Equals of Vasyl Lomachenko don’t exist below 147, says manager
The night started early at the MSG Theater in New York – probably a wise move. Might as well let the patrons see fights and then get out before the city streets get too crazed with St. Paddy’s Day patrons pinballing about, liquored and loony.
Three Puerto Rican seat-sellers – Jose Pedraza, Christopher Diaz and then Felix Verdejo – would seek to keep their rooters happy after a 5:30 p.m. ET first bell. Top Rank put together this league of nations card, all the better to try and sell out the small room. But, of course, the main attractant would have to be an Irishman. And yes, Mick Conlan from Belfast fits the bill.
As Verdejo pecked away at longer and taller Antonio Lozada, the world’s pound-for-pound best pugilist – or second best; no less than third, I’d say – watched from a stellar seat. Vasyl Lomachenko will be back to NY for a March 12 faceoff against Jorge Linares, and Loma dutifully and cordially extended his hand as I greeted the Ukrainian dazzler.
I admitted to his manager, Egis Klimas, that I don’t see Loma vs. Linares as a 50-50 endeavor. He doesn’t either. In fact, he said, he couldn’t easily offer me a fight that would be a 50-50 proposition for Loma. “Not up to 147,” said Klimas, as the promoter watched Verdejo try to right his momentum ship, next to TR exec Carl Moretti. He thought some more. “Mikey Garcia is the closest,” he said.
And you don’t see that as 50-50, do you? 70-30? “That seems about right,” said Klimas, who was waiting to see another of his 175 aces, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, stay unbeaten against Mehdi Amar. He could face the winner of the Adonis Stevenson and Badou Jack, should it actually come off.
OK, anyone else?
Nope, said Klimas. Basically, we will have to wait for talent to flourish. I mentioned Regis Prograis and Klimas agreed, he’s solid. But, he said, none of us should be hoping for Loma to skip up another weight class. 140 is where the Loma train stops. No 147 for him.