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Arum: If Lomachenko beats Linares, he’ll then face Beltran or Mikey Garcia

Jorge Linares Mikey Garcia Vasyl Lomachenko

By Chris Williams: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says he’s going to look to place Vasyl Lomacheno in a unification fight against either WBO lightweight champion Ray Beltran or WBC champion Mikey Garcia if he beats Jorge Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) in their fight this Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Arum says Lomchenko, 30, won’t be fighting WBA super featherweight champion Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis if he beats Linares. That’s not a fight that he’ll be looking to make. It’s unclear whether Arum would make the Lomachenko-Davis fight if there was interest on Davis’ part. Davis recently said that it’s too early for him to be fighting Lomachenko, so that rules out any chance of the two fighters facing each other right now.

“If Vasyl Lomachenko wins [against Jorge Linares], he’ll probably look to fight a unification match, either against Ray Beltran or Mikey Garcia,” Arum said to IFL TV.

I see Beltran being next for Lomachenko all the way. When Arum presents two fighters and one of them being a Top Rank stable guy, his fighters often end up facing his own guys than the non-Top Rank guy. It doesn’t matter that much. Lomachenko hasn’t been fighting great guys anyway, which is why he’s not super popular. We’ve seen a lot of less than thrilling fights invoving Lomachenko and Jason Sosa, Miguel Marriaga, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Romulo Koasicha and Suriya Takahun.

Rigondeaux is a good fighter, but the fact that he has to move up 2 weight classes and fight Lomachenko without a catch-weight was hardly fair. If Lomachenko moved up two weight classes from super featherweight to face Regis Prograis or Terence Crawford, he would be in a world of hurt. Those guys are so much bigger and stronger than Lomachenko. It would be worse than what Orlando Salido did to Lomachenko. It would be a methodical beating. There are limitations to what Lomachenko can do. He’s a good fighter, but a good big fighter beats a good little fighter almost every time.

Mikey Garcia would be a great option for Lomachenko to fight next, but it’s difficult to see Arum making that fight when he has his own fighter Beltran waiting on the sidelines. Beltran is one of Arum’s Top Rank stable fighters and he often pits his own fighters against each other rather than looking outside of his promotional company. That works out well for Arum’s fighters if they’re lucky enough to be matched repeatedly against his popular guys. Tim Bradley is an example of that.

Arum matched him against Manny Pacquiao three times, and he made a bundle from those fights. This was back when Pacquiao was a big PPV attraction. He’s no longer that guy unfortunately. Mikey will eventually get the fight with Lomachenko, but it’ll likely have to wait until Arum has matched the 2-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist against Beltran once or twice. There’s also a possibility that Pacquiao could face Lomachenko in the near future if he beats WBA ‘regular’ Welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse in their fight on July 15 in Malaysia. Mikey might end up having to wait until both Beltran and Pacquiao fight Lomachenko.

Arum is letting Lomachenko fight a non-Top Rank fighter in Linares, but there’s a big difference between the risk that he poses and the risk Mikey Garcia poses. Mikey can KO Lomachenko with a single punch if he hits him cleanly. It’s a different story with Linares. He needs to land a lot of shots over a long period of time for him to knockout Lomachenko, and that’s going to be hard for him to do unless he commits to the body. Lomachenko can’t take body shots. We saw that in his loss to Orlando Salido. Lomachenko was holding on all night long to prevent Salido from hitting him more to the body. It was a real nightmare for Lomachenko.

If Arum can stick it out in the negotiations for a Mikey Garcia vs. Lomachenko fight, then that might take place his year if he gets past Linares. But I can’t see Arum sticking it out for long in trying to negotiate a Garcia-Lomachenko fight without him pulling out of the negotiations abruptly and then turning around and matching Lomachenko against one of his Top Rank guys. It’s so much easier for Arum to keep Lomachenko fighting his own fighters, because then he doesn’t have to deal with negotiations the way he would if he had to work with another promoter.

Lomachenko won’t be matched up with horrible fighters by Arum. Beltran is a good basic fighter, but he’s not Mikey and the boxing public is not going to be excited at seeing Lomachenko fight Beltran. Pacquiao would be a good option for Lomachenko, but it remains to be seen whether that fight will happen. If Matthysse knocks out Pacquiao on July 15, then it won’t matter if Arum matches the soon to be 40-year-old Filipino star against Lomachenko. The interest from the boxing fans in a Pacquiao-Lomachenko fight won’t be there. The fans will want Pacquiao to retire if he gets knocked cold by Matthysse in the same way he was by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012.

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