Arum says Mikey Garcia MUST fight Vasily Lomachenko at 135
By Dan Ambrose: Mikey Garcia will have to come down to 135 to face Vasily Lomachenko if he wants that unification fight with him, says Top Rank boss Bob Arum. The promoter says it can’t be a pound over the 135 lb weigh-in limit, and Mikey (39-1, 30 KOs) will need to have his WBC lightweight title in his possess for the fight.
Arum wants Garcia to understand that his marketability has taken a huge hit with his loss to Errol Spence Jr. last March, and he’s not going to be able to come into the Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs) fight as the A-side. Arum has it all mapped out what his plans are for Lomachenko. If Mikey decides he doesn’t want to move back down to lightweight, then Arum says he’ll look to make a fight between Lomachenko and Luke Campbell for Mikey’s vacated World Boxing Council 135 lb title.
“As far as Mikey Garcia is concerned, he’s got to understand that his marketability was hurt by the Spence fight, and the fact that he didn’t really try to win,”“So that being said, Lomachenko and Garcia would be a good good fight that we would be wanting to do it. But Garcia would have to do it at 135 pounds; not one pound more. Keep the WBC title. Put that up for grabs. Let Lomachenko fight for his two titles. If that’s not possible; Commey is a possibility.”
Hopefully, Arum isn’t holding his breath waiting for Mikey Garcia to come back down to 135 to take him up on his offer to fight Lomachenko in that weight class. It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. This is one of those fights that the politics of boxing will ultimately prevent from happening. It’s smart for Arum to name drop Mikey Garcia’s name frequently during the week of Lomachenko’s fights to get the public excited about a future match between him and Mikey, but it’s unlikely the two of them will ever fight each other while they’re in their prime.
Mikey hasn’t said what his plans are as of yet. It’s been less than a month since he was soundly thrashed by IBF welterweight champion Spence (25-0, 21 KOs) in an ill advised move up to 147. Garcia, 31, thought his boxing skills would be more than enough for him to neutralize the size, power and youth advantage of Spence, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. Spence, with his Olympic experience, was the better boxer of the two by far, and was able to defeat Garcia by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision in a fight that some boxing fans saw as a boring affair. Garcia was so over-matched that it wasn’t entertaining to watch.
Lomachenko will be defending his WBA/WBO lightweight titles this Friday night on ESPN+ against his World Boxing Association mandatory Anthony Crolla (34-6-3, 13 KOs) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Gabriel “Zurdo” Ramirez will be moving up to light heavyweight to battle it out with former world title challenger Tommy Karpency.
“If Garcia isn’t going to keep the 135 lb title, whoever gets that, then Loma wants to fight that guy and come in with four titles and fight a big, big fight with the upstart kid with the big mouth, who I love and fights for us, Teofimo Lopez,” Arum said in continuing to map out the future for Lomachenko. “He [Teofimo] was in the Olympics, but didn’t do that great. That takes balls to call Loma out. That fight [Lomachenko vs. Teofimo] will definitely happen. With Teofimo, it’s like a stallion. When you’re training a stallion, you want to bring it along slowly. This kid is like a horse that can’t wait to get out of the gate and run around the track at full speed. He’s like a freight train that I can’t slow up. Will he be ready when he fights Loma? He sure thinks he is. My match-makers may have other things in mind. Again, if that’s what he [Teofimo] wants, and that’s what he thinks he can accomplish, I’m not going to stop him, because I can’t stop him,” Arum said about Teofimo being driven to take on and dethrone Lomachenko as WBA/WBO lightweight champion.
It’s looking like Mikey isn’t going to keep his WBC lightweight title by moving back down in weight. It’s possible that Mikey could lose the weight that he packed on during his months of training at the SNAC facility to get ready for the Spence fight last March, but the payoff for him may not be worth it. If the WBC insists that Mikey defend against mandatory Luke Campbell, then that’ll need to be the next fight he takes. There’s not going to be the kind of money for Mikey in fighting Campbell that he recently got for the Spence fight. Moreover, it would be a tough fight for Mikey to take in facing Campbell after losing all that weight, and getting beaten badly by Spence. The weight loss would be hard for Mikey to deal with if he faces Lomachenko next like Arum wants him do. Mikey would be losing not only fat in dropping back down to lightweight, but also muscle. Losing muscle can sometimes have disastrous effects for a fighter coming down in weight.
If Mikey stays at welterweight, which would be the more logical option, he can make good money fighting Marcos Maidana, Keith Thurman, Manny Pacquiao, Danny Garcia or Shawn Porter. Those are all nice paydays for Mikey. Moving down to 140 is a dead end for Mikey, because there are no big names in that weight class. The 140 lb division has a lot of talented fighters, but none of them have the popularity going for them that the top welterweights have.
Arum is going to need to have Lomachenko move back down to super featherweight if he wants to put him in a big fight against someone the boxing public wants to see him face like Gervonta “Tank” Davis. If Oscar Valdez moves up from featherweight to super featherweight, he could face Lomachenko in that division in a big money fight.