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Arum talks Lomachenko-Linares, targeting catchweight fight with Pacquiao

The Top Rank promoter talks about this weekend’s fight and what he has planned next for Vasyl Lomachenko.

Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

Bob Arum takes some time to catch up with our friends at Fight Hub TV to discuss this weekend’s lightweight title fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Jorge Linares, a possible catchweight fight between Lomachenko and Manny Pacquiao, and more. Check it out...

Arum on how he sees Lomachenko-Linares:

“Well my guy [Lomachenko] is the most unique fighter that I’ve seen, ever. His style isn’t reminiscent of any fighter. That being said, he’s been successful at 126 and at 130, and now he’s going up to 135 — I mean, the question is can he handle the extra weight? And he’s in with Linares who’s a consummate professional, a great boxer, who will give him all kinds of problems because Linares is not gonna give up that belt easily.”

On if he thinks the size of Linares is the one main cause for concern:

“Yeah, I mean, that’s the concern because otherwise Lomachenko is better than anybody of the same size. He has more skills than anybody that I’ve seen. The question here is can he use those skills in fighting a bigger guy.”

On what he thinks happens in the fight:

“Well I think that Lomachenko will have a fairly easy time when he’s playing defense, which he does. But he plays defense unlike any other great defensive fight — like a Floyd Mayweather — because his goal is always to destroy the opponent. And the question is when he then goes into offensive mode to destroy Linares, how does he fare?”

On if he thinks Lomachenko will break Linares’ spirit and make him quit:

“If I knew, even remotely, how this fight would turn out I would tell ya but I don’t. I really don’t. I can see a lot of scenarios, including going to the judges scorecards.”

On where he sees Lomachenko ranking, legacy-wise, if he should win this Saturday:

“I think he wants to be known as an all-time great, one of the greatest fighters ever. And this is a stepping stone on that path.”

On if Lomachenko wins this lightweight title, where he wants him to go from there:

“There’s a lot of good opponents at 135. A lot of good champions. There’s [Carlos] Beltran, [Mikey] Garcia, a lot of fights for him. He might go up in weight, do a catchweight fight against [Manny] Pacquiao this winter. We’ll see.”

On how Manny Pacquiao is doing as he gets ready to take on Lucas Matthysse:

“Well, you know, who knows?! I’m talking not only to a boxer but to a senator. So, you know, is he so concerned with his political duties that he’s not paying attention? It’s hard to tell.”

On how he sees Pacquiao-Matthysse playing out:

“Very tough fight for Manny. Very tough. He’s not as fast and maneuverable as he once was, he’s approaching 40, he has his work cut out for him.”

On what’s the plan for Pacquiao’s future in boxing:

“It’s been over 20 years that he’s been a pro. And he’s now gonna be 40. I think that if he’s successful with Matthysse and Lomo is successful in this coming fight with Linares, and another fight, [Pacquiao and Lomachenko will] probably fight in the winter at a catchweight of 140.

“Manny fights really at 144 and that’s eating enormous quantities of food. So he won’t have any problem with 140.”

On if he thinks there’s potential for Lomachenko taking on Mikey Garcia instead:

“No I would look at — Pacquiao fight is a much bigger fight. So I would look at that fight in the winter and the late summer, if he’s successful there, maybe fight a Rey Beltran or somebody like that.”

On where fans can watch Pacquiao-Matthysse in the U.S.:

“Pacquaio-Matthysse is on PPV, you watch it as usual on PPV...”

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