Bob Arum is more confident than Teofimo Lopez about Vasiliy Lomachenko fighting Lopez next if Lopez beats Richard Commey on Saturday night.
Brooklyn’s Lopez said during a recent interview with BoxingScene.com that he thinks there’s just a “50-50” chance Lomachenko would fight him if Lopez wins the IBF lightweight title from Commey at Madison Square Garden in New York (https://www.boxingscene.com/lopez-only-50-percent-confident-lomachenko-fight-him--144643). Arum, however, informed BoxingScene.com that the percentages are “95-5” for Lomachenko-Lopez taking place as soon as March or April if Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs) overcomes Commey (29-2, 26 KOs) in their 12-round, 135-pound title fight.
“Well, it’s 50-50 now that it would happen,” Arum told BoxingScene.com. “But if he beats Commey, I think it’s 95-5 that it would happen. In boxing, any kind of crazy thing can happen. A fighter can get hurt. But that’s what we’re planning, for that fight to be the next fight. Loma’s on board. Teofimo sounds like he’s on board. So yeah, that’s the next fight. But obviously, it’s dependent on Teofimo winning on Saturday.”
Arum added that Lomachenko won’t take another bout before opposing Lopez if Lopez were to win Saturday night.
“It’d like for it to happen in March, but it may have to go over into April because of the tournament,” Arum said, referring to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. “That part, whether it’s March or April, is up to the guys who pay us [ESPN]. So many people watch the tournament, why would you go up against a sporting event that the whole country is talking about?”
If Lopez conquers Commey, he would own the only recognized lightweight title Lomachenko hasn’t won. Ukraine’s Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) holds the WBA and WBO 135-pound crowns and has been elevated to the status of franchise champion by the WBC.
If it happens, Arum expects ESPN to offer Lomachenko-Lopez live on the network, not ESPN+, the network’s $5-per-month streaming service.
“That is the plan,” Arum said. “But again, that’s not within my purview. In other words, if they say we need that fight on ESPN+ to get more subscribers, so be it. That’s what it’ll be.”
ESPN will broadcast Commey-Lopez as part of a tripleheader Saturday night (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). The 22-year-old Lopez, Commey’s mandatory challenger, is listed as a slight favorite to defeat the defending champion from Ghana.
In the main event Saturday night, Terence Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs), of Omaha, Nebraska, is scheduled to defend his WBO welterweight title against Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs). Lithuania’s Kavaliauskas is Crawford’s mandatory challenger.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.