Top 5 next opponents for Vasyl Lomachenko

November 27, 2016

With Vasyl Lomochenko’s dominating win against Nicholas Walters in the books, the boxing world is anxious to know what he’s going to do next.  Here are five opponents that Lomachenko could potentially face in 2017 and details on each matchup:

Orlando Salido

Bob Arum said Saturday that this is the fight that he wants next for Lomachenko.  Lomachenko has said that he wants a rematch to set the record straight after Salido won their first bout.  The first fight had some controversy as Salido used the “veteran tactics” of low blows and fighting 11 pounds heavier than Lomachenko.

Honestly, I don’t care about seeing this fight.  I don’t think Lomachenko has anything to prove at this point, and with Saldio being 36 I don’t think it would prove anything anyway.  He hasn’t won a fight in over two years and is past his prime.  I personally think that Lomachenko should just move on, but if he really feels that he needs this fight I hope he gets it out of the way ASAP.

Francisco Vargas

After Saturday’s fight, Lomachenko said this was who he wanted to face next.  The 31 year old Mexican fighter is undefeated and holds the WBC super featherweight title, so this would be a unification bout and you can see why Lomachenko would want to do it.

Vargas has had a penchant for being in exciting fights recently.  His last two fights with Salido (which was scored a draw) and Takashi Miura (a win for Vargas) were thrillers.  I have to think that he would be outmatched by Lomachenko but who knows.  He is a tough fighter but I just don’t think he’s on Lomachenko’s level.  Arum said Saturday that this fight had no chance of happening anyway, because he doesn’t think that Vargas’ promotor Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy promotions would agree to it.

Related:

Lomachenko eyeing unification against Vargas

Walters gives up after 7th round, Lomachenko winner by TKO

Orlando Salido says he’d be willing to rematch Lomachenko

Terry Flanagan

I am suspecting that this fight is already under negotiation.  It certainly isn’t one that I had thought of until Bob Arum said that he would want the undefeated WBO lightweight titleholder to be Lomachenko’s second opponent next year.  Frank Warren, Flanagan’s promotor, said Saturday that he would want Flanagan to face Lomachenko next year to prove how good he is.  The fact that both promoters mentioned the fight on the same day is an obvious signal that this fight has been in discussion.

This would be an interesting fight, especially since it would involve Lomachenko moving up in weight.  Flanagan has been trying to face WBA titleholder and three division world champion Jorge Linares, but it’s looking like Linares he is going to opt to rematch Anthony Crolla, who he beat in a thriller in September.  This fight would make a lot of sense if Lomachenko is trying to move up in weight, although it seems like these fighters in the lightweight division aren’t very well known despite being pretty good.

Manny Pacquiao

Well, here’s the guy that it seems like almost every OpeningRound reader is clamoring for Lomachenko to face, and would be the person Lomachenko would be targeting if he’s trying to move up in weight.  Pacquiao is the biggest name that Lomachenko could potentially be matched up against, and beating him would turn him into a superstar.  Arum has mentioned Pacquiao’s name on multiple occasions as a possible opponent, and he reiterated this again Saturday.  He vaguely said, “The Manny fight would be a possibility for the second half of 2017.  That’s a possibility.”

Lomachenko talked about this fight Saturday as well.  He said “I very much respect Manny Pacquiao.  I like Manny Pacquiao.  And I would be very proud if somebody would give me that opportunity, to fight Manny Pacquiao.”  He did however reiterate his concerns about weight, saying that he would want to do it at 135.  “Probably 135 [would be] the max because right now I came in the ring [Saturday night] at 136 pounds.”

I’m not sure what he meant by the max “right now.”  Does that mean he would go up in weight later?  Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach has said that his fighter could get down to 135, but Pacquiao (who is currently fighting at 147 as he has been since 2011) was unwilling to even go to 140 to fight Terrence Crawford this year.  That could have been because it was his first fight back from his short retirement, though.

See also:

Mayweather: “I don’t wanna fight anymore, I don’t wanna fight anymore…

James DeGale wants to fight GGG

Kell Brook won’t vacate welterweight title, wants to fight Pacquiao and Spence

The Pacquiao fight makes a lot of sense for Lomachenko if they can work out the weight issue, but I don’t think it makes as much sense for Pacquiao at the end of his career.  I think Pacquiao would have a huge chance of losing, and I don’t think this would be the biggest money fight that he could get.  Assuming that Floyd Mayweather stays retired, I think he would be better off facing the winner of the Danny Garcia-Keith Thurman fight in the middle of next year.  They are bigger names than Lomachenko at this point, and would be less of a risk for Pacquiao.  But Arum seems pretty into the idea of the fight though, so we’ll see what happens.

Guillermo Rigondeaux

I think this is probably the least likely to happen of these five fights, but a lot of boxing fans want it to happen so I figured I’d mention it.  A lot of people would say that Rigo and Loma are the two best technical boxers in the world right now.  Rigondeaux has been constantly avoided throughout his career because nobody can hit him.  Nobody wants to show him on TV either, because he has a style that is very lacking in action.

The most interesting thing about this fight is that I think that Lomachenko could be the one guy that could actually force Rigo to throw some punches.  I think it would be really exciting to see that side of Rigondeaux, who has been such a snooze in most of his fights.

I don’t however think this fight has much of a chance of happening.  Rigo is currently at 122lbs, and while he has said that he would be willing to move up in weight for big fights, I doubt that Loma would want to go down at all for him.  The money is in the higher weight classes, and that’s the direction that Lomachenko is going.  Even if they could work out the weight, I kind of doubt that Bob Arum would want his fighter to take this fight at this stage of Lomachenko’s career.  Rigo isn’t very well known among causal boxing fans, and a loss against him wouldn’t look very good on Lomachenko’s record.

I would say that Rigondeaux has maybe the best chance of beating Lomachenko of anybody that he could face, and while it would be a dream fight for hardcore boxing fans it just doesn’t seem likely.  Which is sad.  The only way I can see it happening is that if Rigo can somehow fight at super featherweight in the next year.  I bet if Loma doesn’t have to move down at all he would want to take the challenge.  You can dream, right?

Conclusion

From what Bob Arum is saying, it looks like the plan for Lomachenko for this year is to move him up in weight so that he can make a huge money fight against Pacquiao.  I don’t know if that will happen or not, but I would be surprised if Lomachenko is fighting at super featherweight at the end of next year.  I am very excited to see where his career goes.  Like and share this story on Facebook and let us know who you want to see Lomachenko face.

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See also:

Billy Joe Saunders’ title defense delayed again, wants to fight GGG

Ward says he earned decision vs Kovalev, wants to fight at heavyweight

Pacquiao feels like he’s in his 20’s, still wants to face Mayweather

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