By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Bob Arum mentioned Richard Commey as a potential opponent for Vasiliy Lomachenko’s next fight following Lomachenko’s win Saturday night.
Commey first must defeat Isa Chaniev in their fight for the vacant IBF lightweight title, scheduled for February 2 in Frisco, Texas. Ghana’s Commey (27-2, 24 KOs) and Russia’s Chaniev (13-1, 6 KOs) will fight for a championship Mikey Garcia relinquished to move up to welterweight to challenge IBF 147-pound champ Errol Spence Jr. on March 16 in Arlington, Texas.
If the favored Commey can overcome Chaniev, his promoter, Lou DiBella, would consider Commey a live underdog against Lomachenko.
“Well, first of all, he does have to beat this Russian kid that he’s fighting on February 2nd,” DiBella told BoxingScene.com. “And the Russian kid can box. But Commey is a very big, strong 35-pounder, he’s getting better, he’s got power and he’s long. Loma’s not even a big 35-pounder. A long opponent, like a Pedraza, like a Linares, they’re not easy outs for Loma. And I think Loma is a great fighter. But a long guy, a real 35-pounder, a big 35-pounder who’s got length and power, that’s not easy for Lomachenko. That’s the kind of guy Commey is.”
Ukraine’s Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs) dropped Puerto Rico’s Jose Pedraza (25-2, 12 KOs) twice in the 11th round and won a unanimous decision in their 12-round, 135-pound unification fight Saturday night in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Arum, whose company promotes Lomachenko, expects the WBA/WBO lightweight champion to return to the ring either in April or May.
That would be a reasonable turnaround for Commey if he beats Chaniev on the Eleider Alvarez-Sergey Kovalev undercard February 2 at the Dallas Cowboys’ training facility, Ford Center at The Star.
“He’s gotta get past February 2nd, but I’ve gotta tell you, I think [Lomachenko-Commey is] an unbelievably fan-friendly fight, with a live underdog,” DiBella said. “And Richard is hungry. What happened to Isaac Dogboe [on Saturday night], that’s a big deal to people from Ghana. Richard is a proud Ghanaian and he has a charitable organization in Ghana that encourages kids to get off the streets and box and get involved in sports.
“It’s a big deal for Ghana to have a world champion. Dogboe lost [Saturday] night [to Emanuel Navarrete] and there’s a lot of significance for Ghana on February 2nd. And then, I’m dead serious, man, I think if [a Lomachenko-Commey] fight is next, Loma’s got his hands full. That’s a great fight.”
Commey, 31, has won three straight fights since suffering back-to-back split-decision defeats to Robert Easter Jr. and Denis Shafikov in 2016.
Easter edged Commey to win the then-vacant IBF lightweight title in September 2016. The hard-hitting Commey caused a flash knockdown during the eighth round of that bout, but he lost on two of three scorecards in Reading, Pennsylvania (114-113, 112-115, 113-114).
Chaniev, 26, is 3-0 since dropping a unanimous decision to fellow Russian Fedor Papazov (21-2, 12 KOs) in their 12-rounder 18 months ago in Riga, Latvia.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.