Arum wants Lomachenko to fight Crolla this summer
By Scott Gilfoid: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is planning on having his star fighter WBA lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko fly over to the UK to defend against former WBA 135 lb champion Anthony Crolla in the summer, provided that Loma defeats the winner of the February 2 fight between Richard Commey and Isa Chaniev for the IBF title on April 12. Crolla (34-6-3, 13 KOs) is rated #2 with the World Boxing Association, below his former conqueror Jorge Linares.
Commey-Chaniev will be fighting for the IBF title that Mikey Garcia recently vacated last November after winning the belt last year in July in beating Robert Easter Jr. The International Boxing Federation wanted Mikey to defend the belt against Richard Commey, but he had no interest in doing that, so he vacated the IBF strap, and is now temporarily moving up to welterweight to challenge IBF 147 lb champion Errol Spence Jr. on March 16.
“We’re doing a fight February 2 (Richard Comney vs. Isa Chaniev), for the vacant IBF lightweight title and both guys have signed to meet Lomachenko in April,” Arum said to talksport.com. “If that happens, that will be his next fight. For the summer, I’d like to bring him [Lomachenko] over here (to London, or somewhere in the UK) and arrange this Crolla [fight]. I know Loma would love to fight in the UK.”
There’s money to be made for Lomachenko and Top Rank by going over to the UK to beat Crolla in front of his boxing fans. However, there’s better things for Lomachenko to do with his career rather than beating up on a fading fighter like Crolla. In essence, Lomachenko is getting Jorge Linares’ leftovers in fighting Crolla. That just seems like a wrong-headed move on Arum’s part to have Lomachenko waste his career fighting guys like that. Of course, if this is a move for Top Rank get in close with Eddie Hearn and his Matchroom sport promotion, then by all means, it’s a great move.
If having Lomachenko fight one of Hearn’s fighters like Crolla results in other fights being made between Top Rank and Matchroom, like Anthony Joshua vs. Bryant Jennings, then so be it. It’s not a bad idea for Arum to take Lomachenko over to the UK to beat Crolla. It would basically be a stay busy fight for Lomachenko to face a limited guy like Crolla, because he’s clearly not in the same league as Loma talent-wise. It looks bad that Crolla twice lost to a guy Lomachenko recently knocked out in Jorge Linares.
Lomachenko vs. Crolla is not a fight that the American boxing fans are interested in seeing. The U.S fans that know of Crolla remember him from losing twice to Jorge Linares, and looking poor recently in beating Daud Yordan and Ricky Burns. Those performances were not impressive from Crolla. He was lucky to beat Burns in October 2017. Crolla was given a 12 round draw in his first fight against Darleys Perez in a fight that he arguably should have lost. In that fight, referee Howard John Foster twice deducted points from Perez in rounds 11 and 12 for low blows. The first point deduction came while Crolla was pulling Perez’s head down with his arms. Normally, referee’s give warnings to the fighter that is pulling down on the opponent’s head. In this case, Foster docked a point from the visiting fighter Perez. The fight took place in Manchester, England. In the 12th, Perez landed a belt line shot, and once again, Foster took a point away. With those two point deductions, Crolla was given a draw. If the referee stayed out of it, Crolla would have lost the fight.
Arum wants Lomachenko to focus on trying to unify the division. It might not be worth the time that Lomachenko puts into endeavor, as the boxing fans don’t care about the Ukrainian fighter unifying against little known fighters. They want to see Lomachenko face the guys that they’ve heard of like Mikey Garcia, Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, Alberto Machado, Miguel Berchelt, Regis Prograis, Jose Ramirez, Maurice Hooker, Josh Taylor, Ivan Baranchyk and Kiryl Relikh. If Lomachenko wants to be popular, he shouldn’t concern himself in winning titles against little known fighters like Commey and Chaniev.
While some UK boxing fans would like to see Lomachenko come over to the fight Crolla, a lot of them wouldn’t be so keen on seeing that fight made. Luke Campbell has done more to deserve a fight against Lomachenko than Crolla has. Look at Crolla’s record in his last five fights: 3-2. That’s not a good a record, is it? When you throw in the controversy surrounding Crolla’s win over Burns in 2017, you can argue that his record should b 2-3 in his last five fights. Further, if you go back all the way to Crolla’s first fight against Darleys Perez in 2015, he arguably should have four losses in his last eight fights. In other word, Crolla would have a 4-4 record in his last 8 fights if things had worked out differently in his first fight against Perez, and in his fight with Burns. If Crolla had that many losses in his last eight fights, he would be a journeyman right now, which you he pretty much is in this view of this writer. That’s why it seems like such a waste of time for Lomachenko to face Crolla instead of someone good and/or someone that the U.S boxing fans care about. Lomachenko vs. Machado, Berchelt or Gervonta Davis would be much better fights than Lomachenko-Crolla.
Crolla is not going to beat Lomachenko. That’s a pipe dream if he thinks he’s going to do that. The only thing that’s open for debate in terms of the Lomachenko-Crolla fight is whether Crolla quits during the fight or if he stopped in the traditional sense by being dropped. The fight is a horrible mismatch.
Top Rank needs to either workout a deal with one of the top super featherweights like Davis, Berchelt or Machado or they should have Lomachenko move up to 140 and challenge the winner of the World Boxing Super Series light welterweight tournament. If Top Rank wants to turn Lomachenko into a star, then they’ve got to put him in situations where he’s taking a big risk. Let’s be real. Lomachenko is not going to be taking a risk facing Crolla. That’s not a risky fight. That’s a mismatch for Lomachenko, and that’s why he’s not increasing his popularity. Top Rank is putting Lomachenko into too many fights where he’s a huge favorite, and he’s not facing guys that can potentially beat him like Prograis, Davis, Berchelt, Machado, Jose Ramirez, Josh Taylor, Hooker or Relikh. Lomachenko needs to move up in weight to the 140 lb weight class because there’s no one for him to fight at lightweight. Lomachenko is getting older, and becoming injury prone.