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Mikey Garcia wants Lomachenko to win a title at 135 before he faces him

Mikey Garcia Vasyl Lomachenko

By Dan Ambrose: WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (35-0, 30 KOs) says a fight between him and WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KOs) can definitely happen, possibly in 2017 or 2018, but he wants him to move up to the lightweight division, fight a couple of times and win a title before he faces him.

Mikey wants Lomachenko to prove himself at 135 before he’ll fight him, because he feels he’ll be discredited if he beats him if the two of them face each other next without the Ukrainian having tested himself at lightweight first.

Lomachenko, 29, called Mikey out last Saturday night after his 9th round knockout win over former WBA super featherweight champion Jason Sosa on HBO World Championship Boxing. Lomachenlo performed flawlessly in beating Sosa every which way until his corner was forced to stop the figh after the 9th round due to the fight having gotten way out of hand with Lomachenko dominating him. Lomachenko said after the fight that he wants his promoter Bob Arum to either put him in a title fight against one of the other champions at super featherweight or he would move up in weight to fight Mikey Garcia or Terry Flanagan.

“He had a good performance, a good fight,” said Mikey Garcia to about Lomachenko’s win over Jason Sosa last Saturday night. “He showed the skills, and he mentioned my name after the fight. Max [Kellerman] brought my name up as maybe the only challenge for him. If he does move up to 135, we’ll definitely discuss that. He has to go ahead and call Bob [Arum] and let him know that’s what he wants and have Bob call me. We can discuss that, and we can get that in the works. We just have to talk. I can talk to Bob directly. Bosses talk to bosses. Bob needs to talk to me,” said Mikey.

Lomachenko may need to do a little pushing with his promoter for him to make the fight with Mikey happen. It’s unclear whether Top Rank will be open to letting Lomachenko fight Mikey. If Lomachenko pushes the issue, he should be able to get the fight. I don’t know if the fight will happen if Lomachenko is passive and lets Top Rank match him against the guys they want to. Mikey is no longer in the Top Rank stable, so it’s not a fight that would be a natural one for them to make.

“I’m not surprised, because Lomachenko believes in himself so much,” said Mikey when asked whether he was surprised that Lomachenko called him out last Saturday night after his win over Sosa. “He wants the bigger challenges. They ask him, and I’m sure he’s going to say, yes, especially 135 is not too far off from 130. It could be a fight that could be done real, real soon. It could definitely be done. I know he’s got the skills. He definitely has the skills. We could maybe get the fight soon, maybe this year or maybe next year. I think [Jorge] Linares is the more interesting fight now still, because he is already champion at 135. A fight with [Terry] Flanagan is interesting. Those two names stand out the most.

It sounds like Mikey is ambivalent about the Lomachenko fight. Saying he’d rather fight Linares and Flanagan than Lomachenko suggests that Mikey isn’t in a hurry to fight him.

Lomachenko needs to move up to 135 first, and have a fight at 135 before it could be a serious talk. Right now, if that fight against Lomachenko were to be next and I happen to beat him and knock him out, people would discredit me, saying I was too big, that it’s not his weight class. So let him take the fight, and get at 135. Let him get a fight or two, a title fight so he can actually be a bigger name.

Lomachenko might stay at super featherweight for a little while longer if his promoters can get him fights against the other champions. There are 3 champions that Lomachenko can still fight, and there’s also a rematch with Orlando Salido that he’s interested in. If Top Rank can get Lomachenko all of those fights, it could tie him up at super featherweight for another 2 years. Mikey would be asking a lot of Lomachenko if he still wanted him to fight 2 times at lightweight before he would face him. 2 fights would likely mean another year on top of the 2 years that Lomachenko could remain at super featherweight. We might be talking about 3 years before Lomachenko fights Mikey Garcia. That’s a long time to wait. Will Mikey still be the same fighter he is today if the fight with Lomachenko marinates for 3 years? I doubt it.

“He’s not hype. He’s got skills,” said Mikey Garcia about Lomachenko. “Now let’s see if he can do that against guys at another level. That’s the thing. I compare that to Triple G. Triple G was just bull-dozing everybody. The level wasn’t as great. He fought Daniel Jacobs, who was at another level, and he wasn’t able to perform the same. So let’s see if Lomachenko can do with somebody else. Just because he beat a champion doesn’t mean he’s the greatest. There’s levels of champions,” said Garcia.

It’s definitely true that Lomachenko might not be the same fighter at lightweight that he’s been at super featherweight if he gets with someone good in that division. We just don’t know. In looking at the current lightweight champions, Terry Flanagan, Jorge Linares and Mikey Garcia, I think Lomachenko would have an excellent chance of beating at least 2 of those fighters. Lomachenko has the boxing skills and the ring IQ to beat Mikey Garcia. The only thing we don’t know is how the 5’6” Lomachenko react to being inside the ring with someone bigger and stronger than him like the 5’7” Mikey. I don’t think Mikey will have enough of a size advantage over Lomachenko for him to blast through him based on size alone. Mikey will need to bring some boxing skills with him for him to defeat a guy like Lomachenko.

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