By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Bob Arum is sure Mikey Garcia would suffer the same fate as previous opponents if Garcia agrees to fight Vasyl Lomachenko.
Garcia’s former promoter predicted Lomachenko would make Garcia quit in a 135-pound fight following Lomachenko’s technical knockout victory over Guillermo Rigondeaux in their WBO 130-pound championship match Saturday night in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
“Mikey Garcia’s an excellent fighter,” Arum said. “He’ll hang with [Lomachenko] until he’s ready to get knocked out and then he’ll probably quit.”
Lomachenko hasn’t decided if he’ll move up again, this time from super featherweight to lightweight. If he does, Garcia is the best, most appealing opponent for the Ukrainian southpaw at 135 pounds.
Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) also is one boxing’s top 10 fighters, pound-for-pound, yet Arum doesn’t consider him a true threat to beat Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs).
“He’ll make a joke of [Jorge] Linares, he’ll make a joke of Garcia,” Arum said. “Oh Jesus, these guys, they’re really good fighters, Linares, Garcia. This guy is super-special. You’ve never seen anything like this. He’ll go up to 135, maybe to 140. I don’t know. But he’s gonna do this to everybody.”
Arum isn’t certain, however, that a Lomachenko-Garcia fight is a realistic possibility for Lomachenko’s next fight, expected to take place in “March or April.” That fight will be harder to make than most because of the contentious history between Garcia and Arum’s Top Rank Inc.
The 29-year-old Garcia, a native of Oxnard, California, paid to terminate his contract with Top Rank, his longtime promoter, in May 2016.
That contractual conflict between Garcia and Top Rank kept the three-division champion out of the ring for 2½ years. The WBC lightweight champion has rejuvenated his career, most recently by beating former four-division champion Adrien Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC) by unanimous decision in a 12-round, 140-pound fight July 29 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
“Who knows?,” Arum said of making a Lomachenko-Garcia fight. “If I say it, then I’m chasing. Let’s see. It’ll all come. With ESPN behind us, we have plenty of money to offer opponents for really good fights. And ESPN, they want the best, and this kid is the best. … I would put him in with anybody [at] 135 pounds. Anybody in the world at 135.”
Arum realizes it’ll take a healthy seven-figure offer to entice Garcia to battle Lomachenko.
“Hopefully it’ll be made,” Arum said. “You’ve gotta pay these guys a lot of money because they’re not stupid. They’re great fighters. Garcia’s a great fighter. Linares is a great fighter. But ask them, deep down, do they have a chance with this guy? They’ll tell you no.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.