If all goes according to plan, Vasyl Lomachenko will finally have an opportunity to avenge his lone professional defeat.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum told RingTV.com on Thursday that negotiations for a long-discussed rematch between Lomachenko and Orlando Salido are in the advanced stages. The WBO junior lightweight title fight doesn’t have a date or location yet — Salido first must defeat Thailand’s Amphon Suriyo in a tune-up bout on May 27 and come out unscathed — but Arum is eyeing the first week of August in either Los Angeles or Chicago for the 130-pound title tilt.
“On the 29th (that Monday), we look to move to close the deal with Bob,” Salido’s manager, Sean Gibbons, told The Ring on Thursday. “I see Lomachenko with the nonsense ‘it doesn’t matter.’ If you’re past it, daddy, quit thinking about it and move on. At the end of the day, Salido is a few years older, Lomachenko a few years better, but we’ll see what happens. Salido will be the best opponent since he fought Salido.”
Top Rank ambitiously matched the two-time Olympic gold medalist right out of the gate. Lomachenko, in just his second pro fight, was tasked with challenging for a world title in March 2014, but not against just anyone. The green pro fighter was presented with a rough-and-tumble Mexican who knows every trick in the book.
And Salido (41-13-4, 30 KOs) used all his wily experience to teach Lomachenko a facet or two about the paid ranks the Ukrainian won’t soon forget. Salido hit him low — over and over. He held, and clinched, and bullied him on the inside with roughhouse tactics Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KOs) never encountered before.
Salido also came in overweight — he tipped the scales at 2 1/4 pounds over the 126-pound limit — and grinded out a split decision. Since then, though, Lomachenko has won titles in two weight classes and clearly established himself as one of the game’s top pound-for-pound fighters (The Ring ranks him No. 6).
Lomachenko, 29, hasn’t met much of a challenge in doing so, either. He outclassed Gary Russell later in 2014, and none of his last five opponents have heard the final bell.
Lomachenko figures to be a major favorite in the rematch — Salido is 1-1-2 since the meeting — but the fight makes a lot of sense. After all, Lomachenko deserves a crack at revenge, and with Miguel Berchelt and Takashi Miura tied up with their own fight on July 15, there’s no other natural fight at junor lightweight.
“Bob assures (money) won’t be a problem this time,” said Gibbons, who tried to close a deal for the fight last summer. The manager expects his man to receive a “high six-figure” purse. “People can say what they want, it’s still an intriguing fight. Salido won, but they blame it on weight; they blame it on low blows. I blame it on Salido knows how to fight a left-handed fighter. He’s 36, Lomachenko’s a little fresher.
“It just needs to be put to bed. Lomachenko used to be a guy not about money, he was about records, now he’s concerned about money? His thing was ‘I don’t care about the money, I care about history. It’s not like we lost the fight. We’re not being ridiculous with money.”
Revenge? Lomachenko might soon taste such sweet justice.
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