Former three-division world champion Jorge Linares 47-5 (29) insists Vasiliy Lomachenko 14-1 (10) is not the same fighter he was when the pair met in the ring in May 2018.
The fight for the 34-year-old Venezuelan’s WBA lightweight title was scored 85-85, 86-84 for Linares and 86-84 for Lomachenko when the fight was stopped in the 10th after Linares hit the deck from a left hook to the liver.
Lomachenko was on the canvas himself courtesy of a Linares right hand himself.
The 32-year-old Ukrainian southpaw admitted at the time that he learned a lot from the fight.
“I want to say thank you to Jorge Linares, he is a great fighter and he gave me one more lesson in boxing,” Lomachenko said.
“I knew about this punch (Linares’ straight right). But he is good. I prepared for the last few rounds, and my father told me, ‘You need to go to the body’.”
Lomachenko has defended the WBA title three times since against Jose Pedraza, Anthony Crolla and Luke Campbell while collecting the WBO and WBC belts along the way.
But Linares says he has seen a decline in Lomachenko’s skills since they fought.
“Lomachenko is not the same guy as he was in my fight,” said Linares in a recent interview with Fight Hub TV.
“He’s not the same. Nope. He is different. He hasn’t done an amazing job since my fight. He’s not the same guy.
“Maybe because he’s old. It’s been two years since our fight and people change so much after two years.”
Linares said Lomachenko’s extensive amateur career – reportedly 396-1 – has shortened his potential as a pro, likening his career to Gennadiy Golovkin, who had a reported record of 345-5 in the unpaid ranks.
“Lomachenko has spent so much of his life training and GGG is the same way,” Linares continued. “Now, they are going down. But look at me, I’m 34, turning 35 next month but I’m going to the top.”
Even still, Linares paid credit to Lomachenko’s sublime talents.
“Lomachenko is a very smart guy and fast, very difficult but he isn’t the same guy anymore,” he said.