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Vasiliy Lomachenko wants Mikey Garcia, but fight will be negotiation hell, says Arum

Photo by Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos / Golden Boy Promotions

NEW YORK — After Vasiliy Lomachenko successfully debuted in the lightweight division with a 10th-round stoppage of Jorge Linares, the biggest fight remaining to make at 135 pounds is a showdown with Mikey Garcia. 

It’s a fight which pits two of the top pound-for-pound talents in the sport against each other, but Lomachenko’s promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, says he isn’t holding his breath waiting for both sides to agree to terms.

Garcia (38-0, 30 knockouts), who has won titles in four divisions and currently holds the WBC lightweight belt, had a messy split from Top Rank, filing a lawsuit to extricate himself from a promotional deal. He is now reportedly close to inking a deal with Zuffa Boxing, a company headed by UFC president Dana White.

It’s not a situation Arum foresees being pleasant to navigate.

“Mikey Garcia is a worse negotiation than (Donald) Trump is gonna have with the North Koreans,” said Arum at the post-fight press conference on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

“Because of the way (Garcia) negotiates: ‘Oh, I’m loyal to (Showtime president of sports and event programming Stephen) Espinoza and I’m loyal to Showtime.’ I admire loyalty. If he’s loyal to Showtime and they’ve been good to him, let him be loyal to Showtime. Just don’t bother me.”

Lomachenko, who has now won titles in three different divisions, told reporters that he wants to unify other title belts at 135 pounds after being asked about Garcia.

“I’m always interested in unifying the titles. This is why I came to this weight class and that’s what I’ll be looking for,” said Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs), who now holds the RING and WBA lightweight belts. Lomachenko revealed at the press conference he had a “problem” with his hand after the second round, but his manager, Egis Klimas, clarified it was a shoulder issue, which was not expounded on.

In any case, Lomachenko will have to wait while Garcia and IBF titleholder Robert Easter finish their own business when they meet on July 28 in a unification fight which was reported shortly before the Linares-Lomachenko show began.

Lomachenko will fight next on August 25 at The Forum in Inglewood, California, Arum tells THE RING, with Arum, Lomachenko and Klimas to decide on an opponent by next week.

“Whoever’s the best available, whichever makes the most sense, that’s what we’re gonna go after,” said Arum.

One unification fight that should be easy to make is with WBO titleholder Raymundo Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs), the overachieving tough guy who won the vacant title in February with a unanimous decision over Paulus Moses and is signed with Top Rank.

“Lomachenko wants to fight often. We have all these dates on ESPN. With a Mikey Garcia (fight) it becomes the second coming of Mayweather-Pacquiao. The negotiations will go on — I may be 90 years old by the time negotiations finish. I’m tired of that,” said the 86-year-old Arum.

“He wants to fight, let him call me. I’ll give him a number. If it’s not good, fuck it. I ain’t negotiating.”

Prior to the fight, Arum told RING that he is also looking at making a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Lomachenko at a catchweight later this year, provided that Pacquiao gets past Lucas Matthysse on July 14 in Malaysia.

“I’ve been talking to Manny and his people about that. I really hope that we’ll be able to get that fight done, maybe later this year,” said Arum.

Arum also confirmed that Floyd Mayweather Jr., who promotes WBA junior lightweight titleholder Gervonta Davis, had reached out to Top Rank president Todd DuBoef about a possible fight between Davis (20-0, 19 KOs) and Lomachenko, but isn’t sure how serious the talks were.

“I think you should ask Floyd. Floyd called Todd and I think he was pissed off at Davis and he wanted to see Davis destroyed.”

Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and can be reached at [email protected].