By: Hans Themistode
Like most, Jorge Linares was completely taken aback with what took place when Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez squared off late last year. Having shared the ring with the Ukrainian, Linares expected the pound-for-pound star to take care of business against his explosive, yet inexperienced opponent.
Those thoughts, however, simply didn’t come to fruition as Lopez went on to dominate the first half of their contest before holding on down the stretch for a unanimous decision victory.
From the moment Lopez was handed the win, Lomachenko claimed that he should have, in fact, been announced the winner or, at the very least, been given a draw. He immediately asked for a rematch but was denied by the 23-year-old. Instead of continuing to pursue a rematch with Lopez by using his words, Lomachenko figured that the best way to get his rival back into the ring was by sending him a violent message.
Just a few weeks ago, Lomachenko made his return by taking on the highly-rated Masayoshi Nakatani. While the Japanese fighter gave Lopez all he could handle in a losing effort in 2019, Lomachenko ran right through him, stopping him in the ninth round. That performance has Linares not only believing that Lomachenko vs. Lopez 2 is likely next but also, that this time around, the outcome could be completely different.
“I think he can have the rematch with Lopez,” said Linares during an interview with SnowQueenLA. “I think this time, Lopez can lose the fight.”
Although Linares came up short in his bid to dethrone Lomachenko in 2018, the Venezuelan product floored his man in the sixth round and fought him tooth and nail. Unfortunately for Linares, however, his efforts weren’t enough as he ultimately succumbed to a 10th round body shot.
The loss for Linares may have been difficult to swallow but he watched from afar as Lomachenko continued to win fight after fight. What Linares believes he noticed though, was that while Lomachenko was continuing to rack up the wins, he didn’t look quite as dominant.
To the Ukrainian though, his lackluster performances against Lopez and others had nothing to do with whom he was fighting. Instead, it had everything to do with an injured right shoulder. He’s since gone under the knife and by all accounts, appears to be back to his old dominant self.
The performance of Lomachenko not only impressed Linares but also promoter Bob Arum and father of Lopez in Teofimo Lopez Sr.
“I wasn’t thinking about Lomachenko in the past,” said Lopez Sr. after watching Lomachenko stop Nakatani. “But after this performance, I think that the public wants to see this fight. I think I can convince my son to fight him again.”
Before any rematch can be made, Lopez first has to deal with mandatory challenger, George Kambosos Jr. The two had their original bout re-scheduled due to Lopez contracting COVID-19 and will now face off on August 14th.
In the mind of most, Lopez is expected to take care of business against the undefeated Australian native. Should that happen, all roads to Lomachenko vs. Lopez 2 are now clear. If the two do in fact, step into the ring again, Linares warns Lopez of a completely different Lomachenko for their sequel.
“Now, Lomachenko is back.”