Kellerman talks Ryan Garcia, Lomachenko vs. Teofimo & Joshua
By Matt Lieberman: Max Kellerman is interested in seeing Vasily Lomchenko battle Teofimo Lopez this year, as well as watch the progress of Vergil Ortiz Jr and Ryan Garcia. There are a lot of exciting fighters and contests that Kellerman can’t wait to see.
IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is a fighter that Kellerman isn’t sure will defeat his WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk when they fight next year.
Kellerman isn’t bothered that Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) and his promoter are looking to force their mandatory status to ensure they get a title shot against Joshua before he faces Tyson Fury.
Joshua and Fury have already agreed to fight twice in 2021, and they seem to have forgotten about their mandatory challengers. Usyk isn’t going to let Joshua bypass him to face Fury.
Max excited for Lomachenko vs. Teofimo
“This one goes to 11,” said Kellerman to ESPN on the Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez fight. “Is there something higher than ten on a one to ten scales? This one is such a dynamic and promises to have so much action between two guys that go at lightning speed.
“Lopez with the power and the youth and skill. Lomachenko with the skill and the experience. I can’t wait,” said Kellerman.
Fans can’t wait to see Vasily Lomachenko face Teofimo Lopez this year ni a unification fight, which is being talked about for October. Lopez is going to be a hard fight for WBA/WBC/WBO lightweight champion Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) in dealing with the power of IBF champ Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs).
Teofimo is so powerful, fast, and young at 22. Besides, Teofimo is enormous for the weight at 135, and he’s going to be a lot bigger when he rehydrates. Lomachenko has the experience and the advantage in skills over Teofimo. Whether that’s enough for Lomachenko to win, we’re going to have to see.
Joshua might not beat Usyk
“That actually doesn’t bother me as much as you might think it would,” said Kellerman about Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk insisting Joshua must face Oleksandr after he faces Kubrat Pulev.
“I don’t know that Joshua beats Usyk. I think Usyk is a marquee fighter. In my mind, he’s a marquee fighter. Does it spoil Joshua-Fury if Usyk wins? Yeah, maybe or maybe it just throws another player in the mix.
“Let’s not forget, not that long ago; it wasn’t about Tyson Fury. It was Joshua-Wilder that everyone wanted to see. This is a competition. Throw him in there, and may the best man win.
“When the dust settles, and the two guys are standing, that’s your super fight,” said Kellerman.
It’s still not settled yet if Anthony Joshua will defend against WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) in the first half of next year. Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk isn’t going to let the pressure off of Joshua and the World Boxing Organization for AJ to face Oleksandr before he faces Tyson Fury.
If Joshua does face Usyk, he could lose, and that would destroy the Joshua-Fury fight plans. It’ll be a good thing in some respect if Usyk beats Joshua. As Kellerman says, it’ll add another player to the top rung of the heavyweight division, and there will be bigger fights.
Kellerman doubts Oscar Valdez beats Miguel Berchelt
“What I like about that fight when you have a young guy that looks good, even when there are little bumps along the way, and it feels like it is his destiny to do something,” said Kellerman on the Miguel Berchelt vs. Oscar Valdez clash in the fall.
“Then the older guy, Berchelt, who is just an honest fighter [editors note: The 29-year-old Valdez is a year older than the 28-year-old Berchelt]. He doesn’t have that special; you were talking about Lomachenko and even Teofimo.
“I’m not saying he’s [Berchelt] not as good as Teofimo, but Teofimo has that lightning speed and that crazy power that jumps out at you.
“Berchelt is just a machine. But if Valdez wants to carry out his destiny, that machine doesn’t care how you view yourself or how the sports world or the boxing world may see your future; you’re going to have to beat that guy. I don’t know if Valdez can do it. That is a tremendous match-up,” said Kellerman on Berchelt vs. Valdez.
Kellerman isn’t aware that WBC super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs) is a year younger than 29-year-old Oscar Valdez (27-0, 21 KOs). It’s a simple mistake.
Valdez does look younger than the 28-year-old Berchelt, but he’s not been fighting at the same level. Oscar has been hurt in four out of his last six fights and looked shakey. Valdez has won all his fights, but he’s starting to have problems with his chin.
Vergil Ortiz Jr may take some losses
“I think he’ll be the real deal, but what does the real deal mean,” said Kellerman when asked if Vergil Ortiz Jr can exist with the top 147-pounders. “Is Errol Spence the real deal? Hell yeah.
“He barely beat Shawn Porter, and there are five or six guys in the division like that. When your at that level, when you think, ‘That guys different. He’s a top-five pound-for-pound guy,’ as opposed to Shawn Porter, who is a respected championship-level fighter, but you don’t think of him as a top-five pound-for-pound fighter.
“That top-five pound-for-pound guy [Spence] squeaks by Shawn Porter. So Vergil Ortiz can be the real deal and still take some L’s in a very deep welterweight division,” said Max.
Vergil Ortiz Jr (15-0, 15 KOs) could be a future star at 147, and Golden Boy Promotions are already getting him in position to win his first world title. He’d headling next month on July 24 against Samuel Vargas in Indio, California.
Golden Boy Promoter Oscar De La Hoya doesn’t say what’s next for Vergil after he faces Vargas, but it’s likely to be a step up opponent.
Ryan Garcia looks like the real thing
“When it gets public like that, and by the way, athletes are empowered in a way that they didn’t use to be,” Kellerman said about Ryan Garcia taking a shot at his promoter Oscar De La Hoya in calling him “HATER” on social media.
“How could an athlete once upon a time, in particular a boxer, go at a powerful promoter? Garcia is certainly as hot a prospect as they come, but he’s not an established champion yet.
He’s not a pound-for-pound type of guy, and a superstar yet. That guy didn’t use to be able to go after his promoter like that to air his grievances in a way as it can become public today.
For that to happen, I can only imagine how sour things are behind the scenes. Let me say this about Ryan Garcia. He looks like the real deal. When people were talking about, ‘Maybe him and Devin Haney could fight,’ yes. I’m here for that for sure,” said Kellerman on Ryan Garcia vs. Haney.
Kellerman pegs it right in talking about the problems that Oscar De La Hoya is going through with the young Ryan Garcia.
De La Hoya is dealing with what many boxing fans see as a diva in 21-year-old Garcia, who hasn’t won a world title. Ryan hasn’t even fought a significant name at 135 since he turned professional in 2016.
The potential is there with Ryan, but he’s getting ahead of himself right now in talking about wanting more money and love from DAZN and Golden Boy.
It’s up to De La Hoya and the other management with Golden Boy when they want to begin matching Garcia against good opposition. When that happens, fans will see if he’s the real thing.
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