The next superfight in boxing may be dead in the water before it even hits the open seas.
Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Gervonta Davis is on the shortlist of dream fights for just about every knowledgeable fan. Pitting Lomachenko’s refined skill and supreme gifts against Davis’ explosive athleticism and dogged aggression, this one would not only be a division-defining bout in the increasingly talented lightweight division, but also a battle of pound-for-pound undefeated greats. Lomachenko is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-division world champ. Davis is a dominant two-division world champ.
However, as is often the case in this sport that we love, the politics of business stand in its way.
Lomachenko is under contract with Top Rank Promotions and bound to their exclusive ESPN TV deal. Davis is fighting under the Mayweather Promotions/PBC banner, which has output deals with Fox and Showtime.
Barring some hard-to-see coming together of business rivals, this bout is not very likely to happen anytime soon after boxing gets back to post-coronavirus business.
“Right now, I don’t think he’s going to fight me,” Lomachenko recently told DAZN News. “He might want to fight me, but his promoters are not going to let him. Aside from him, that weight class is getting very
interesting. We have a lot of good names in the weight class. Not (just) the champions, but they
are in the rankings. So I think it’s a hard weight division.”
The Ukrainian may speak the partial truth here. He’s leaving out, however, the reality that his own promoter may be just as reluctant to have him meet Davis. Staging a cross-company, all-or-nothing bout featuring two of a promotion’s biggest stars is a huge risk and one that will leave the losing side with a big defeat and a damaged product in need of serious rebuilding.
Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao famously put aside their conflicting business ties to stage their 2015 blockbuster. But, of course, there were hundreds of millions of dollars to make from this union– more than enough to offset the risk of a big, main stage loss. In the case of Lomachenko-Davis, there’s not that kind of money involved in their pairing. Unfortunately, that means that it’s probably more long-term profitable for both sides to not take the risk and not make fight.
Us fans can dream, though. And, who knows? Maybe this forced downtime during the global health crisis and all the lost revenue coming from it might encourage a little bit of daring to make an important fight like this. One thing is for certain– If this fight does happen, the winner will definitely become an even bigger star with greater earning power.
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