Vasiliy Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) was in prime form on Saturday night when he put a beat down on WBA mandatory challenger Anthony Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KOs), stopping him in the fourth round.
Lomachenko had previously looked less-than spectacular in his last outing against Jose Pedraza (25-2, 12 KOs), and along with his recent shoulder surgery, many wondered if Lomachenko had reached his peak. Lomachenko put those thoughts to rest with a vintage ‘High-Tech’ performance, using angles, body shots, and devastating combos before landing the finishing blow to the temple in the fourth round. In the post-fight interview, he was quick to call out Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs). While that would be a fantastic fight, there are also other fighters that make sense. Lets take a look:
Richard Commey (28-2, 25 KOs) became the new IBF lightweight champion in his last fight when he scored a devastating knockout over Isa Chaniev (13-2, 6 KOs). Commey’s athleticism and knockout power were on full display, and he immediately became involved in talks to unify titles against Lomachenko. As a matter of fact, he was the targeted opponent for Saturday’s fight but a hand injury forced him on the sidelines. His hand injury is expected to improve quickly, and he will most likely be Lomachenko’s next opponent. Vasiliy would be the favorite, but Commey cannot be counted out. Both of his losses were split decision defeats where many saw him as the victor. Lomachenko has been tagged and dropped before, and getting tagged by Commey could mean lights out. Commey would go into the fight with a significant fight advantage as well. Expect this one to be announced later this year.
Luke Campbell (20-2, 16 KOs) is another viable and likely opponent for Lomachenko. Like Lomachenko, Campbell is also an olympic gold medalist and has built a solid career for himself in the pros. He challenged then-light king, Jorge Linares, but lost a highly-contested split decision. Since then, he has won 3 fights in a row, most recently knocking out Adrian Yung (26-6, 20 KOs). Campbell, like he showed in the Linares fight, can box well both going forward and off the back foot. He is also absolutely giant at lightweight and could pose some problems for Lomachenko. However, Loma would undoubtedly be the heavy favorite. This is another fight I expect to be announced sometime this year.
This is one fight that would surprise me if it happened this year, but not at all if it happened in 2020. Teofimo Lopez (12-0, 10 KOs) is one of boxing’s rising stars and has made easy work of nearly all of his opponents. Diego Magdaleno (32-3, 13 KOs) was supposed to give Lopez trouble when they squared off last February, but Lopez showed everyone’s so high on him. Lopez’s counter punching, accuracy, and killer instinct were all on display as he battered Magdaleno over seven rounds, before stopping him with a monstrous left hook. Lopez has made no secret that he wants to fight Lomachenko, constantly calling him out in interviews. He is scheduled to fight Edis Tatli (31-2, 10 KOs) on the Crawford-Khan card this upcoming Saturday, and I expect him to once again call the Ukranian out.
Make no mistake about it, if Lomachenko-Lopez comes to fruition, the boxing world will be buzzing. Lopez has shown to be a fantastic prospect, and with a few more wins under his belt, could become a full-fledged contender. Like the other opponents mentioned previously, Lopez is huge for the lightweight division and has serious skills. I believe this fight will get made in mid 2020 as a highly anticipated pay-per-view.
Ah yes, the fight we all want to see next, but probably won’t because… boxing. Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs) is most recently coming off a loss to welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr. (25-0, 21 KOs) in which he stepped up two divisions for the fight. While he fell short on his quest to becoming 5 division champion, Garcia is still considered one of the best fights at 140 lbs and less. Maybe THE best. A Lomachenko-Garcia fight would have the boxing world buzzing, especially if it takes place at 135 pounds. At lightweight Garcia demonstrated exceptional power, accuracy, and overall boxing skill. It would be highly intriguing to see if he could return to vintage Garcia and dethrone Lomachenko. It would be equally exciting to see if Lomachenko could implement his angles, footwork, and phenomenal boxing skills on one of the best fighters at 135 pounds.
The only problem with this fight – boxing politics. Vasiliy Lomachenko is currently signed to Top Rank Promotions whose issues with Mikey Garcia are well-known. Garcia himself might not want to deal with the promotional company. Honestly speaking, I do not believe this fight will get made. At least not anytime soon. The demand would have to be on the level of Mayweather-Pacquiao for it to come to fruition. Or who knows, maybe I’m proved wrong and the fight that everyone wants to see gets made next.
Vasiliy Lomachenko is back and he has no shortage of opponents. Whether its a fellow champion, a solid contender, a rising star, or another elite fighter, Lomachenko has options. It will be interesting to see which fights get made and whether he can continue to prove he is among the pound for pound greats.