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Video: Arum confirms Lomachenko vs. Salido 2 for summer

Orlando Salido Vasyl Lomachenko Bob Arum

By Chris Williams: WBO World super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko will be facing Orlando Salido in a rematch this summer, according to promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank. Before the two of them meet up again, 5he former two division world champion Salido (43-13-4, 30 KOs) will be taking a tune-up bout against an opponent still to be determined. The 36-year Salido needs a tune-up because he’s been out of the ring for the last 10 months since fighting to a 12 round draw last year against former WBC super featherweight champion Francisco Vargas in June 2016.

“The next fight for Lomachenko will be this summer for [Orlando] Salido,” said Top Rank promoter Bob Arum to K.O Artist Sports about Lomachenko’s next fight. “We reached an understanding. Salido has a tune-up fight before that. That’s going to be the next fight. Lomachenko is a very smart guy and he explains all the options and he’s more than pleased to go into the ring against Salido,” said Arum.

Salido beat Lomachenko by a 12 round split decision in his second fight of the Ukrainian fighter’s career 3 years ago in March 2014. Lomachenko has wanted to avenge the defeat all these years, and only now is he finally getting a chance. This fight means that the 29-year-old Lomachenko isn’t quite ready to move up to the lightweight division to take on WBC champion Mikey Garcia.

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That’s a fight that Lomachenko has talked about wanting, but he would need to move up in weight and take a couple of fights before he faces Garcia. Lomachenko’s decision to fight Salido suggests that he’s not ready to take on the big punching Mikey. Lomachenko has his reasons for wanting to stay at 130. The only thing that you can think is that he might not be mentally ready to take the kind of risk involved in facing Garcia.

“Everything is possible,” said Arum to Villianfy Media about a fight between Lomachenko and Mikey Garcia. “Lomachenko to me is the best fighter in the world. Fine, if the numbers work out, why not?” said Arum.

Arum doesn’t sound nearly as excited about the fight with Mikey than he does in matching Lomachenko up with Salido. It could be that he sees victory as being attainable for his fighter than it would be if he fought Garcia.

Matching Lomachenko up against Salido at this point in his career greatly favors Lomachenko. Salido hasn’t won a fight in 3 years since his victory over Terdsak Kokietgym in September 2014. That was a long time ago. Since that fight, Salido has been beaten by Roman “Rocky” Martine and fought to consecutive draws against Martinez and Vargas. The 85-year-old Arum would obviously be counting on the casual boxing fans either not knowing that Salido hasn’t won a fight in 3 years or not caring how many defeats he has.

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I don’t think the fight will do nearly as well now than if Arum had put Lomachenko back in with Lomachenko immediately after his loss to Salido in 2014. That’s when Arum should have put the two fighters back inside the ring with one another, because it’s late in the game now for Salido. When you wait until one fighter is pretty much over-the-hill before making a rematch, then it takes away the drama and suspense involved in the fight. You can understand why Lomachenko would want to avenge the loss to Salido, but it’s hard to know how Lomachenko would feel good about a win over him at this stage in his career because he’s not the same fighter he was back in 2014 when he beat him.

Salido is making the right choice in taking the fight with Lomachenko now while he can still get it. If Salido were to drag his heels and not take the fight, he end up never facing him again if he loses to someone. Salido has taken a lot of punishment in his last 3 fights against Fernando Vargas and Martinez. Those were grueling fights for Salido, as well as his opponents. In contrast, Lomachenko hasn’t had any hard fights since his loss to Salido. Since that loss, Lomachenko has won his last 7 fights in beating Gary Russell Jr., Suriya Takahun, Gamalier Rodriguez, Romulo Koasicha, Roman Martinez, Nicholas Walters and Jason Sosa.

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Salido gave Lomachenko a beating in their fight in 2014. Salido didn’t make the same mistake that many of Lomachenko’s past opponents had made by head hunting the entire time. Salido threw body shots, and Lomachenko had no way of stopping the punches other than by holding excessively. The clinching that Lomachenko did in the fight should have led to him being penalized and disqualified by the referee, but he got away with it. Salido proved that he was the better fighter with the more professional fighting style. I don’t know if Lomachenko has improved since then. He’s fought a lot of beatable fighters. Salido may still have his number. We’re going to find out this summer. If Lomachenko loses for a second time against Salido, then Arum is going to need to reassess his thoughts about him and see him more as a vulnerable fighter.

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