By Keith Idec
Bob Arum and his brain trust would’ve preferred to make a Vasyl Lomachenko-Orlando Salido rematch for August 5.
But according to Carl Moretti, Top Rank Inc.’s vice president of boxing operations, Salido turned down a $720,000 purse to face Lomachenko that night. Top Rank instead announced late Thursday night that Lomachenko will meet Colombia’s Miguel Marriaga in a super featherweight title fight ESPN will broadcast August 5 from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
“When [Salido’s] financial requests were met, suddenly there were other issues, like a hand problem, which led to a weight problem, which led to Marriaga,” Moretti told ESPN.com. “Funny how that happens. So we moved on to secure the best possible opponent at the time, and Miguel Marriaga stepped up to the plate.”
Marriaga (25-2, 21 KOs) lost his last fight, a 12-round unanimous decision to WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (22-0, 19 KOs) on April 22 at StubHub Center in Carson, California. Ukraine’s Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KOs) wants to fight Salido again because Salido beat him by split decision in just Lomachenko’s second professional fight three years ago in San Antonio.
Mexico’s Salido won that 12-round featherweight fight on two of the three scorecards (116-112, 115-113, 113-115), but was criticized for repeatedly hitting Lomachenko with low blows. Lomachenko’s improvement since Salido defeated him has made the two-time Olympic gold medalist a consensus top-five fighter, pound-for-pound, in the world.
The 29-year-old Lomachenko dominated former WBA title-holder Jason Sosa (20-2-4, 15 KOs) in his last fight, which he won by technical knockout when Sosa’s trainer, Raul Rivas, stopped their one-sided bout following the ninth round April 8 in Oxon Hill, Maryland. The 36-year-old Salido is 2-1-2 in five fights since he beat Lomachenko, who owns the WBO 130-pound championship.
“If you put Marriaga, Salido and Sosa in a round-robin,” Moretti said, “I think they’re all excellent fights, and who knows who would win. Obviously, Lomachenko is at a different level. But in the ring, we know what Marriaga brings – heart, determination, a big right hand, size and no intimidation.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.