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Lomachenko to fight in December on ESPN

Guillermo Rigondeaux Orlando Salido Vasyl Lomachenko Miguel Berchelt


By Chris Williams: Vasyl Lomachenko will be back inside the ring in 4 months in December on ESPN to defend his WBO super featherweight title, possibly in New York. The opponent for the 29-year-old Ukrainian is one of these 3 candidates: Guillermo Rigondeaux, Miguel Berchelt and Orlando Salido.

Lomachenko’s promoter Bob Arum has already made contact with Rigondeaux’s promoters at Roc Nation Sports, and they’ve tentatively agreed to the money for a Lomachenko-Rigiondeaux fight. However, Arum is complaining that Rigondeaux won’t get on the phone with his promoter Dino Duva for some reason. The way Arum talks, Rigondeaux might not be the guy that Lomachenko faces next. Of course, there are two sides of every equation, and we don’t know what Rigondeaux’s take on this is.

Arum told espn.com that he and Rigondeaux’s promoter Duva have “sort of agreed on a number [of dollars] and the kid [Rigondeaux] won’t get on the phone with Dino. We’ll get guys in with Lomachenko. You just have to pay them.”

It’s unclear how interested in Arum is in making the Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux fight. If he’s going to give up easily on the negotiations with Rigondeaux, then you have to wonder how interested he is in making that fight. Rigondeaux already beat one of Arum’s top fighters in the past in Nonito Donaire back in 2013, and his career never recovered from that loss.

If Lomachenko ended up getting beaten by Rigondeaux too, I don’t think his career would ever recover. It’s taken this long for Lomachenko to recover from his loss to Orlando Salido in 2014. Yeah, we’ve heard plenty of excuses about why Lomachenko lost to Salido, as the defeat was blamed on Salido having a weight advantage. The boxing fans weren’t too sympathetic with the damage control on Lomachenko’s loss. But since then, Lomachenko has done a good job of putting together a string of victories against beatable guys. However, Lomachenko still hasn’t faced Rigondeaux or Mikey Garcia. Both of those guys have been interested in fighting the Ukrainian Lomachenko for quite some time, but they’ve been unable to get him into the ring. So instead of Arum making those fights, he’s been feeding Lomachenko guys like Miguel Marriaga, Roman Martinez and Jason Sosa. Lomachenko is winning and looking better than he probably is, but the boxing public wants him to step it up already against quality opponents in Rigondeaux and/or Mikey Garcia.

It’s not a good sign though that Arum is sounding less than enthusiastic about putting in the hard work to put together a fight between Lomachenko and Rigondeaux. At the end of the day, if Arum gives up on the Rigondeaux fight, it’s Lomachenko that winds up not seeing his career move forward. Beating the likes of Marriaga is not going to take Lomachenko’s career to the next level.

“I think there’s a few guys. There’s Rigondeaux if he answers Dino’s call. There’s [Orlando] Salido. And there’s (Miguel) Berchelt, who has a world title,” said Arum.

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