By Rich Cheney: WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko has his eyes on a rematch with Orlando Salido and a unification match against WBC 130lb champion Miguel Berchelt (32-1, 28 KOs) before he moves up to the lightweight division.
Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KOs) will be defending his WBO title this Saturday night on ESPN against unranked featherweight Miguel Marriaga (25-2, 21 KOs) on ESPN at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California.
Lomachenko, 29, wants to avenge his loss to Salido from three years ago in 2014. Salido beat Lomachenko by a 12 round split decision. The scoring was very generous for Lomachenko, who clearly lost that fight. The judge that scored the fight for Lomachenko seemed to be watching an altogether different fight than the one that I saw.
Lomachenko spent most of the fight holding Salido, and trying not to get hit in the body. Salido studied Lomachenko before the fight, and saw that it wouldn’t be easy to hit him with head shots. So instead of wasting time throwing to the head, Salido focused on throwing to the body and he had an easy time connecting with his shots on Lomachenko.
”Yes, I really would like to fight Miguel Berchelt [WBC super featherweight champion] to unify the titles and I would like to have one more belt into my collection,” said Lomachenko during Monday’s telephone conference with the boxing media. ”Yes, I would like to fight Salido but probably within a one-year period. If it is longer than that I am not going to be interested in fighting him because that bout wouldn’t mean anything. But in general I would like to get back in the ring with him to see how much better I can be in the second bout,” said Lomachenko.
This isn’t good news for Mikey Garcia that Lomachenko plans on staying at super featherweight for at least 2 more fights, because he was hoping to fight him at 135. When Lomachenko does eventually move up to lightweight, he’s likely going to want to fight once or twice in that weight class before he faces Mikey. What this means is we may not see a fight take place between the two fighters until at least 2019. It won’t likely be next year if Lomachenlo plans on fighting Berchelt and Salido.
Those two fights will take time to setup and take place. Once Lomachenko moves up to lightweight, it’ll take him a time to get his tune-up fights out of the way for him to get accustomed to fighting at the new weight. Mikey is going to have to forget about fighting Lomachenko. I don’t think it’s a fight that can be put together at this time. Lomachenko and his promoters at Top Rank have other ideas.
These are the 3 fights that Lomachenko will be looking to get out of the way before he moves up to lightweight:
– Orlando Salido
– Miguel Berchelt
– Guillermo Rigondeaux
Surprisingly, Top Rank hasn’t said anything about wanting to put together a fight between Lomachenko and Oscar Valdez. I got an idea that they won’t want to throw Valdez to the wolves by putting him in against Lomachenko to see him get chewed up. It wouldn’t be fair to Valdez, as he recently struggled badly to beat Miguel Marriaga last April. Valdez won the fight, but he took a major beating and it was a grueling fight. Not surprisingly, Valdez and Top Rank weren’t interested in a rematch. Even if Valdez beat Marriaga in a second fight, he’d take a lot of punishment along the way. Fighters can’t take beatings like that without it shortening their careers. Valdez is better off going back to fighting the lesser guys that he was diming on before he fought Marriaga. Fighting him again would be asking for trouble.
Top Rank president Todd duBoef is talking about wanting to have Lomachenko fight Salido and Rigondeaux. A fight against Salido would be potentially a difficult one to put together. It wouldn’t be easy to get Salido back in the ring with Lomachenko, considering that he would want to get paid well. Salido would need to be injury free for a rematch. Salido was in the plans for Lomachenko to fight this time around, but he suffered a hand injury and that made the fight impossible to put together. Rigondeaux would be an easier fight to put together for Lomachenko, because he really wants to fight him. Rigondeaux hasn’t had any injury problems as of yet despite being 36.
”Obviously you have a Salido rematch if Vasyl is still interested in that,”. said duBoef. ”And if Salido is real about that. Rigondeaux is yapping his mouth pretty good and that would be two of the most highly heralded amateurs. Vasyl has basically cleaned out the division and he will fight anybody so if he wants to go up in weight there are fighters at 135 that he can fight.”
Rigondeaux is a 2-time Olympic gold medalist from Cuba. He’s wanted a fight against Lomachenko for at least 3 years now. Top Rank needs to finally put that fight together before Rigondeaux gets beaten by someone. A fight between Lomachenko and Rigondeaux would attract a lot of interest from the hardcore boxing fans. I can’t say for sure that the casual boxing fans would show interest in the fight, but there would be enough hardcore fans that would tune in to see the Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux fight on ESPN to bring in excellent ratings. The results of the fight might not be so positive for Lomachenko, as Rigondeaux is a very talented fighter, and he could pull off an upset. Even if Lomachenko wins, he could be made to look bad by the Cuban talent, which would be almost the same thing as losing the fight.
It doesn’t matter if Lomachenko chooses to stay down at super featherweight for the remainder of his career. Mikey Garcia doesn’t need Lomachenko for him to become a big star. His win over Adrien Broner has done enough to get the attention from the boxing world. The only thing that Mikey needs is to go after the winner of the August 19 fight between light welterweight champions Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo.
If Mikey doesn’t fancy the idea of fighting the winner of that fight, then he can move back down to lightweight and look to get the biggest fight he can get. He could also move up to welterweight and try and get a fight against Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman or Errol Spence Jr. Those are the three guys that are big deals at welterweight right now. Jeff Horn is a popular fighter in his native Australia, but he might not get past Manny Pacquiao in their rematch.