Top Rank CEO Bob Arum sent a barb over the fence into the sovereign state governed by manager Al Haymon whilst speaking with Esnewsreporting.com recently.
Arum was discussing what lies ahead in the immediate future for one of his most prized possessions, WBO World featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (4-1, 2KO’s), when he issued the following taunt.
“Well he’s definitely gonna fight in the fall. We don’t know. If the other side [Haymon] thinks that [Leo] Santa Cruz is so good why don’t they put him in with Lomachenko? I mean after all, Lomachenko decisively beat their other featherweight, Russell.”
Lomachenko is lightyears ahead of almost all fighters with five fights behind him because of the lengthy and accomplished amateur career he put in before he turned pro (which included two successive Olympic gold medals among a hoots others).
He was granted his first world title shot against Orlando Salido in just his second fight but was out-hustled, old-manned if you will, by the hurtful subtleties of the vastly experienced Mexican.
Salido himself did not walk away the champion that night either, for he came in overweight and so was not entitled to the belt.
Lomachenko bounced back against Gary Russell Jr. in his very next fight for the same vacant belt he contested against Salido but this time emerged with the majority decision victory against a young, unbeaten southpaw with hand speed to match his own. It was a solid performance and the Ukrainian has looked solid in his two wins since.
Leo Santa Cruz, aside from being the target of Arum’s disparagement, is a new addition to the featherweight class having reigned in the bantam and super-bantamweight divisions before now. He remains unbeaten at 30-0-1, 17 KO’s, but his record is still lacking the kind of recognisable names that often solidify a fighter’s reputation. It could be argued that Lomachenko has logged in more of these already in his short pro campaign.
Lomachenko vs Santa Cruz would likely be a very entertaining match-up and seeing as Arum has effectively called for the fight to happen we may just get it.
The old fellow has shown time and again he will hide the bile in his throat behind loving smile in the name of business, even if he does throw out the odd teasing remark.
It will be Santa Cruz’s first make-or-break encounter where he will get a chance to prove his worth, which is an odd dynamic considering he is a two-weight, two-time undefeated former world champion.
For Lomachenko it is a chance to cement an already solid reputation. His victory if it comes will be one for the genuine article against the counterfeit, a label Santa Cruz is in danger of keeping if he does not fight a named guy soon.