Promoter Bob Arum wants former pound-for-pound king Vasily Lomachenko to move back down to the 130-pound division because he feels he’s too small to be fighting at 135.
Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) lost his WBA, WBC, and WBO lightweight titles to Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) last weekend.
Surprisingly, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum wants a talented fighter like Lomachenko to surrender and fight in the glamorous 135-pound division, which offers him bigger paydays than he can get fighting at 130 or 126.
Lomachenko is too small for the 135-lb division
“Ridiculous,” Arum said to ESPN about the way that Lomachenko fought in the first seven rounds against Teofimo “He gave away half the fight. He [Lomachenko came on, but it was too late.
“It seems to be that the 135-pound guys are too big for him,” Arum said.
The top lightweights Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, Luke Campbell, and Gervonta Davis aren’t as big as Teofimo Lopez. They also have a style that is better suited for Lomachenko to excel against.
You can’t say that Teofimo is a true lightweight, as it’s common knowledge that he’s essentially a 140-pounder who is somehow able to cut weight to fight at 135. The 23-year-old Teofimo can do this because of his youth.
Young fighters like Lopez can get away with draining down to fight in weight classes well below their natural size. Hence, the much bigger Teofimo looked three divisions larger than Lomachenko last Saturday night.
Teofimo = 140-pounder
In terms of size, Teofimo is an exception rather than the rule for the lightweight division, and Loma isn’t always going to be fighting a guy that looks like he should be competing at 140 or 147.
“If you do a rematch, you want to do it after this COVID is over, where people are vaccinated so we could monetize things and we have a gate and everything,” Arum said about a second fight between Lomachenko and Teofimo.
At this point, Lomachenko and Teofimo must fight in front of a live crowd and possibly on ESPN pay-per-view for the rematch. The two fighters gave away too much money fighting without an audience in ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
With Lomachenko being the older fighter, who may not have much time left in his career before retirement, he must get the most money possible for a rematch with Lopez.
If Lomachenko will get a rematch with Teofimo (16-0, 12 KOs), he’s going to need to do it as soon as possible. Lopez talks about wanting to move up to 140 in 2021 to take on the Josh Taylor vs. Jose Ramirez fight winner.
Once Teofimo begins fighting at 140, it’ll be too hard for him to return to the lightweight division to take on Lomachenko. Additionally, the boxing public will have forgotten about the Lomachenko-Lopez rivalry, and they won’t be as interested in seeing them fight again.
Right now, Top Rank needs to strike while the iron is still hot by matching Loma and Teofimo back in with either other.
If Lomachenko were younger, it would make sense to wait, but he’s not young, and he may not have much time left before he hangs up his gloves.
Arum will need to convince Teofimo to rematch with Lomachenko because he and his dad Teofimo Sr have already said they don’t want to fight Loma again.
Lomachenko isn’t calling for a rematch
What’s troubling is Lomachenko hasn’t come forward yet to say that he wants a rematch with Teofimo. The fact that Lomachenko hasn’t said a word about wanting a second fight with Teofimo gives the impression that he doesn’t fancy facing him again.
That means that he agrees with the wide decision handed down by the judges last Saturday, who scored it 116-112, 117-111, and 119-109.
The longer Lomachenko waits to speak up, the more boxing fans will think that he doesn’t like his chances in the rematch.
For Lomachenko to agree to Arum’s recommendations, he’ll lose out on massive paydays against these fighters:
- Teofimo Lopez – rematch
- Ryan Garcia
- Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis
- Devin Haney
Loma losing out on big paydays if he leaves the 135-lb division
With all of those fights, there would be the possibility of rematches, which would bring in untold riches to Lomachenko. If Teofimo’s theory of the reason for Lomachenko fighting at 135 is for him to cash out before retiring, he would be losing out on huge paydays by giving up on the division.
Arum’s not the one that would be losing out on the dough if Lomachenko chooses to give up on the lightweight division. The pays are better for Loma at 135 than at 130. Of course, if Lomachenko can’t beat the top lightweights, it makes little sense for him to stay in this weight class.
Thus far, Lomachenko has only lost one fight at 135, and that was one that he arguably could have won had he fought harder in the first seven rounds.
Lomachenko, 32, is a fighter with a lot of pride, and he’s probably going to be resistant to Arum’s suggestion about him giving up on the 135-pound division to move back down to 130.
But Arum does have a point about Loma being too small to be fighting at 135, and he’s going to continue to struggle if he persists in staying in this weight class.
Lightweights a lot bigger than Loma
It was clear from the beginning of the fight that the southpaw Lomachenko lacked the size to beat Teofimo.
To Lomachenko’s credit, he did fight well in the late stages against Teofimo. He made the mistake of not fighting hard in the first half of the contest, which ruined his winning chances.
From Arum’s point of view, Lomachenko lacks the size to do well at lightweight. He’s not been dominating since he moved up to 135 in 2018.
Until last Saturday, Lomachenko won his fights at lightweight, but he looked beaten up in each contest.
If this were the first time Lomachenko had problems against a 135-pounder, it wouldn’t be much of an issue. But this was the fourth fight of five opponents at 135 in which Lomachenko has struggled and not looked like the fighter he once was.
Lomachenko started his career in 2013 at 126 [featherweight], and he’s not fighting in his third weight class.
It’s an overreach on Loma’s part, and if he continues to stay at 135, he could see his career go down the drain in the same way that Adrien Broner’s career evaporated after he moved up from super featherweight  to 147.
Fighting at 126 or 130 will extend Lomachenko’s career
Arum is obviously looking out for the welfare of Lomachnko in wanting him to move back down in eight.
Although the paydays won’t be as good for Lomachenko at 130, he can extend his potential if he stays in that weight class rather than staying at 135 to battle huge fighters that are much bigger than him.
If Lomachenko wants to really extend his career, he can move back down to featherweight, where he would likely dominate for a long, long time in that weight class. Unfortunately, Lomachenko’s paydays would be limited at 126, and he wouldn’t enjoy the money he’s received since moving up to 135.
Bob Arum wants Teofimo to face Haney or Ryan Garcia
Arum wants to match Teofimo against either WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney or Ryan Garcia, depending on whether they win their upcoming fights in early December. Ryan faces Luke Campbell on December 5th, and Haney defends against Yuriorkis Gamboa on December 7th.
“Those would be attractive fights,” Arum said about Teofimo fighting Ryan Garcia or Devin Haney next. “They have other promoters, Haney and Garcia, but I’m sure that they would be appropriate challengers for Teofimo. But again, I haven’t discussed it with him.”