Bob Arum: Lomachenko could face Pacquiao in 2017
If Vasyl Lomachenko keeps winning, including on Saturday, when he defends his WBO junior lightweight title against Nicholas Walters at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on HBO, promoter Bob Arum could see the former two-time Olympic gold medalist facing Manny Pacquiao in 2017 in a match-up of blistering speed.
“He’s going to win other world titles as he goes up in weight,” Arum said on a conference call on Monday. “And there’s going to be very, very interesting guys for him to fight. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that he and Manny could fight sometime next year. Vasyl Lomachenko wants challenges and he’s a tremendous talent, so his upside his enormous.”
Lomachenko (6-1, 4 knockouts) has previously said he would move up to lightweight to face Pacquiao but wouldn’t go any further. Pacquiao recently won a welterweight title earlier this month against Jessie Vargas, though he tipped the scales at just 144 ¾ pounds.
Pacquiao has been amenable to facing Lomachenko at 135 but his trainer Freddie Roach doesn’t want him below 140 pounds. “Yes, of course I would like to fight Pacquiao,” Lomachenko said through a translator on Monday. In just his seventh fight, Lomachenko, 28, made boxing history when he won a major title in a second division, doing so on June 11 when he knocked out Roman Martinez in the fifth round. It’s up to Arum to keep presenting challenges to the wunderkind.
“From the first day I met him,” Arum said, “he sat down with me and we discussed his future. He told me he didn’t want a signing bonus. He wants to earn his own money. All he wanted is challenges that I would present to him and that’s what I’m going to do. He doesn’t want – like a lot of fighters – gimmes. He wants every fight to be a challenge, o I’m not going to slow him down.”
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