Vasyl Lomachenko's next fight could see him face the one of the top lightweight boxers in the world, but only if Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions are able to work out a deal.
There had been talks of Lomachenko fighting WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares on May 12, possibly at Madison Square Garden. Top Rank, who promotes Lomachenko, and Golden Boy Promotions, who co-promotes Linares have been butting heads as well as HBO and ESPN.
Top Rank wants to have the fight take place on May 12 on ESPN, but HBO is currently planning a boxing telecast on the same night and that fight could likely feature Sadam Ali's first WBO junior middleweight title defense. Ali is another fighter currently promoted by Golden Boy.
For weeks, a fight between Lomachenko and Linares had been discussed, but talks recently were stalled due to the date. For a while, the fight seemed dead, but a recent breakthrough could make the fight possible. There are talks of ESPN moving up the start time of their planned May 12 boxing card so that HBO can do their live boxing telecast after ESPN's telecast ends.
"We have reached out to executives at ESPN to see if they would be willing to move up the start time for the Linares-Lomachenko card so it doesn't interfere with the HBO telecast, and they told us they are considering it. We're doing our part so that we can try to make this fight. So let's have a really great fight and a great day of boxing on the two biggest platforms for boxing, which is ESPN and HBO. ESPN loves the idea and said they're considering it, so we are hopeful we can work it out," Gomez said.
The idea of television networks working together to hold boxing cards one after the other on the same night is nothing new. FOX and Showtime have held boxing events with FOX doing a live card and Showtime televising their own boxing event immediately afterwards. In those cases, the two events had one main promoter, Premier Boxing Champions. The case of two networks working together with two separate boxing promotions is much more rare.
If in fact Linares faces Lomachenko, Lomachenko would move up in weight and vacate his WBO super featherweight title. Linares, the WBA and WBC Diamond champion, is currently ordered by the WBC to fight WBC world champion Mikey Garcia. Garcia is currently scheduled to face Sergey Lipinets for the IBF junior welterweight title on March 10 on Showtime. Fightful will have live coverage of that fight.
Financial details of the fight have been mostly ironed out with Teiken Promotions, Linares Japanese boxing promoter, getting a $1.2 million package for taking the fight. Linares himself would receive $1 million from that package, making it the largest fight purse of his career.
Top Rank has been dead set on doing a boxing card on May 12 for Lomachenko to headline Madison Square Garden. There had been some discussions about a possible fight between Lomachenko and WBO lightweight champion Raymundo Beltran, another Top Rank-promoted fighter, but Top Rank has other plans for Beltran in case the fight against Lomachenko is not made for the May 12 card. The chances of Beltran being able to fight in May depends on how he recovers from cuts suffered from his title fight against Paulus Moses.
Lomachenko has not fought since defeating Guillermo Rigondeaux on December 9, 2017 at Madison Square Garden. That fight headlined a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card, the last card on primetime for 2017.