Jorge Linares was making the fourth defence of his WBA lightweight world title after capturing the belt against Anthony Crolla in 2016.
Vasiliy Lomachenko at times looks invincible, a master technician who can do no wrong in the ring.
"I relaxed a little bit", the two-time Olympic champion Lomachenko said after suffering the first knockdown of his professional career. In round six, Lomachenko tasted the canvas after Linares landed a flawless shot but fought back to end that round well. The Ukrainian wizard was in uncharted territory.
When he eventually reached his feet, referee Ricky Gonzalez determined he couldn't continue at 2:08 of the 10th round. Linares was able to land good shots to the body and head of Lomachenko.
Linares did just about everything right in attempting to defend his WBA lightweight title against Lomachenko on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Judges had it 86-84 Lomachenko, 86-84 Linares and 85-85, the same as Yahoo Sports.
No boxer ever had earned this accomplishment in less than 20 fights, but Lomachenko has now world titles in three different weight classes just 12 fights into his career. He said at the post-fight news conference that he injured a hand in the second, but it was hardly noticeable in his performance. "That right hand [from Linares], it was a great punch". "What bothers me is I'm wondering if this fight will be interesting for the fans, interesting for the public".
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Before scoring his eighth straight knockout, Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) had to get off the canvas late in the sixth round. Lomachenko got up easily and didn't appear hurt, but Linares carried the confidence from the knockdown into a strong seventh round.
To hear the ESPN team call it - the house fighter was Loma, fighting for Top Rank on "Top Rank on ESPN" - Linares wasn't even in the ring (this writer had him in a year-end pound-for-pound top 10).
When the stoppage came in the tenth one judge had Linares ahead whilst another had the fight level.
But Lomachenko won't be facing Garcia right away.
Round eight saw Lomachenko demonstrate his fast hands and work, peppering Linares regularly however Linares despite being cut and bruised, landed the visibly more powerful shots. "That's why I came to this weight class, [to fight Garcia] and that's [the fight] I will be looking forward to". Raymundo Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KO's), who won a vacant world title in February is "the obvious opponent" according to Arum.