Manny Pacquiao is nearing the end of his illustrious career and Vasyl Lomachenko is just getting started.
Pacquiao, 38, (59-6-2, 38 KOs) is the only boxer to capture world titles in eight different weight classes and is still one of the top stars in the sport. Lomachenko, 29, (7-1, 5 KOs) is the most heralded boxer in the last 25 years. He sported an amateur record of 396-1 and is a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Boxing media and fans alike feel Lomachenko is already the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world since Roman “Chocolatito: Gonzalez lost to Srisaket Sor Rungvisa last month.
Lomachenko and Pacquiao fight under the same promotional banner, Top Rank under legendary promoter Bob Arum. The 85-year-old said before Lomachenko’s last fight against Nicholas Walters in November that it wasn’t out of the possibility of a Lomachenko vs. Pacquiao showdown in 2017.
MORE: When is Lomachenko’s next fight?
Pacquiao currently doesn’t have a fight scheduled but is rumored to being facing Jeff Horn in Australia on July 1. Lomachenko who defends his WBO junior lightweight title against Jason Sosa on Saturday night on HBO doesn’t necessarily agree with Arum and takes a veiled shot at the future first ballot Hall of Famer.
“In terms of fighting Manny Pacquiao, he is near the end of his career,” Lomachenko told Sporting News. “In the next two to three years he will be at the end of his career. And I’m not going to go in there and beat an old guy. It’s complete nonsense for me to chase him. He has his own career. I have my own career. I think that I have a lot of good fighters in my division and at 135 and we can go in there and find out who is the best. Now, would be crazy for me to go in there and chase Pacquiao. He is like three years from now.”
The comparison between Lomachenko and Pacquiao is there. Considering they fight under the same fight promotion, the same network and Pacquiao’s fought in eight weight classes and Lomachenko has already fought in two different weight classes and in the near future looks to move to a third. The Ukrainian boxing machine doesn’t get what people are saying and disagrees with the comparisons between them.
“People are comparing me to Manny Pacquiao,” Lomachenko said. “It’s a completely different thing. Manny Pacquiao started when he was 18 years old and he was growing throughout his career. His body was growing and that’s how he got to where he’s at. I started my career at the age of 25. Most of my body was already developed and I still competed in two different weight classes and looking to get into a third different weight class. I just don’t think its fair enough for me to go to 140 right away. You can’t compare two guys like Kell Brook and Gennady Golovkin as Brook jumped two weight classes up and look at what happened. It really depends. The weight classes were made for a reason.”
Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing writer and contributor for Sporting News. You can find his podcast, “The Fight Club Chicago,” and subscribe on iTunes. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and can find him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.