Featherweight titleholder Vasyl Lomachenko thinks he has a solution to getting a deal done for a fight with former titlist Nicholas Walters: Offer him a generous incentive.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is trying to make the fight as the headliner for an HBO-televised card on June 11 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. Lomachenko already has agreed to terms, including that he would move up to junior lightweight as a concession to Walters, who was stripped of his 126-pound belt last summer for failing to make weight for a defense against Miguel Marriaga.
But getting the "Axe Man" to agree to terms to fight Lomachenko is proving much more difficult.
According to Arum, HBO is willing to pay $1 million as a rights fee for the bout but Walters asked for that same figure for himself (which would be about three times his biggest payday). Arum told ESPN.com this week that Walters has come down on his asking price but not enough to make the fight happen -- even though Arum said he was offering a purse for which he would lose "a couple of hundred thousand on the fight" but was still willing to do it because it's the fight Lomachenko wants very badly.
So Lomachenko (5-1, 3 KOs) came up with his own solution, which he tweeted directly at Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs) on Wednesday night.
"Not enough money? Let's fight, you win I'll pay you personally from my purse 300K," Lomachenko wrote. "Let [the] promoter put it in [the] contract."
That raises the stakes big time by making it a true prize fight. If Walters wins, he would get a huge chunk of extra money. Lomachenko, the brilliant two-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist, is so confident he will win he is willing to put his money where his mouth is.
Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.com on Wednesday night that Lomachenko, who won a world title in his third pro fight, called him to talk to him about his proposal before tweeting it.
"He wants the Walters fight and maybe he thinks it's a way of getting it done," Moretti said. "If they agree to fight that [proposal] would be a material term."
Moretti believes Lomachenko is absolutely serious about putting up that large chunk of his purse.
"I think he's 100 percent serious," Moretti said. "The guy wants to fight the best he can find every time out. He is a lot like Gennady Golovkin. He just wants to fight the best. It's not even about the money. He's like a 126-pound version of Golovkin."