Lomachenko beats Crolla, calls out Mikey Garcia
By Jeff Aranow: Moments after destroying WBA mandatory challenger Anthony Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KOs) by a fourth round knockout last Friday night in front of a big crowd of 10,101 fans at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, WBA/WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) called out WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs) to ask him to face him inside the ring in his next fight in a unification match. Lomachenko wants to unify the 135 lb weight class, and he needs Mikey’s World Boxing Council belt, as well as Richard Commey’s IBF strap for him to accomplish that task.
After the Crolla fight, Lomachenko said this in making it known that he wants to fight Mikey: “Look, everyone wants this fight with Mikey. It all depends on his size and weight. If he can cut the weight, but I can’t go to 140 now,” said Lomachenko.
On one hand, Lomachenko said he can’t go to 140, but then in his next breath he floated the idea of fighting fellow Top Rank fighter WBC light welterweight champion Jose Carlos Ramirez (24-0, 16 KOs), who obviously fights at 140. It’s unclear whether Lomachenko would insist that the 2012 U.S Olympian Ramirez drain down to 135 or if he would move to either fight him at a catch-weight or at the full 140 lbs for the light welterweight division. The 5’10” Ramirez, 26, already looks bone thin at 140. Asking him to drain down to 135 to fight Lomachenko would likely leave him too thin to put up a decent fight. Besides that, Ramirez isn’t considered the best fighter at light welterweight by boxing fans. He’s not even considered the fourth best fighter at 140.
The guys that are viewed by fans as the most talented fighters at light welterweight are as follows: Regis Prograis, Josh Taylor, Ivan Baranchyk, Vergil Ortiz and Maurice Hooker. The two things that Jose Ramirez has going for him in a fight with Lomachenko is he’s with the same promoters at Top Rank Boxing, and he holds the WBC 140 lb title. That would help validate Lomachenko in the eyes of the casual boxing fans if he were to beat Ramirez rather than the arguably more talented light welterweights like Prograis, Hooker, Taylor, Ortiz, and Baranchyk.
“You have to understand he went up to 147. It’s difficult to come back down. It’s up to Mikey. I can’t speak for him,” Lomachenko’s promoter Bob Arum said after the fight.
Mikey Garcia is expected to let the World Boxing Council know soon about whether he’ll return to the lightweight division to defend his WBC title against his mandatory challenger Luke Campbell, fight WBA/WBO lightweight champion Lomachenko in a unification or move up permanently to either 140 or 147. It’s thought that Mikey will stay at 147, even though he was recently easily beaten in that weight class by IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision on March 16 last month on Fox Sports PPV at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. There’s big money for Mikey to make fighting the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia. At lightweight, the money fight for Mikey is against Lomachenko, and that fight likely wouldn’t do as well as a money fight against Pacquiao or Thurman.
“I think most hard will be [Luke] Campbell. Second place is Mikey, and second, Mikey,” Lomachenko said when asked after the fight for him to rank the following fighters in terms of which one would be the toughest for him: Mikey Garcia, Luke Campbell and Teofimo Lopez.
It’s hard to know how serious Lomachenko is in ranking the 31-year-old southpaw Luke Campbell above Mikey Garcia. For the boxing fans that have seen 2012 Olympic gold medalist Campbell (20-2, 16 KOs) lose to Jorge Linares and Yvan Mendy in the past, it makes no sense for Lomachenko to rank him above Mikey or Teofimo Lopez. It’s quite possible that Lomachenko’s list is backwards on purpose due to him not being happy with Teofimo and Mikey due to the trash talking they’ve done about him in the past.
“It would be great to fight Luke Campbell in England. He is also an Olympian like me. [Jose Carlos] Ramirez is also an Olympian. I have no problem fighting him,” Lomachenko said.
Again, it’s difficult to believe that Lomachenko would go up to 140 to fight Jose Ramirez. Lomachenko hasn’t been that type of fighter to give his opponents an advantage. For example, when Lomachenko fought Guillermo Rigondeaux in 2017, he had the the two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist move up all the way from super bantamweight to super featherweight without the benefit of meeting him halfway at featherweight or giving him a catch-weight. Rigondeaux complained about it, but he still agreed to make the fight with Lomachenko, as it afforded him a big payday. Jose Ramirez might wind up in the same position of having to move to Lomachenko’s weight class to fight him, as he doesn’t have the cache to negotiate a weight on even terms.
“Next stop for Vasyl, maybe Chicago,” Lomachenko’s promoter Arum said abut Loma’s next fight at the post-fight news conference last Friday night.
It’s pretty clear that Lomachenko’s next fight will be against IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey (28-2, 25 KOs). He’s got the International Boxing Federation lightweight belt that Lomachenko wants, and he’s already made it clear that he’s willing to fight him next. That’s enough of a reason for Lomachenko, 31, to fight him next, unless a fight against Luke Campbell or Mikey Garcia presents itself. The reason why Lomachenko would want to jump on a fight against Campbell, 32, is because he’s from the UK, and this would be a fight that could take place potentially in a stadium in the UK, and be shown on Sky Box Office PPV. In other words, there’s a lot of money for Lomachenko to scoop up in fighting Campbell in a unificaton fight rather than Commey. There’s no PPV money in a fight with Commey, as the U.S boxing fans aren’t overly familiar with him. The hardcore fans that have seen Commey fight remember how he lost to Robert Easter Jr. and Denis Shafikov in back to back fights in 2016. Commey has won his last four fights against soft opposition since those two losses.
“After the second round,” Lomachenko said when asked at what point did he realize it was going to be an easy fight against Crolla. “I thought it would be very hard for me because of his style. He is always on defense. I thought it would be very hard for me, because I always need to find a key to his defense. So after the second round, I understand him. It is what it is,” Lomachenko said.
The way that Lomachenko fought last night, he could have stopped Crolla at any time in the fight. It was a mismatch of epic proportions. Crolla is a guy that was beaten TWICE by Jorge Linares, a fighter that Lomachenko beat last year by a 10th round knockout. Just that fact alone made the Lomachenko-Crolla encounter a farce. Lomachenko was never excited about this fight from the day it was announced, and that didn’t change on the week of the fight. Lomachenko made it painfully obvious to the media what he thought of the fight with Crolla by saying, “it is what it is.” Loma didn’t treat Crolla like a threat last night, as he went right after him full steam ahead to knock him out in the fourth. The reason the fight lasted that long is because Lomachenko isn’t a puncher. If he had good power like Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Teofimo Lopez, he likely would have gotten Crolla out of there in the first round.
“I thought the referee because he jumped in between us, and showed both hands, and I understand that maybe it’s stopped. That’s why I celebrated,” Lomachenko said in talking about the confusion at the end of the third round in which he thought the referee Jack Reiss had halted the fight after the badly beaten Crolla into the ropes after being pummeled.