It was an eventful Saturday night for boxing, with Vasiliy Lomachenko and Gervonta Davis both scoring big wins. Lomachenko destroyed Masayoshi Nakatani in his return on ESPN+, while Davis had a tough fight and a good stoppage win over Mario Barrios in a 140 lb debut on Showtime PPV.
So what’s next for the two big names?
This one should be quick. All indications are that we will see a rematch between Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez. There are a couple conditions to that, one obvious:
- Lopez has to beat George Kambosos Jr if and/or when they ever actually fight. (They’re currently suspected to go on Sept. 11.)
- It has to be immediately after Lopez-Kambosos. If not, it seems Lopez would probably move up to 140.
As it is, Teofimo Lopez Sr suggested December at Madison Square Garden, but I suspect based on availability and all that, any time by, say, March of 2022 could work.
But let’s say Lopez-Loma 2 does not happen next, which we should at least give lip service because it is boxing, the sport that loves not giving its fans what they want to see. (For what it’s worth, I do think we’ll get it.) Or even let’s say Kambosos shocks the world and beats Teofimo. What then for Lomachenko?
Kambosos would obviously be a potential option, but one figures Lopez might want a Kambosos rematch if that happens. The other titleholder at 135 is Devin Haney. Lomachenko (15-2, 11 KO) already balked at fighting him once when it would have been ordered, creating the “WBC Franchise belt” at lightweight and the delightful title saga we’ve had ever since.
Haney is with Matchroom and DAZN so that probably wouldn’t happen, and at any rate Haney will be on the hook to fight the Diaz-Fortuna winner after July 9, unless the WBC want to make up another stupid ass title so that Haney doesn’t actually have to do a mandatory, like they did for Lomachenko. The other top names at 135 are Ryan Garcia, who is supposedly returning soon, and maybe Gervonta Davis. Gervonta ain’t fighting Lomachenko. It’s just not happening, nor is Ryan.
At that point, you have to start looking around. Maybe three belts go vacant if Teofimo moves up. That would surely create something for Lomachenko. Maybe he considers a move down to 130 for a fight with Shakur Stevenson, who has expressed his confidence many times that he would beat Lomachenko easily. It would be a big fight for Shakur and a big step up, too, and at that point probably worth doing for Loma.
But I don’t want to prattle on about this. I want to truly believe we’re getting Lopez-Loma 2, so let’s just say we will.
I really loved Jim Gray refusing to accept Tank Davis’ answer of, basically, “Idk I’ll fight who they tell me to next,” as if this is somehow inconsistent with Davis’ career to date. Davis could fight at 130, 135, or 140 next. He’s got paper belts at 135 and 140, and a real belt at 130, and for all it really matters, the paper is about as good as the real to the general public, who are so confused by boxing’s bullshit that trying to explain it to them is a waste of time anyway.
Davis (25-0, 24 KO) is a threat at any of those weights, but there’s really just no guessing whom his next opponent will be; it’s not like anyone was guessing Mario Barrios after Tank beat Leo Santa Cruz last year. We know for a flat fact it won’t be anyone outside the PBC umbrella, other than a possible free agent, and there aren’t many notable free agents.
Who do PBC have between 130 and 140 of real note? Not that many people, to be honest. A rematch with Barrios probably won’t be in any great demand, and while it was a good fight, I don’t think it was so great that you can sell it again on PPV right away, if this one sold well enough to be happy with in the first place.
The most intriguing fight at 140 might be Regis Prograis, who is able to bounce around right now. The former titleholder called for it on Twitter after the fight, and he brings more to the table than Barrios, with respect to Barrios. Batyr Akhmedov won a WBA eliminator on the Davis-Barrios undercard, but if you think star fighters with the right promoters truly have to abide by sanctioning body rules, you’re living on Earth-8 or something.
Here’s one to consider a wild card: Jamal James, who currently holds the WBA’s secondary belt at 147 lbs. James is 6’2”, so would have even more of an absurd height advantage than Barrios did, but he actually has a slightly shorter reach than Barrios. It seems insane, and it is — Tank would be giving up about nine inches of height officially — but Davis is a fighter who has been steered to weird surprise fights before, obviously. And hey, FOUR-DIVISION CHAMP!
- Julio Cesar Martinez (19-1, 14 KO) stopped Joel Cordova to retain his WBC belt at 112 lbs, which is a predictable outcome. He’s a must-watch fighter against anyone, and promoter Eddie Hearn wants him to unify before moving up to 115 for a possible all-Mexico super fight with Juan Francisco Estrada next year. The plan is for Martinez to be back in September, and if it’s unification, the most likely bet there would seem to be WBA titleholder Artem Dalakian, who has not shown any actual ambition with the belt since beating Brian Viloria for it in 2018. Junto Nakatani has the WBO title but an order to fight Angel Acosta, and Sunny Edwards has the IBF but is promoted by Frank Warren, for starters, and also has a new mandatory in Ricardo Sandoval. Martinez-Edwards would have a great story, though, as it was against Charlie Edwards — Sunny’s older brother — that a lot of people first noticed JCM.
- I’d expect Erickson Lubin (24-1, 17 KO) to fight the Charlo-Castano winner, at least if it’s Charlo. Lubin’s win over Jeison Rosario was a WBC eliminator, and the Charlo-Castano winner will be undisputed champ at 154 lbs. Lubin has wanted the rematch with Jermell Charlo, who stopped him in one round back in 2017. Lubin’s a smarter, better, more prepared fighter than he was then. If Brian Castano upsets Charlo, they probably do a rematch.
- Janibek Alimkhanuly (10-0, 6 KO) took a step up and delivered big, dominating Rob Brant and forcing a stoppage after eight rounds. That puts Alimkhanuly right in the mix at 160, a division that desperately needs fresh blood. You can probably expect a sideways step at best next, in all honesty, because the best in-house fight for him to make at Top Rank would be Ryota Murata, who is reported to have a December deal in place to fight Gennadiy Golovkin in a unification.