Lomachenko needs to fight with more urgency
By Eric Thomas: Two time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko (2-1, 1 KO’s) took advantage of his size and power advantage over the 5’4” Gary Russell Jr (24-1, 14 KO’s) last Saturday night to pound out a 12 round majority decision to win the vacant WBO featherweight title. The fight should have been much more one-sided than it was had Lomachenko shown a bit more urgency with his offense.
Lomachenko was fighting at such a slow pace that he generally gave away the first couple of minutes of every round and then could on in the last minute to land some big body shots to steal the rounds. It was single punches for the most part with Lomachenko in winning by the scores of 116-112, 116-112, and 114-114.
The way that Lomachenko fought Russell Jr was similar in some ways to the way he fought his previous opponent Orlando Salido last March in which Lomachenko failed to let his hands go, and was outworked by the older and wiser Salido. It doesn’t matter that Salido had a size advantage and was fighting dirty at times in the fight. The real reason why Salido won the fight was because he was willing to fight the entire three minutes of every round, and he wasn’t fighting just 1 minute in looking to steal the rounds with single shots the way Lomachenko was.
For Lomachenko to have a successful career, he’s going to need to fight with a lot more urgency by willing to fight the way the pros do, and not in his amateur style.
Had Lomachenko walked Russell Jr down last Saturday and let his hands go, he would have made it a very easy fight because Russell Jr didn’t have the size or the power to compete with Lomachenko. It was as if Lomachenko was fighting a bantamweight two divisions below the featherweight division because his size advantage was pronounced.
If Lomachenko is going to do just enough to try and win narrow decisions, he’s going to lose a lot of fights to busier guys that have good power and who are willing to work hard for the full three minutes of each round. Lomachenko had the perfect guy with the smaller Russell Jr, but in the future Top Rank will likely try and match him against super featherweight Mikey Garcia, who has the kind of power and skills to give Lomachenko problems if all he’s going to do is pot shot an fight at a leisurely pace.