Jorge Linares
Jorge Linares is eager to secure a lightweight clash with Vasyl Lomachenko Jeff Gross/Getty Images


  • A disagreement over the proposed 12 May date has seemingly put proposed fight at risk.
  • Top Rank want the bout to take place on ESPN, but HBO are showing a replay of Canelo-Golovkin II that night.
  • Linares does not want "politics to interfere" in a contest that boxing purists are desperate to see.

Jorge Linares is desperate to secure a high-profile lightweight showdown with Vasyl Lomachenko no matter what, insisting that he does not want "politics to interfere" with the prospective mouthwatering clash between two of world boxing's finest technicians.

Negotiations over a bout that would see former featherweight and current WBO super-featherweight kingpin Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, move up another division and attempt to become a three-weight world champion have been ongoing for several weeks and an agreement on several aspects looked to have been reached.

However, as reported by The Los Angeles Times, a dispute over the date could scupper talks, with Top Rank wanting to stage the fight on ESPN on 12 May - the middle of the NBA playoffs - at Madison Square Garden but Linares' US promoters Golden Boy Promotions are wary of clashing with HBO, who are planning to air a replay of the 5 May rematch between Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin that night.

Oscar De La Hoya has stated that if the fight absolutely must take place on that weekend then HBO are "willing to pay more for the fight than is currently being offered".

Clearly frustrated by such quibbling, Linares took to social media to stress that he was ready to instruct his team to accept the fight regardless.

"I know you are ready for May 12," he tweeted at Lomachenko. "Also I am too. I don't want politics to interfere with our bout. I will tell my promoter Golden Boy Boxing no matter what will take the fight for the benefit of boxing and the fans."

However, a few hours later he added: "You want May 12th then let's go HBO you want ESPN then any other date lets do it. I am ready are you ready?"

Linares last fought in January, when he followed wins over British duo Anthony Crolla [twice] and Luke Campbell by outpointing Mercito Gesta at The Forum in Inglewood, California to rack up a 14th successive victory and retain his WBA strap for the third time.

The WBC previously ordered a unification contest between the Venezuelan and their champion Mikey Garcia, whose eagerly-anticipated fight with IBF 140-pound titlist Sergey Lipinets was rescheduled for 10 March.

Third-ranked pound-for-pound star Lomachenko, meanwhile, forced the injured Guillermo Rigondeaux to retire on his stool after six rounds of their much-hyped but ultimately disappointing bout at The Theater at MSG in December.

An alternative first step into the lightweight division for 'Hi-Tech' would be against the winner of Friday night's (16 February) WBO title scrap between Ray Beltran and Paulus Moses in Reno, Nevada.