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Mikey Garcia says he wants Lomachenko fight next summer

By Chris Williams: Mikey Garcia says he’s ready and willing to fight Vasyl Lomachenko next year in the summer once he moves up to the lightweight division. However, Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) has strong doubts that Lomachenko’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank will let him take the fight with him.

Mikey says he doesn’t see Top Rank giving him a serious offer to face Lomachenko. He sees Arum as just talking about wanting Lomachenko to fight him, but without any real serious intent in ever making that fight.

Mikey was with Top Rank for most of his career until parting ways with them last year. The two sides didn’t end things well.

Mikey points out that Lomachenko has been talking about wanting to fight him for over a year now, but instead of moving up to the lightweight division for them to face each other, he’s stayed at super featherweight and has been beating smaller fighters like Miguel Marriaga and Guillermo Rigondeaux.

“He’s got to move up to 135, really,” said Mikey Garcia to Fighthype in talking about Lomachenko. ”It was over a year ago that he first mentioned he wants to fight me after he beat [Jason] Sosa. He goes in after that and he fights [Miguel] Marriaga, who just came off of a loss to [Oscar] Valdez, another smaller guy. Now he fights this guy [Guillermo Rigondeaux] 2 classes below. I know what Top Rank is doing. They’re building a star in him and winning. I don’t know if they’re going to be willing to try and get a fight with me,” said Garcia.

The 29-year-old Lomachenko talks of wanting to move up to 135, but then he does nothing about it and continues to stay at 130. You can’t blame Lomachenko. He’s got things good for him at super featherweight with Top Rank pulling fighters up from the super bantamweight and featherweight divisions to fight him. Lomachenko uses his size advantage to beat smaller fighters, and then the boxing public gets excited about him because he’s looking good in those size mismatches.

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Lomachenko has shown no real interest in moving up to lightweight for some reason. Mikey might have Lomachenko scared to make the move up. But even if Lomachenko does make the move up to 135, his promoters at Top Rank likely won’t put him in with Mikey. The word is that if Lomachenko does move up to lightweight in 2018, he’ll be fighting the winner of the Ray Beltran vs. Paulus Moses fight. Top Rank promotes Beltran, so it would be another in house fight involving Top Rank fighters if Lomachenko faces him next year. Beltran and Moses will be fighting for the vacant WBO lightweight title.

There’s a good possibility that one of the main reasons that Arum is telling the boxing media that Lomachenko will move up to lightweight and make a joke of champions Mikey and Jorge Linares is because it increases his fighter’s popularity for him to do this. Arum is name dropping by mentioning Mikey’s name relating to Lomachenko.

If he did move up to 135, and if they were actually serious about it, then hell yeah, let’s sit down and talk about it. But I know Bob Arum hasn’t expressed much interest. Lomachenko and his team are down for it, but I don’t know if Top Rank is up for it. That’s his fighter,” said Mikey in talking about Arum bragging about Lomachenko being able to beat him and Jorge Linares at 135. “He has to promote his fighter. He’s saying Lomachenko is better than any other fighter he’s ever promoted. He promoted me. He promoted Floyd [Mayweather Jr.]. He promoted [Sugar Ray] Leonard. He promoted [Muhammad] Ali. He’s claiming Lomachenko is better than all of those guys. People don’t believe it. I don’t think many people believe that, but that’s his fighter,” said Mikey.

Arum has been saying lately that Lomchenko is in the same class as Muhammad Ali even though he was already beaten by Orlando Salido in 2014. Mikey defeated Salido with ease in 2013. The way Mikey looked in beating Salido was much better than the way Lomachenko looked in losing to Salido.

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“It doesn’t need to be built up,” said Mikey about a fight against Lomachenko. “It could happen next year in 2018 if they’re serious. Let’s say he’s going to fight in April or May. I’m going to be fighting in early 2018. So, maybe we can do it in early summer. If he wants to get back in the ring and move up to 135, we might be able to do that if they can make me a strong enough offer. Then I’ll make him an offer, and then we’ll see if he’s willing to take it. That’s the only way it’s going to go down. I’m pretty sure they’re not going to want to offer me anything serious. So, I’ll have to counter them with an offer that makes sense for him for him, and we can get it done like that. But is Top Rank going to let me come in as his opponent? I seriously doubt that. That’s what’s probably going to keep that fight from ever happening. Top Rank isn’t going to allow that,” said Mikey.

It’s hard to disagree with Mikey about Top Rank likely dragging their feet on putting together a fight between him and Lomachenko. Ultimately what will likely happen is the fight won’t get made due to the money. Lomachenko received a 75/25 split of the revenue for his fight against Rigondeaux last Saturday. If a similar offer was made by Top Rank to Mikey Garcia for a fight against Lomachenko, then that’s not going to be taken seriously by him. Mikey will likely want at least a 50-50 deal for a fight against Lomachenko. If he’s offered anything short of that, then we’re probably not going to see that fight ever happening.

Lomachenko’s best bet for fights in the future at lightweight are fights against fellow Top Rank fighters Ray Beltran and Felix Verdejo. After that, it could be difficult to match Lomachenko unless he’s able to branch out into the pay-per-view arena. If Lomachenko is willing to take the same risk Rigondeaux made in moving up 2 weight classes, then he can fight Terence Crawford a 147. A fight between Lomachenko and Crawford would make a good money, and it would be a Top Rank show without them having to deal with another promoter. That’s the fight that Lomachenko needs to take. He’ll likely lose, but it’ll increase his popularity if he doesn’t get beaten too badly by Crawford.

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I get the feeling that Arum is trying to build Lomachenko into a star the easy way without him taking risks against guys his own size and bigger. Lomachenko’s biggest win of his career was his victory over Rigondeaux, who was dragged up 2 divisions from super bantamweight to take the fight. Lomachenko had every advantage you could think of for the Rigondeaux fight in terms of size, power, youth, promotion and the purse split. Rigondeaux never stood a chance. Would Lomachenko be willing to give someone the same advantages over him like Crawford? Probably now, which is why that fight has never happened and likely never will. Lomachenko isn’t going to gain too much popularity fighting no names at lightweight though. Lomachenko is going to need to take a career risk sooner or later.

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