By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Vasyl Lomachenko’s options are somewhat limited at 130 pounds.
The fight that made the most sense for Lomachenko in that weight class was eliminated after he beat Guillermo Rigondeaux on Saturday night because Orlando Salido retired following his technical knockout defeat to Miguel Roman about an hour later. Mexico’s Salido (44-14-4, 31 KOs, 1 NC) is the only opponent to beat Lomachenko as a pro and Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) had hoped to avenge that split-decision defeat in March 2014.
A partial title unification fight against WBC super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt (32-1, 28 KOs) has some appeal, but promotional and network issues could prevent that fight from happening.
Lomachenko is promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. and fights on ESPN, but Berchelt is promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and HBO has televised his past two fights. Mexico’s Berchelt currently is recovering from a hand injury, but it could be healed in time for Lomachenko’s return in March or April.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., the promoter for former IBF super featherweight champion Gervonta Davis (19-0, 18 KOs), continually has said he doesn’t want his powerful southpaw from Baltimore to fight Lomachenko anytime in the foreseeable future.
Arum isn’t sure if Lomachenko will remain at 130 pounds for a fifth defense of his WBO super featherweight title or move up to 135 pounds for his next fight.
“We’ll see,” Arum said. “You’ve gotta have a real ballsy 130-pounder, you know, a guy who wants to get a nice paycheck and knows that if he loses that his career isn’t over. Because, I mean, who’s gonna beat this guy? Come on. Come on, this is really special.”
The 29-year-old Lomachenko is open to remaining at 130 pounds because he doesn’t have a lot of difficulty making that weight.
“My weight [was] 138,” Lomachenko said of what he weighed on fight night against Rigondeaux. “So if next fight [we can make] with some champion in my weight category, I stay in my weight category. But if not, if [Arum] gives me some interesting fight at 135, I’ll move up to 135.”
Carl Moretti, Top Rank’s vice president of boxing operations, mentioned Berchelt during the post-fight press conference.
The company apparently isn’t as interested in what would be a championship unification fight against newly crowned WBA 130-pound champ Alberto Machado (19-0, 16 KOs), of Puerto Rico. HBO broadcast Machado’s last fight and he, too, is promoted by Golden Boy.
“If we can fight Berchelt and unify,” Moretti said, “or one of the other champions – I can’t see a fight with Machado really selling. You know, the Japanese fighter won [Saturday night], too. You know, if we can’t make the fight at 130, we’ll have to move up to 135.”
The Japanese fighter to whom Moretti referred is Kenichi Ogawa. Tokyo’s Ogawa (23-1, 17 KOs) scored a controversial, 12-round, split-decision victory over Philadelphia’s Tevin Farmer (25-5-1, 5 KOs) in a bout HBO broadcast from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.