By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Bob Arum had another conversation recently with Robert Garcia regarding his younger brother boxing Vasiliy Lomachenko.
The Hall-of-Fame promoter expressed to Mikey Garcia’s older brother/trainer that he wants to begin negotiations for that fascinating fight right after Lomachenko defeats Jose Pedraza in their lightweight title unification fight. Ukraine’s Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs), the WBA 135-pound champion, and Puerto Rico’s Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs), the WBO champion, are scheduled to square off December 8 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden (ESPN).
According to Arum, if Lomachenko wins it shouldn’t be difficult to make Lomachenko-Garcia because Lomachenko has expressed that’s the fight he wants right after facing Pedraza.
Arum claims his company’s contentious history with Mikey Garcia won’t prohibit them from making a deal for a Lomachenko fight. Top Rank Inc. promoted Mikey Garcia for his first 34 fights, but a financial dispute led to Garcia buying himself out of his promotional contract in May 2016 and ultimately kept him out of the ring for 2½ years.
“The only conversation I had was with Robert,” Arum said. “I said, ‘Tell your brother to shut the f*ck up. Lomachenko is fighting Pedraza in December. And if he wins, I promise you I’ll sit down with Mikey right after that fight and try to make a fight with Loma.’ That’s the best I can do. I’m not gonna sit [down with him] now and make the fight, when [Lomachenko] has a fight coming up.
“But I promise – I told Robert. He was there [Friday night in Fresno]. He’s a great trainer. He trains [Jose] Ramirez, so he was up in Fresno and we had time to talk. That’s all I can say. Loma wants that fight, but he has to beat Pedraza first. And then it’s a really interesting fight because each guy has two lightweight titles, and the winner has all four.”
Arum considers Lomachenko-Garcia a pay-per-view fight.
“Not the greatest, not the biggest pay-per-view fight,” Arum said, “but it would certainly do enough business. … So that’s a good fight to look forward to next year. We really wanna do that fight, [all] bullsh*t aside.”
Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs), who holds the IBF and WBC lightweight titles, has continually talked this summer about moving up two weight classes to challenge unbeaten IBF welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KOs). Even though Garcia is considered one of the top boxers, pound-for-pound, in the sport, he would be a huge underdog against the bigger, stronger Spence.
“All Robert keeps saying to me,” Arum said, “is, ‘My brother’s out of his mind. I’ll do anything possible that he doesn’t fight Spence.’ ”
Lomachenko, while highly skilled, is at least considered an opponent Garcia could beat. Arum just hopes Mikey Garcia is reasonable when the time comes to negotiate.
“He’s saying that he wants the fight,” Arum said. “Now, when we sit down with him, as long as he’s willing to take a guarantee, with a percentage, OK. But if he starts asking crazy numbers, then who could afford to do it?”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.