By Keith Idec
If the results of Richard Commey’s upcoming MRI rule him out of an April 12 fight against Vasiliy Lomachenko, the WBA world lightweight champion still won’t make a mandatory defense against Anthony Crolla in his next bout.
BoxingScene.com has learned that if Commey cannot fight April 12 or somewhat soon thereafter, matchmakers for Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. will start seeking an opponent other than Crolla for Lomachenko’s next bout. A purse bid for the Lomachenko-Crolla contest is scheduled for February 13 at the WBA’s headquarters in Panama City, Panama.
If Lomachenko were to beat Commey or someone else April 12, the Lomachenko-Crolla fight could be scheduled for sometime this summer. Theoretically, Eddie Hearn, Crolla’s promoter, could win a purse bid and bring a Lomachenko-Crolla clash to the United Kingdom, where Crolla (34-6-3, 13 KOs) is a proven ticket-seller in his hometown of Manchester, England.
Problem is, Crolla, despite his championship pedigree and three-fight winning streak, would be viewed as such a massive underdog against Lomachenko it likely would negatively impact ticket sales and pay-per-view buys on Sky Sports Box Office.
Commey, meanwhile, has an MRI scheduled for Thursday.
If the damage Commey’s team suspects he has done to his middle right knuckle is confirmed through that exam, Commey won’t be able to meet Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs) in what would be a lightweight title unification fight April 12 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Arum and Lou DiBella, Commey’s promoter, then would determine whether Commey could battle Lomachenko within a reasonable amount of time after April 12, or if Top Rank needs to find another lightweight contender for Ukraine’s Lomachenko to box.
Commey revealed right after he knocked out Isa Chaniev on Saturday night that he heard “a pop” when he landed a right hand during the first round. The newly crowned IBF 135-pound champ was worried in the immediate aftermath of his second-round TKO win that the injury would keep him from fighting Lomachenko in two months.
Ghana’s Commey (28-2, 25 KOs) dropped Russia’ Chaniev (13-2, 6 KOs) three times on his way to an easy victory ESPN televised from Ford Center at The Star, the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility in Frisco, Texas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.