Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum believes a title unification clash with Ray Beltran is next for Vasyl Lomachenko rather than a more highly-anticipated bout with Mikey Garcia.
Lomachenko (11-1) became the quickest three-weight world champion in boxing history when he defeated former World Boxing Association lightweight champion Jorge Linares by knockout in the 10th round of their main event Saturday night in Madison Square Garden, New York.
In one of the most competitive match-ups of Lomachenko's career, which notably was cable television’s highest-rated fight of 2018, the Ukrainian bounced back from an earlier knockdown to eventually drop Linares with a body shot with the referee calling for an end to the fight soon after despite the latter gradually getting up to his feet.
Now a champion at 135 pounds after successfully rising up to the challenge of a bigger and more experienced fighter, the question is who the 30-year-old will face next, especially with Arum claiming he would fight once again in August in Los Angeles, California.
"Definitely, we’re going to L.A.," Arum said, as per Boxing Scene. "[Lomachenko] told me August 25 is good. So that’s the date, in L.A."
A title unification fight with World Boxing Council lightweight champion Garcia (38-0) is ideal and one many boxing fans have been hoping for years but Arum believes another title unification clash will happen with World Boxing Organization lightweight champion Beltran (35-7-1) instead.
In addition, Garcia looks set to face International Boxing Federation lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. (21-0) in his own title unification clash in the summer as Arum does not think booking a fight with him will be easy afterward either, likening the two to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao who eventually fought years after a match-up was slated.
Jorge Linares and Vasyl Lomachenko served up a boxing classic over the weekend. Pictured: Vasiliy Lomachenko punches Jorge Linares during their WBA lightweight title fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City, May 12, 2018. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images
"Beltran is the obvious opponent," Arum added, as per BoxingNews24 before speaking on why Garcia is hard to negotiate with. "Mikey Garcia is a worse negotiation than [President] Trump is going to have with the North Koreans."
"Because of the way [Garcia] negotiates: ‘Oh, I’m loyal to [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,” he said. “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’m tired of that. He wants to fight, let him call me. I’ll give him a number. If it's not good, f–k it. I ain't negotiating."
Garcia, though, was impressed with Lomachenko's performance against Linares and spoke out about his desire to face him in the future.
"Lomachenko did good, beat a solid world champion at 135," he told the LA Times. "I would love a fight with him. Hope we can make it happen in the near future."