Arum: Salido Chickened Out of Lomachenko Fight

Heading into 2017, a rematch between Vasyl Lomachenko and Orlando Salido seemed likely to happen in the first quarter of the year. Lomachenko is determined to avenge his only professional loss, and Salido seemed game to prove he can beat the pound-for-pound star again. Now, the fight seems to be off.

Bob Arum, Lomachenko’s promoter and the head of Top Rank, told RingTV that Salido turned down the fight after asking for a massive paycheck.

“Orlando Salido chickened out,” he said. “It’s the only way to say it. He asked for crazy money. We agreed to the crazy money. And then he says ‘No’. He’d just as soon not take the fight. Why? Because he knows he can’t beat (Lomachenko). It was a fluke the first time. So, there’s no other way to paint it. Orlando Salido chickened out of the fight because whatever his demands were, we met those financial demands and then he let us know he’s not interested in taking the fight.”

Lomachenko (7-1) fought Salido in only his second professional fight. The Ukranian amateur star fell victim to a veteran’s cunning, as Salido used every dirty trick in the book to rattle Lomachenko’s cage. In the end, Salido took a split decision victory and derailed Lomachenko’s hype train.

After only a handful of fights since his loss to Salido, Lomachenko has won titles in multiple division and proved himself to be one of the most gifted boxers in the game.

Rejecting Arum’s comments, Salido’s manager Sean Gibbons told RingTV that negotiations simply fell apart, and that Salido is afraid to fight no one. 

“Using Orlando’s name and chicken in the same sentence — that’s ludicrous,” he said. “Orlando has never chickened out of any fight. We had good talks with Bob. I thought we had come to some kind of an agreement. It just didn’t seem to work. Orlando Salido wants to give the fans the fights they want. And I don’t hear any fans clamoring for Salido-Lomachenko.”

Gibbons said that the more exciting fight for boxing fans would be a rematch between Salido and Francisco Vargas. The two Mexican fighters engaged in a Fight of the Year slugfest in June, fighting to a draw.

“Things didn’t work out,” Gibbons said. “Orlando voiced to me ‘Hey, why do I want to fight a guy in Lomachenko who I know is going to run, grab and hold when I can go Mexican-to-Mexican with Francisco Vargas and give the people what they really want to see. The only guys who want to see Lomachenko — are Lomachenko.”

Arum reiterated that Lomachenko will fight in March, and they are seeking a replacement for him for an HBO event.

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