By Keith Idec
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez’s recent loss didn’t affect the top of Bob Arum’s pound-for-pound list.
Vasyl Lomachenko’s promoter had Lomachenko at the top of his list all along. When the previously unbeaten Gonzalez lost a controversial majority decision to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai on March 18 at Madison Square Garden, Arum merely considered it validation for what he had been saying since Lomachenko’s dominant performances in technical knockout victories over Rocky Martinez and Nicholas Walters last year.
“For me, it doesn’t change anything,” Arum told BoxingScene.com. “Because I believe that Lomachenko is one of the greatest fighters that I’ve ever seen, just an unbelievable talent. And the fact that ‘Chocolatito’ wins or loses a fight doesn’t change that perception. I know what you’re saying – that because he lost the fight he drops down from No. 1 and that elevates Lomachenko.
“But as far as I’m concerned, it’s the same as it was before that fight. I think Lomachenko is just a beauty to watch. It’s unbelievable for me to watch his fights. … I’m all in as far as my praise for Lomachenko. I’ve never seen anything like this, never seen a guy with the talent he has.”
Ukraine’s Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs) is scheduled to defend his WBO world super featherweight championship against Camden, New Jersey, native Jason Sosa (20-1-4, 15 KOs) on Saturday night in Oxon Hill, Maryland. HBO will televise their 12-round fight, in which Lomachenko is a 25-1 favorite, as the main event of a “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader from MGM National Harbor, a new casino & resort just outside of Washington, D.C.
Lomachenko appreciates Arum’s praise, but the unusually skilled southpaw said during a recent conference call that he “probably” won’t consider himself the No. 1 fighter, pound-for-pound, in boxing until he moves up from 130 pounds to 135 and beats “a couple more” champions in the lightweight division. A Lomachenko-Mikey Garcia fight at lightweight clearly would generate a lot of interest now that Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs), the newly crowned WBC world lightweight champion, has re-established himself as one of the best boxers in the world following a 30-month layoff.
BoxingScene.com, ESPN.com and The Ring magazine all had Nicaragua’s Gonzalez (46-1, 38 KOs) ranked No. 1 before the former WBC world super flyweight champion lost to Thailand’s Sor Rungvisai (42-4-1, 38 KOs).
BoxingScene’s pound-for-pound rankings haven’t been updated since Gonzalez lost, but ESPN.com now ranks middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) at No. 1, Lomachenko at No. 3 and Gonzalez at No. 5. The Ring ranks light heavyweight champion Andre Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) at No. 1, Gonzalez at No. 4 and Lomachenko at No. 6.
Prior to Gonzalez’s loss, ESPN.com ranked Lomachenko at No. 5. The Ring had him in the No. 6 spot in its previous poll as well.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.