By Scott Christ
Two more big cards are headed to ESPN in August.
As expected, Top Rank’s deal with ESPN is bringing Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford to the network in August, as ESPN.com is reporting that dates are done for each man’s next bout, one of which is an extremely rare full unification fight.
On August 5, Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KO) will defend his WBO super featherweight title against Miguel Marriaga (25-2, 21 KO) at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater (formerly Nokia Theatre).
The 29-year-old Lomachenko has been dominant since losing his second pro fight to Orlando Salido, and in his last three outings, has been sensational against world class fighters Rocky Martinez, Nicholas Walters, and Jason Sosa, making mincemeat of that trio.
Marriaga, 30, isn’t exactly the most inspired choice of opponent, to be honest, as he’s coming off of a loss to WBO featherweight titleholder Oscar Valdez. Marriaga has also been beaten in the past by Walters. But Lomachenko doesn’t always have the easiest time finding opponents, and Marriaga is a tough customer if nothing else. He’s probably going to find himself outclassed badly by Lomachenko, but that won’t really be anything new.
It was originally expected that Lomachenko would rematch Salido, something he badly wants, but Top Rank’s Carl Moretti said that all fell apart in negotiation:
“When the financial requests were met suddenly there were other issues like a hand problem, which led to a weight problem, which led to Marriaga. Funny how that happens. So we moved on to trying to secure the best possible opponent at the time, and Miguel Marriaga stepped up to the plate.”
Ray Beltran (33-7-1, 21 KO) will face Bryan Vasquez (35-2, 19 KO) in a lightweight bout on the Lomachenko-Marriaga show.
The better of the two fights comes on August 19, when Crawford (31-0, 22 KO) takes on Julius Indongo (22-0, 11 KO) in a battle of undefeated champions, with full unification of the 140-pound division on the line.
Crawford holds the WBC and WBO titles, while Indongo has the IBF and WBA belts. As Dan Rafael notes, this will be just the fourth time in the four belt era that a fight has all four major titles up for grabs.
Crawford, 29, continued his excellent run with an easy win over Felix Diaz Jr on HBO on May 20, stopping the former Olympic gold medalist after 10 rounds. Indongo, 34, most recently fought on April 15 in Glasgow, routing home fighter Ricky Burns to unify the WBA and IBF belts.
Top light heavyweight prospect Oleksandr Gvzodyk (13-0, 11 KO) will be in the Crawford-Indongo co-feature against an opponent to be determined. The show will also feature returns for Bryant Jennings, Nicholas Walters, Dillian Whyte, and Shakur Stevenson, and will take place at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Source:: Bad Left Hook