Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is already looking past his fighter Vasyl ‘Hi-Tech’ Lomachenko’s fight against Guillermo Rigondeaux this weekend towards a rematch between Lomachenko and Orlando Salido. Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) suffered his only pro career loss to Salido in 2014 in losing a 12 round split decision, and the loss marred his perfect record. Salido (44-13-4, 31 KOs) is now 37-years-old, and clearly not the same fighter he was in 2014, but that doesn’t matter to Arum.
Arum still wants/needs Lomachenko to avenge the loss to Salido. It’ll be up to the boxing public to decide whether Lomachenko gets credit for beating the soon to be 38-year-old Salido or not. If Lomachenko couldn’t beat Salido in his prime, then it’s hard to give him credit if he beats him at his current age.
“After this fight on December 9, against Rigondeaux, we will make another offer to Salido for the rematch with Lomachenko,” Arum said to ESPN Deportes.
It might not be a good idea for the 86-year-old Arum to be assuming that Lomachenko gets past Rigondeaux, even though everything is slanted in his favor for that fight. Lomachenko is making Rigondeaux move up 2 entire weight classes to fight him without meeting him halfway with a catch-weight. Rigondeaux, 37, is 8 years older than the 29-year-old Lomachenko. Even with the youth and a huge weight advantage, it’s not a given that Lomachenko beats Rigondeaux. For that reason, Arum is getting way ahead of himself in assuming that Lomachenko wins that fight. Hopefully, we don’t see Lomachenko winning a controversial decision.
Salido is fighting this Saturday night against Miguel ‘Mickey’ Roman (57-12, 44 KOs) in a 10 round bout on HBO Boxing from the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, Events Center, in Las Vegas, Nevada. There won’t be a title on the line, but originally there was supposed to be the interim WBC super featherweight belt the two were fighting over. The WBC announced on Tuesday that the fight would only be for 10 rounds. It’s not a given that Salido beats the 32-year-old Roman, as he’s a very good fighter and in his prime. Salido hasn’t done much since fighting to a 12 round draw last year against former WBC World super featherweight champion Francisco Vargas. Salido deserved the win in that fight, but the judges scored it a 12 round draw. Salido has fought just once since then in beating Aristides Perez by a 7th round stoppage earlier this year in May. Salido looked heavy and sluggish in that fight, and far from the form that he’d showed against Vargas.
“I think that Salido is not very anxious to fight against Lomachenko, because every time we have proposed the fight, he answers us with some number [for his purse] and we agree on what his purse will be, and then he comes back asking for more money,” said Arum.
Salido is older now. If he’s not chomping at the bit to fight Lomachenko, you can understand. If you put Lomachenko in the same situation and have him about to turn 38 and ask him to take on a guy much younger than himself, my guess is he’d be dragging his feet in the same way Salido is now. What we do know is Salido beat him when he was still in his prime at 34, and you can’t take that away from him. Instead of Arum trying to relive the past and make boxing fans forget about it, he should be pushing Lomachenko forward to move up to lightweight and take on Mikey Garcia and the other top fighters in that weight class. Whatever happens now with Salido won’t change what took place 3 years ago when the Mexican fighter was still in his prime. He beat Lomachenko by hitting him with body shots. Lomachenko couldn’t handle it, and he spent most of the fight grabbing Salido in a clinch to keep him from hitting him to the body. Salido exposed Lomachenko in that fight by revealing that he can’t take it to the body. A rematch won’t change anything. Salido is now no longer the same fighter he was back then. Lomachenko is still the same guy, but he’s still young at 29.
Arum needs to stop comparing Lomachenko to Muhammad Ali and see him for what he is – a good fighter who can’t take it to the body.