By Keith Idec
One way or the other, Vasyl Lomachenko seemingly will get an opponent he wants to fight in his next bout.
Promoter Bob Arum told the Los Angeles Times’ Lance Pugmire on Monday that they’ll decide between Guillermo Rigondeaux and Orlando Salido as the foe for Lomachenko’s next fight. The WBO super featherweight champion is scheduled to return to the ring December 9 in a main event ESPN will televise.
Arum said that if Lomachenko faces Rigondeaux, their fight would take place in The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. If they make a Lomachenko-Salido rematch, that bout would take place somewhere in the Los Angeles area.
Preliminary negotiations have begun with representatives for Rigondeaux and Salido.
Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) had hoped to fight Mexico’s Salido (44-13-4, 31 KOs, 1 NC) on August 5, but Salido reportedly turned down a $750,000 purse to face Lomachenko again.
Colombian featherweight contender Miguel Marriaga instead took the fight on barely four weeks’ notice and it showed. The Ukrainian southpaw dominated Marriaga (25-3, 21 KOs), who was knocked down once apiece in the third and seventh rounds before deciding against leaving his corner for the start of the eighth round at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Lomachenko emphasized before beating Marriaga that he doesn’t want to continue waiting on an opportunity to avenge his lone professional loss to Salido. Arum attempted to make the Salido rematch twice already this year, but Salido turned it down both times.
The 29-year-old Lomachenko has established himself as one of the best boxers in the sport since Salido defeated him by split decision nearly 3½ years ago in San Antonio.
Rigondeaux, meanwhile, has been calling out Lomachenko on Twitter for months. The Cuban-born southpaw is undefeated (17-0, 11 KOs, 1 NC) and a consensus top-10 pound-for-pound fighter as well, but the WBA super bantamweight champion would have to move up two weight classes – from 122 pounds to 130 – to challenge Lomachenko.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.