Raymond Ford Eyes Unification with Ball, Fans Demand Luis Lopez Test

By Daniel Mcglinchey - 03/08/2024 - Comments

Newly crowned WBA featherweight champion Raymond Ford hopes to face Nick Ball next in a unification fight if he dethrones WBC 126-lb champion Rey Vargas tonight in Saudi Arabia.

(Photo credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom)

Ball (19-0, 11 KOs) is expected to lose to the talented champion Vargas (36-1, 22 KOs), but maybe he’ll get lucky with the scoring.

Apart from a questionable win by Ball, as we saw with Tyson Fury beating Francis Ngannou in Riyadh last October, Rey Vargas should win handily tonight.

A victory for Ball would greatly please promoter Eddie Hearn, allowing him to set an in-house Matchroom unification clash between Nick and Ford (15-0-1, 8 KOs). That fight would play to UK audiences and be ignored by Americans, who have never heard of Ball and wouldn’t be impressed with that match-up.

US Fans Want Ford vs. Luis Lopez

Many U.S boxing fans would much prefer to see Ford either give Otabek Kholmatov a rematch after he recovers from his knee injury or face the dangerous king of the featherweight division, IBF champion Luis Alberto Lopez, who would be bad news for the easy-to-hit Raymond.

If Hearn wants to transform Raymond Ford into a star in the true sense and not just using empty words, he needs to match him against Luis Lopez, NOT Nick Ball, who is a basic run-of-the-mill slugger.

Lopez has talent and would be a nightmare for Ford. It’s understandable why Hearn wouldn’t want to match Ford against Lopez, seeing how he’s leagues better, and ruin his grand vision for him. Hearn obviously knows that; hence, he’s hoping like heck that Ball pulls off an upset tonight against Vargas.

Clashing Visions

One gets the sense that Hearn is attempting to turn Raymond Ford into a pseudo-star along the same lines as Anthony Joshua, who was never the real thing but was packaged in a way with careful matchmaking to turn him into a superstar in the UK.

“The stage I am at right now is just thinking ‘what’s next?’ said Raymond Ford. “I’m not one of these guys that wins a World title and that’s it, I’m not satisfied with that. I want more belts, more big fights, more money – I’m not content; I’m destined for greatness. Saturday night was just the beginning.

“I know Eddie was thinking about me fighting Nick Ball if he wins, that can be a big money unification.”