares.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.