After weeks of back and forth between Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions, it is a done deal! Yep, Vasyl Lomachenko and WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares will face each other on May 12th at Madison Square Garden on ESPN.An agreement was reached between the two sides almost a month ago on the financial terms of the fight but the date of May 12th was the problem. Golden Boy will air the replay of Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin that night on HBO and didn’t feel they should be forced to compete against themselves on two different networks. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that’s not good business.Top Rank CEO Bob Arum had said that the date was non-negotiable as ESPN had May 12th set in stone for a boxing broadcast and specifically a boxing broadcast that featured Lomachenko.
There was talk of newly crowned WBO lightweight champion Ray Beltran being Lomachenko’s replacement opponent should the Linares deal fall through.
Earlier this week, however, Arum told ESPN that he had worked out a way for everyone to be happy and the fans get the fight they want with Lomachenko and Linares. It would be as simple as moving up the start time of the ESPN broadcast. That way it wouldn’t conflict with the time of the Canelo/GGG replay on HBO and would actually be used as sort of a lead into the replay.
The only problem with that plan was that there was an SEC softball game set to air during the time Arum wanted to broadcast the fight.
Earlier tonight it was told that ESPN has agreed to a start time of 8pm EST for the May 12th card featuring the Lomachenko/Linares bout.
This will be Lomachenko’s first fight at the lightweight limit of 135lbs and he’s doing it against the lineal champion of the division.