Irish legend and former featherweight king Barry McGuigan is, like the rest of us, hugely impressed by the skills and talents of Vasyl Lomachenko. Writing in his regular column for The Mirror, McGuigan – who ruled the world at 126 pounds in 1985 and ’86 – says the 10-1, already two-weight world champion is “one of the greatest fighters we have seen or ever will see.”
When analysing tonight’s fight between Lomachenko and defending lightweight boss Jorge Linares, “The Clones Cyclone” is sure there is only one winner. And as great a fighter as Linares is himself, McGuigan writes how the defending champ has “almost no chance” against the southpaw sensation who is seeking his third world crown.
McGuigan, who also sings the praises of middleweight ruler Gennady Golovkin, says GGG and Lomachenko, both warriors from the former Soviet Union, are “bringing something new to the professional game.”
“There is a kind of machine-like quality that stands in marked contrast to the American tradition of great showmen. You look at Sugar Rays Robinson and Leonard, Muhammad Ali, Roy Jones and Floyd Mayweather – all different, yet connected by a flashy brilliance and sound technique. This glitzy element is completely absent in Lomachenko and Golovkin, who simply go after opponents with clinical savagery.”
McGuigan adds how Lomachenko does not carry the brutal punching power GGG has but that “he can still take your head off.” So, will Lomachenko live up to the lofty praise McGuigan and so many others give him and beat Linares? Linares, talking a great fight, says he will “not quit” and that he is “the natural lightweight.” He is indeed, but will it matter? McGuigan thinks not.
When it comes to Lomachenko, as good as he is and going by his last four fights, a question that comes up is not will he win – it is, will he make his challenger (or in this case defending champ) quit on their stool? It’s happened in his last four out of four – can “Hi-Tech” make it five out of five? Linares says no way, but might his corner stop the fight so as to save their brave fighter from taking too much punishment?
McGuigan rates Linares highly, yet he cannot make a case for him winning and retaining his world title tonight. But as McGuigan writes, Linares “believes” he can win. This, the Hall of Famer predicts, will make for a great action fight where “sparks will fly.”
Can Lomacehnko get the stoppage or does the proud and brave Linares take Loma the full 12-rounds? McGuigan seems to see a stoppage: “No disrespect, but if Kevin Mitchell can floor him [Linares] imagine what Lomachenko might do!”