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WBO orders a fight between Gary Russell Jr. and Vasyl Lomachenko

The WBO is mandating a fight between Gary Russell Jr. and Vasyl Lomachenko to fill the vacant featherweight title.

Will they work together?

Today, via Twitter, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) ordered a fight between Gary Russell Jr. and Vasyl Lomachecnko in order to fill the WBO featherweight title vacancy created when Orlando Salido failed to make weight for his fight with Lomachecnko. Lomachenko would have been awarded the strap if he had been able to defeat his more experienced foe, but he wound up on the losing end of a close decision. It was only Lomachecnko's second official professional bout.

There are really two things here. First, this is a fascinating matchup as it pits two men against each other whose pro careers have taken polar opposite routes to get here. Russell Jr. has been harshly criticized for not stepping up his competition level over the past few years. He seems stuck in neautral, feasting on tomato cans and the dreaded TBA. Lomachencko, however, faced Salido, a world-class boxer, in only his second pro fight. If you want to count his World Series of Boxing stuff as professional then go ahead. It's still pretty amazing what he did. Both he and Russell are elite talents and highly skilled. It would be fun to see what happens.

But the bigger story would be the possibility of Golden Boy and Top Rank working together. Would they? I highly doubt it, but stranger things have happened. Oscar de la Hoya, Golden Boy's founder, has been tweeting lately about trying to work with Top Rank again. Why not try it here, in a mandated fight?

If the two sides can't come to an agreement or if they simply refuse to negotiate with each other over the next 30 days, a purse bid will be held. The winner of the bid would promote the bout.

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