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Lomachenko wants Mikey Garcia, Flanagan, Crawford or Salido

By Dan Ambrose: Vasyl Lomachenko made it look incredibly easy last Saturday night in dispatching Jason Sosa in the 9th round in their fight on HBO World Championship Boxing, but now he wants Mikey Garcia, Terence Crawford, Orlando Salido or Terry Flanagan. Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KOs) says he’s going to ask his promoters at Top Rank to get him a title fight against one of the other champions at super featherweight, and if they’re unable to do so, then he’ll be moving up to lightweight to go after champions Mikey Garcia and Terry Flanagan.

Mikey would be a good fight for Lomachenko because he’s a tremendous puncher to the head and body. He also has excellent hand speed. Above all, Mikey is smart, unlike the typical fighters we’ve seen Lomachenko fight lately. Lomachenko had problems when he fought Orlando Salido in 2014.

Salido threw his shots to the body, arms and shoulders of Lomachenko instead of at his head. There was no way that Lomachenko could get out of the way of Salido’s body shots because he always hit something. Lomachenko spent most of the fight holding Salido to keep him from throwing his body shots. Mikey is capable of doing exactly what Salido did, but he’d more dangerous because he’s a bigger puncher.

Lomachenko, 29, could have a difficult time trying to get the other 130lb champions to fight him, because there’s no real incentive for them to do so. They would get one payday fighting him, and it likely wouldn’t be a huge one. If the champions steer around Lomachenko, then they can keep their belts and potentially get a lot of decent paydays.

Lomachenko completely dominated former WBA World super featherweight champion Sosa (20-2-4, 15 KOs) until his corner stopped the fight after the 9th round at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

“I’m going to call [Top Rank chairman] Bob [Arum] and tell him I only want to fight champions,” said Lomachenko. “I am going to ask if we can get any of the 130-pound champions. If they refuse to fight, I’m going to move up to 135. I’d like to fight [titleholder Terry] Flanagan in England. [Titleholder Mikey] Garcia would be a great fight. I’d like to make that fight soon.”

Terence Crawford is the WBC/WBO light welterweight champion. Lomachenko would likely need to move up all the weight to 140 to make that fight happen, because Crawford is probably not going to be too receptive about moving down in weight to fight him at lightweight at 135. Lomachenko might be able to get Crawford to agree to fight him at a catch-weight of 137-138 pounds, but that’s so close to the 140 lb. weight limit for the light welterweight division, Lomachenko might as well take the fight at the full weight for the division if he really wants to fight Crawford.

I’m not sure that Lomachenko is seriously interested in taking the Crawford fight, because it would be a much harder fight than the guys that his promoters at Top Rank have been sticking in the ring with him. Top Rank has been feeding Lomachenko guys that didn’t have the size, power or the boxing skills to threaten him. Crawford and Mikey Garcia would be dangerous fights for Lomachenko, because of their punching power. They could miss all night with their shots, but if they catch Lomachenko with one good shots, it could be over for him.

It sounds like Lomachenko isn’t quite sure whether he wants to take the risky move of going up to 135 to tangle with the likes of Mikey Garcia. Once Lomachenko moves up in weight to the lightweight division, the boxing public is going to expect him to fight Mikey Garcia. If Lomachenko faces WBO champion Terry Flanagan instead, the fans are going to see him as ducking Garcia, because he’s viewed as the best fighter in the division.

You can make an argument that the next best fighter at lightweight after Mikey Garcia is probably Robert Easter Jr. followed by Jorge Linares. Flanagan is an OK fighter, but he can’t punch and he’s coming off of a poor performance against Petr Petrov last Saturday night. It would be too easy for Lomachenko to beat Flanagan. It wouldn’t be entertaining and the casual U.S boxing fans likely wouldn’t care, because they’ve never heard of Flanagan.

Lomachenko should probably think about moving up in weight right now rather than waiting because the chances of Top Rank getting him shot at one of the other champion at super featherweight are probably not very good. If they could get Lomachenko a title fight, they likely would have done so rather than sticking him in with a former champion Sosa. It was a bad fight. Sosa was so far out of his league that the fight was not entertaining to watch.

The punch stats for the Lomachenko-Sosa fight showed clearly what a mismatch the fight was last night. Lomachenko out-landed Sosa by a wide margin.

Lomachenko connected on 275 of 696 punches for a connect percentage of 40, according to CompuBox. Sosa landed only 68 of 286 punches for a 24% connect percentage. It was not even close. That’s the way Sosa is. He throws a lot of punches, and misses frequently. Sosa usually wins his fights by his relentless fighting style, and his strong chin. Against Lomachenko, those qualities weren’t going to be good enough for him to get the ‘W’ in this fight.

Sosa didn’t have the defensive skills to block the incoming from Lomachenko. Sosa also fought a poor fight. He didn’t throw to the body the way that is needed against a guy with the kind of head movement that Lomachenko possesses. Sosa was throwing mostly head shots, and he never made the adjustment to start throwing body shots.

“I couldn’t really execute anything,” Sosa said. “He’s just a great fighter.

When you head hunt against Lomachenko, you’re going to have problems, and that’s what Sosa was doing all night long. He was aiming his shots to the head of Mikey rather than to the body. Sosa threw his shots with maximum power against a fighter who was focusing on throwing faster punches with more speed. Sosa was never going to win the fight by loading up on his shots, because he was missing and getting countered repeatedly by Lomachenko.

The right approach would have been for Sosa to take some of the power off of his shots and to focus on throwing speedy punches and lots of jabs. Sosa did neither last night. He was swinging for the fences by putting everything into his punches, and he rarely jabbed.

“The first time we fought it was like a third-grader fighting a 12th-grader,” Lomachenko said. “I’ve now graduated to the university, and I want to invite Salido to my university. And I’m working my way toward [unified junior welterweight world champion] Terence Crawford. I know that’s a big fight, and I know people want to see it,” said Lomachenko.

A rematch against Salido would have made sense three years ago in 2014 shortly after Lomachenko lost to him, but right now, I don’t think the fight is worth it. Salido is now 36-years-old, and he hasn’t won a fight in three years since 2014. Why would Lomachenko want to fight Salido now? It would be a move that would be similar to what we’re seeing with Saul Canelo Alvarez fighting guys that are no longer in their prime like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., James Kirkland, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan and Alfredo Angulo. Canelo seems to be mainly interested in fighting guys when they’re no longer at their best.

If Lomachenko starts doing that too by fighting Salido now, I don’t think it would be worth it for him. Lomachenko is better off moving up to lightweight and looking to beat Mikey Garcia, Robert Easter Jr. and Jorge Linares. After that, Lomachenko can move up to fight Terence Crawford at light welterweight. I wouldn’t bother fighting Flanagan if I were Lomachenko, because I think he’s the least talented lightweight champion.




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