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"On the contrary, the people that really know me, that have been around me, that know what I have, have told me you have everything it takes to beat a fighter like Lomachenko", Linares said.
Before scoring his eighth straight knockout, Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) had to get off the canvas late in the sixth round. It is not promotional hyperbole, as Bob Arum can often be accused of, when the Top Rank head honcho ponders Lomachenko's place among the all-time greats.
"That right hand [in the sixth] it was a great punch".
To the surprise of many at ringside and a partisan crowd, the judges had it as an even fight when it ended. "He knows I'm not an ordinary fighter".
The fight was highly eventful and included Linares dropping Lomanchenko in round six.
But the 11-1 man, known as Hi-Tech, pulled himself from the canvas and, four rounds later, dispatched a ideal liver shot to draw the bout to a close.
"All this talk that I want to fight him but my promoter doesn't want to allow me, that's a fighter hiding", Golden Boy's Robert Diaz said.
Venezuelan Linares, who had vowed to suss out 'Loma's timing before committing to any power shots, was the aggressor but largely inaccurate in a tentative opener: Lomachenko, ever-fluid, kept his head in perpetual motion and out of the line of fire, rendering it hard for Linares to detonate with anything significant.
30-year-old Lomachenko, a two-weight world champion, despite having had only 11 professional fights, has dominated most of his opponents, often forcing them to quit, says all he is thinking about is the win rather than how it comes about.
Lomachenko weighed in at 134½ pounds Friday for his lightweight debut.
Lomachenko is nothing, though, if not cool, and he used his wits to stave off Linares and score the biggest win of his career against the best opponent of his career.
"As the naturally bigger man, the power has to be on Linares" side going into this fight.
In the sixth round was something the fans Lomachenko did not expect. Do you think that Linares could defeat the Ukrainian if given a second crack at the opportunity?
But Lomachenko, whose level of domination had caused his previous four victims to run up the white flag of surrender rather than to remain on the wrong end of beatdowns, had to be just as aware that victory on this night was not ensured.
There is little he can't do in the ring, as Linares said in tribute following the bout.
Lomachenko was able to bloody the nose of Linares in the fifth round. Lomachenko hit the bigger man with the flawless left hook to the body.
But Lomachenko won't be facing Garcia right away. The Venezuelan veteran landed the right hand on the button.
Lomachenko can still made 126 pounds, and could take on anyone up to 135 pounds.
Lomachenko's speed and accuracy were the deciding factor in the early going.
Both boxers were tactical throughout the first round, when Linares was the aggressor and each tried to establish his jab. Lomachenko was looking to add his third world title in a third division since turning pro, and he enured it was a historic night.
He already picked up the WBO featherweight title at 126 and the WBO super featherweight crown at 130.
As a fighter with such an outstanding amateur record and pedigree, Lomachenko wins this one!
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