By Chris Williams: After Vasyl Lomachenko gives up his WBO super featherweight title soon, Top Rank boss Bob Arum reportedly wants to have WBO 126 lb. champion Oscar Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs) move up in weight to fight unbeaten Christopher Diaz (22-0, 14 KOs) for the vacant WBO 130lb. title.
Valdez vs. Diaz would be a huge Mexico vs. Puerto Rico type fight. Valdez is from Mexico, whereas Diaz is from Puerto Rico. The would attract a lot of attention from boxing fans from those 2 countries. I’d favor Diaz to win right now.
Diaz by far was the most exciting fighter on the card last Saturday. That’s not to take anything away from Lomachenko, but he was boring in comparison to Diaz. There’s no comparing the 2 fighters. Diaz is an all-action fighter in the Gennady Golovkin mold. Lomachenko is more of a boxer, who wins but he doesn’t leave a lasting impression the way Diaz does.
Diaz, 23, looked great last Saturday night in defeating Bryant Cruz (18-3, 9 KOs) by a 3rd round knockout on the undercard of the Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux card on ESPN at Madison Square Garden in New York. Diaz put on the most exciting performance on the entire card by blowing out the 28-year-old Cruz in 3 rounds. It’s not just that Diaz scored a 3rd round knockout. It was the way that Diaz won the fight. Diaz was throwing huge hooks to the body and head from the 1st round. He ended up dropping Cruz in round 1, two times in round 2, and one time in round 3. It was 4 knockdowns in total from Diaz, and the shots that he dropped Cruz with were punches that would have knocked down most fighters in the super featherweight division, even Lomachenko.
Diaz would be a lot of trouble for Oscar Valdez, who hasn’t looked good in his last 2 fights against Genesis Servania and Miguel Marriaga. Both of those guys hurt Valdez. There might be a chin issue with Valdez after the punishment he took in the Marriaga fight. I’d favor Christopher Diaz to beat Valdez right now if the two of them face each other in 2018.
Arum is talking about Lomachenko moving up to lightweight in 2018 to immediately challenge for a world title. However, Lomachenko has been talking about wanting to move up to lightweight for well over 1 year now, so it’s unknown if he’ll finally make the move or not in 2018. If we’re to go by Lomachenko’s behavior in the past, he’ll stay at super featherweight and keep talking about wanting to move up to lightweight one of these days. If Lomachenko doesn’t make the move up to the 135 lb. division in 2018, you have to figure it’s a confidence issue on his part.
Once Lomachenko moves up to lightweight, he’s going to be under severe pressure to fight WBC champion Mikey Garcia, and I don’t think he wants that fight. Arum isn’t going to have Oscar Valdez move up until Lomachenko has cleared out and moved up to lightweight. Arum isn’t going to match Valdez against Lomachenko, because that would be a disaster for Oscar.