Vasiliy Lomachenko open to fighting Naoya Inoue at super featherweight
By Chris Williams: Vasiliy Lomachenko is hoping to expand his options by letting it be known that he’s willing to fight unbeaten IBF/WBA bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16 KOs). But here’s the catch: Inoue has to move up 3 weight classes from bantamweight to meet him at super featherweight. Good luck with that, Inoue.
Inoue would be a HUGE disadvantage similar to how former super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux was when he moved up two weight classes to fight Lomachenko at super featherweight in December 2017. While a lot of boxing fans would be intrigued by the idea of Inoue taking on the much bigger Lomachenko, it wouldn’t exactly be a fair fight, would it?
Rigondeaux fought Lomachenko without a catchweight
There was NO catch-weight given to the two-time Olympic gold medalist Rigongdeaux against Lomachenko in their fight in 2017, and the Cuban fighter ended up getting stopped in the 6th round. Given how badly that fight ended for the smaller guy, it’s safe to say Inoue won’t be volunteering to put himself at a similar disadvantage against Lomachenko.
Inoue will be facing WBA Super World bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26 KOs) next month on November 7 in the final of the World Boxing Super Series at the Super Arena, in Saitama, Japan.
Would Lomachenko be agreeable to fighting guys 2 to 3 divisions ABOVE his weight class?
Lomachenko seems to be fine with fighting guys that are 2 to 3 divisions below him in weight. The question is, why won’t Lomachenko move up 2 to 3 weight classes to take on IBF/WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence, WBA champion Manny Pacquiao or WBO champ Terence Crawford. Lomachenko would be moving up two weight classes to fight those guys.
If Lomachenko does what he’s asking Inoue to do in moving up 3 weight divisions, then he would be taking on junior middleweights like Jermell Charlo, Tony Harrison or Jaime Munguia. Talk about your mismatches. Those guys would likely crush Lomachenko. It doesn’t matter how skilled Lomachenko is. When you’re talking about fighters that are 3 divisions heavier, it’s a mismatch.
If Inoue wasn’t a well-paid star in Japan, its possible that he might take Lomachenko up on his offer to fight him at super featherweight. But that’s not how things are, and it’s highly unlikely Inoue will put himself at such a huge disadvantage against the bigger fighter Lomachenko.
Lomachenko needs to take advantage of the time he has left in the sport
In the last two years, Lomachenko’s age has started to show in his fights against Luke Campbell, Jose Pedraza and Jorge Linares. Although Lomachenko won all three of the matches, he took a lot of punishment, and no longer looked like the invincible fighter he once was. It’s believed that the rationale for Lomachenko moving back down to super featherweight is to help limit the punishment he takes, and to prolong his career a little. The move down in weight makes no sense other than to help Lomachenko keep from getting worn down by the younger lions at 135.
There’s nobody for Lomachenko to fight at super featherweight, because all the popular guys blew town and moved up to 135. The only fighters that Lomachenko can possibly look forward to fighting at super featherweight are Miguel Berchelt, Jamel Herring and Oscar Valdez. None of are stars in the U.S. They all have small followings, but they’re not stars.
Lomachenko would be better off staying at lightweight to face Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia. But those would be tough fights for Lomachenko, and he would take some wear and tear in each of them. Gervonta and Devin would likely beat Lomachenko. Hence, he’s moving back down to super featherweight where things are a little easier for him.
Haney and Gervonta Davis won’t be fighting in undisputed lightweight championship bout
Lomachenko is waiting on the winner of the December fight between IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey and Teofimo Lopez. The winner of that fight meets Lomachenko in a match for the undisputed lightweight championship in early 2020. Left out of the equation for the championship are Devin Haney and Gervonta Davis. Either of those guys would likely destroys Teofimo and Commey. As such, Lomachenko won’t be proving anything by facing the Commey-Lopez winner, because he’ll be skipping two of the best lightweights in the division in Tank Davis and Haney.