Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is planning on matching Vasyl Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) against either Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) or the winner of the August 25 fight between WBO 135 lb. champion Ray Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) and Jose Pedraza (24-1, 12 KOs) in November or December.
Contrary to the talk of Lomachenko returning on August 25, it’s not going to happen. Arum says Lomachenko won’t be back from his shoulder surgery until later this year.
Lance Pugmire of the LA Times had this to say about a conversation he had with Bob Arum:
”Arum also says Vasyl Lomachenko shoulder surgery recovery is going remarkably well and it’s certain he will return to the ring in November or December against either Manny Pacquiao or the Aug. 25 Beltran-Pedraza winner.”
With Pacquiao not fighting in the U.S nowadays, I doubt that he’s going to be available to fight Lomachenko. Arum probably isn’t going to want to take Lomachenko to Malaysia or the Philippines for him to fight Pacquiao. My guess is if that fight happens, it will only take place in the United States.
It looks like to me that Arum will stick Lomachenko in with the winner of the Beltran vs. Pedraza fight, because it’s highly unlikely that Pacquiao is going to do his old promoter any favors by facing Lomachenko. There was talk that Pacquiao was offered an undercard spot on the recent Terence Crawford vs. Jeff Horn fight. Of course, Pacquiao wasn’t going to agree to being on an undercard. But I don’t think Pacquiao is going to help Arum out by fighting Lomachenko, who he’s been comparing to the late Muhammad Ali. Arum would obviously be assuming victory for Lomachenko, because if he didn’t feel that he could win, he wouldn’t let the two-time Olympic gold medalist anywhere near the Fililpino star.
You’re not going to see Arum put Lomachenko in with light welterweight Regis Prograis or welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. The reason why is obvious. Lomachenko’s chances of beating those powerful punchers would be very small, and he could end up getting badly hurt. With Pacquiao, he’s an old, inactive one-armed fighter, who Arum is eager to match against Lomachenko in order to take the Ukrainian’s career to the next level.
The casual boxing fans will see Lomachenko destroying Pacquiao as a sign that he’s a great fighter. It would give the fans the mistaken perception that Lomachenko would be thrown into the ring with Prograis and Spence and beat them too. That wouldn’t happen. Arum will never let Lomachenko get anywhere near Prograis and Spence, especially after the way he was knocked down by former WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares in his last fight. Just think what Spence and Prograis would do to Lomachenko. It would be brutal. They might ruin Lomachenko permanently, which is why I don’t see Arum ever letting those guys get anywhere near him. Arum will let an over-the-hill Pacquiao fight Lomachenko, but not Prograis or Spence, even though Pacquiao is technically fighting in the division as Errol.
There likely won’t be much interest from the boxing fans in seeing Lomachenko face the Beltran vs. Pedraza winner. Neither of those fighters have a huge following in the boxing world with the casual fans. You can argue the only reason why Arum wants to match Lomachenko against the winner of the Pedraza vs. Beltran fight is he promotes both of them in his Top Rank stable. Lomachenko against either of those guys won’t attract much interest from the fans that are looking for an interest fight to watch in November or December. Arum should put in the hard work to match Lomachenko against Pacquiao or Mikey Garcia. Those are fighters that the fans would be interested in seeing.
“Manny has to win and they need to agree on a mutual weight, but we can get it done,”Arum said to the latimes.com. “Who friggin’ knows who’ll win [Saturday], though. Matthysse is a tremendous puncher and Manny’s quickness is not the same as it was.”
It’s a tall order asking Pacquiao to beat Matthysse on Saturday. If Pacquiao beats Matthysse, and then agrees to face Lomachenko, it won’t be easy to make the fight. Pacquiao would need to sacrifice weight by boiling down to below 140 to accommodate Lomachenko, who might not be willing to move up in weight to any great extent. We saw how Lomachenko played the A-side in his fight against former super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux last December. Lomachenko chose not to drop any weight for the fight. Rigondeaux had to move up two divisions to make the fight happen. I can see Lomachenko playing A-side with Pacquiao and making him drop a ton of weight to face him. I don’t think Pacquiao will do that, so the fight will be next to impossible to make.
Arum is correct in him not knowing who will win this fight on Saturday night between Pacquiao and WBA ‘regular’ champion Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia. That’s a pick em fight in the eyes of a lot of people. Pacquiao’s surgically repaired right shoulder hasn’t been the same since his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015. Pacquiao is a one-armed fighter at this point in his career, and he’s no longer the speedy guy that he was in his prime. Pacquiao lost his last fight against Jeff Horn last year in Brisbane, Australia and now he’s facing a guy with much better power in Matthysse. The timing for this fight isn’t good for Pacquiao. He’s no longer the fighter that he once was now that he’s no longer young and as quick. Pacquiao has further hurt his career by sitting outside of the ring for 12 months. That’s not the thing you want to before fighting a dynamic puncher like Matthysse. The inactivity and shoulder problems could spell disaster for Pacquiao. If he had fought Matthysse before he started having shoulder problems years ago, it wouldn’t be nearly so bad, but fighting him now could be lead to another bad knockout for the fading Filipino star.
“Manny has a bad shoulder. The rehab on that shoulder was done by praying and swimming in the ocean,” Pacquiao’s former trainer Freddie Roach said to the latimes.com. ”To me, that shoulder is still a dangerous thing.”
The saltwater healing of Pacquiao’s shoulder didn’t do the job of bringing back his punching power. Pacquiao’s right hand isn’t the weapon that it once was before his shoulder injury, and Roach is fully aware of that. Pacquiao’s saltwater healing was a waste of time.