Linares hopes to face Garcia or Lomachenko next
WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares is just a little over nine days away from defending his title against Mercito Gesta. While he says he’s focused on Gesta he also has an eye on the future.
Like everyone else he sees all the chatter over him facing Mikey Garcia, a fight in which he unsuccessfully tried to get recently, or Robert Easter Jr in an unification fight. He also hears the name Vasyl Lomachenko quite often as a possible opponent.
Linares is at a stage in his career where he’s looking for a defining moment and he believes that a fight against Lomachenko or Garcia could be the one. He also thinks that either fight would be great for the sport.
“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.”
It’s understandable for Linares to be looking forward to the bigger names but many believe he has a formidable foe, Gesta, in front of him next Saturday on HBO.
The Philippines native doesn’t have a resume stacked with big names and world champions but he only has one loss back in December of 2012 when he faced Miguel Vasquez for the IBF lightweight championship. He has spent his time since then trying to get back for another title opportunity. Linares has gave him that chance.
Gesta is also trained by Linares former trainer Freddie Roach. When asked if he thought may work against him Linares said:
“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. 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.”
This will mark Linares’s third defense of the WBA title he won from Anthony Crolla. He most recently won a split decision against Luke Campbell back in September.
A rematch with Campbell was planned but Gesta was called in when those negotiations fell apart. Linares vs Gesta is next Saturday at the Forum in Los Angeles and will be televised by HBO.
By: Chris Henderson