Vasyl Lomachenko is learning fast about the politics of boxing.
Lomachenko, the World Boxing Organization featherweight champion from Odessa, Ukraine, wants to fight the best. But because his promoter, Top Rank, won't do business with Al Haymon, who controls several of the top featherweights, Lomachenko has to take what he can get.
Tonight at the Thomas & Mack Center, Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, defends his WBO belt against Mexico's Romulo Koasicha in the 12-round co-feature to the Timothy Bradley-Brandon Rios WBO welterweight title fight.
Lomachenko, who made the 126-pound limit by half a pound, as did Koasicha, will be paid $750,000. He knows bigger paydays lie ahead as long as he continues to take care of business.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum is looking to put Lomachenko (4-1, two knockouts) in a megafight against former champion Guillermo Rigondeaux in 2016. Rigondeaux also won gold medals fighting for Cuba as a bantamweight in 2000 and 2004.
"That's a fight I'd pay money to see," Arum said. "I think if Rigondeaux is reasonable with his demands, we can make a deal."
Lomachenko, who was 396-1 as an amateur and won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Games, said he wants to leave his own special impact on the sport.
"I want to bring something new to boxing," he said. "I want to be known to fans and appreciated as a 'boxer-painter' in regards to speed, footwork, punching power — an art form inside the ring.
"I have looked at videos of many great champions like Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson and Joe Frazier who each had special qualities. I never say one particular fighter is the best ever because each has a special unique style of fighting."
Lomachenko promises he's not overlooking Koasicha (24-4, 14 KOs), who was recently signed to be his opponent. His purse is just $35,000.
"Every fight has challenges," Lomachenko said. "I looked at some video of my opponent who fought Lee Selby. In the middle of that fight, my opponent did a transition and fought with a different type of style against Selby. These are the situations you must deal with on the night of a fight."
Lomachenko would like to avenge the one blemish on his pro record — his split-decision loss to Orlando Salido in March 2014. Salido had lost his WBO title on the scale the day before, and he continuously fouled Lomachenko during the fight.
"Getting Salido back into the ring would be something I would like to see," he said.
That may very well happen. But as Lomachenko's manager, Egis Klimas, points out, Lomachenko continues to get better, and at age 27, he still has plenty of time to make his mark.
"We have not seen the best of Vasyl Lomachenko, maybe something like 40 percent of what we are going to see," Klimas said. "He pushes himself 120 percent. He likes to spar 15 rounds daily against four different opponents.
"No one trains harder. He proved he was the best amateur boxer, and he will prove that he is the best professional fighter."
Also on the undercard will be Japanese middleweight Ryota Murata (7-0, five KOs), who will face Gunnar Jackson (21-6-3, eight KOs) in a 10-round bout.
Contact reporter Steve Carp email@example.com 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.