Arum compares Lomachenko to Pacquiao
By Eric Baldwin: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum really believes he’s got future star in the making with newly crowned WBC super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs), who unseated WBC 130lb champion Roman “Rocky” Martinez (29-3-3, 17 KOs) last Saturday night in stopping him in the 5th round in their fight at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The 84-year-old Arum compares the two-time former Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko to that of Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao, a fighter that Arum also promotes. Pacquiao recently retired from the sport last April after many years as one of the top fighters in boxing.
Arum says he sees Lomachenko as very similar to Pacquiao in the talent level. What Arum wants is to have Lomachenko fight as frequently as possible on HBO so that he can build up to become a future pay-per-view attraction in the same way he did with Pacquiao. Arum plans on having Top Rank President Todd duBoef meet with HBO President Casey Bloys and Time Warner Chairman and Chief Executive Robert D. Marcus to see if he can get Lomachenko more dates on HBO’s calendar for 2016.
Arum wants Lomachenko to fight twice more in 2016. However, HBO has budget constraints this year for their boxing budget, and there might not be any dates for Lomachenko. If Arum can’t get dates for Lomachenko to fight on regular HBO, he would have to come up with some alternative. Top Rank fighter Terence Crawford is fighting next month against WBC light welterweight champion Viktor Postol on HBO pay-per-view due to there not being any available dates for the two to fight on regular HBO.
Postol and Crawford are not PPV fighters yet, and having them fight on PPV means fewer boxing fans will get a chance to see them fight than if they were on regular HBO. Arum needs Lomachenko to be seen frequently on regular HBO so that he can build him into a star. It won’t work if he puts him on HBO PPV at this early stage of his career.
“Pacquiao was great, and there was a lot of what Lomachenko was doing that was similar to Pacquiao,” Arum said to the latimes.com. “Pacquiao had the speed and elusiveness, but this guy has balance like I’ve never seen. Lomachenko hits, moves and he’s not there like Pacquiao, and the difference is the incredible balance puts him in a position where it looks like the opponent thinks he’s got him, but he doesn’t, and it makes it easier for Lomachenko to get off concussive shots. I would pay to watch him.”
Lomachenko is probably better now than Pacquiao ever was during his career, even though the Filipino star accomplished a great deal in winning so many different titles. Lomachenko dominates in a way that Pacquiao didn’t. If you look at Pacquiao’s fights, he was always vulnerable to getting hit, and he struggled in his fights against Juan Manuel Marquez, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Rustico Torrecampo, Medgoen Singsurat, Erik Morales and Tim Bradley. Lomachenko doesn’t get hit like Pacquiao did, and he dominates in a way that Pacquiao never did. Lomachenko doesn’t possess the flaws in his game that Pacquiao has. He’s had better schooling in the fundamentals of the game. Pacquiao never seemed to really get beyond the raw stage in his development as a boxer. Pacquiao got away with a lot of mistakes by being fast and powerful. Lomachenko is a more well rounded fighter that go a lot more than Pacquiao.
Arum has the potential future star of the sport in Lomachenko. What he needs is to be able to get the chance to show him off to the boxing world. The timing for HBO to have a limited budget for boxing is really bad for Lomachenko and Top Rank. If Lomchenko had emerged years ago when HBO had a bigger budget to televise fights on regular HBO, Lomachenko would have a clear path to superstardom. All he would need is four to six available dates each year on regular HBO and it would be perfect towards making him a star.
Arum wants to get Lomachenko back inside the ring in the next 10 weeks against former two- division world champion Orlando Salido. That’s the number 1 target for Lomachenko, because Salido has a previous win over him back in 2014, when Lomachenko was still a green pro. Lomachenko has since improved rapidly. Arum believes he can get Salido to agree to fight Lomachenko. If not, then Arum would like to match Lomachenko against former WBA featherweight champion Nicholas Walters, who he also promotes.
“We have a number of options: Salido, Nicholas Walters, Takashi Miura, Francisco Vargas. Whatever my choice might be, Lomachenko wants to fight Salido next,” Arum said. “Lomachenko is not the ordinary fighter. He is looking to leave this sport years from now having left a great legacy. He wants Salido because Salido has that first victory off him. If I can’t get Salido — which I think I can — Walters is possible. We’ll take one after another with this guy.”
It would be a shame if Arum is forced to put Lomachenko on PPV on HBO just to get him dates to fight. That will slow his progress in becoming a star.