By Ryan Burton
Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum is still buzzing over newly crowned WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko's June 11th 5th round knockout of Rocky Martinez.
Lomachenko landed a left uppercut, right hook combination which dropped and finished off the normally durable Martinez in spectacular fashion at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York in an HBO televised main event.
Much was made of Lomachenko's (6-1, 4KOs)) record setting performance when he became the first fighter to win world titles in two weight classes in only his 7th professional fight. As for what is next for the two-time Olympic gold medalist, Arum said the sky is the limit.
"I have never had a fighter like Lomachenko. Whenever I tell him I have a date for him to fight, his first question is, 'who it is?' I only wants tough fights. Don't give me guys I am just going to walk through that don't present a challenge. I want guys who present a challenge.' So (Orlando) Salido is on a short list. (Jose) Pedraza, the IBF champion, is on a short list. Nicholas Walters is on a short list. (Francisco) Vargas isn't going to fight this year, Oscar's 130 pounder - but Lomachenko is a guy in a hurry, who wants to establish an identity by fighting the best and not mucking around with also rans because we did give him a couple of also rans in some of the fights we have given him and he is bored with it. He wants by his 10th professional fight to fight for a lightweight championship," Arum told BoxingScene.com in an exclusive interview.
The 84-year-old promoter believes that the 28-year-old Lomachenko is improving in every fight and feels that if he continues his rapid ascension, that he could find himself in a mega-fight in 2017 against another fighter who also had a meteoric rise in the sport - eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38KOs).
"Let me tell you, by the way he is going, if Manny continues to fight, sometime next year I wouldn't hesitate to match Lomachenko against Pacquiao. That would be a hell of a fight," Arum revealed.
Pacquiao last fought in April when dropped Tim Bradley twice in a dominant unanimous decision victory. Prior to the fight he stated that it would likely be his swan song if he were to win a senatorial seat which he ended up winning by a comfortable margin. Arum and Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach took those comments with a grain of salt as they were both very skeptical that the former eight division champ would hang up his gloves, believing that he had at least another fight or two left in him.
Arum's bombshell statement led to the obvious question of whether he believes the newly elected senator will have time to handle both his civic duties as a senator and the rigors of an eight week training camp.
"Well we gotta see. If he will fight this year, then he will fight next year. We are thinking about him fighting in October if he wants to fight. Once I get the opponent that I am working on - we are working on opponents and once I get that, I will fly over to the Philippines and he will see if his schedule in the senate allows him to train for a fight and participate in a fight. I know he wants to continue fighting but the impediment is how labor intensive his work as a Filipino senator is and he is not going to really know that for another week or so. He was just sworn in as a senator yesterday," said Arum.
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