Lomachenko: The next Mayweather?
By Eric Baldwin: The sports of boxing have been hurting since Floyd Mayweather Jr. retired last September, leaving a huge vacancy that has yet to be filled. However, after months of searching for the perfect replacement for Mayweather, the sport have found one last Saturday night with the arrival of two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs).
It’s not surprising that it took an athlete with the Olympic pedigree that Lomachenko possess for boxing to find the replacement. Lomachenko showed off his Mayweather-esque talent last night in beating WBO super featherweight champion Roman “Rocky” Martinez (29-3-3, 17 KOs) by a 5th round knockout at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Fortunately for the fans, they were able to see the baton being passed to Lomachenko due to the fight being televised on HBO Boxing After Dark, which means the fight was seen my many thousands of fans that were tuning in to see the Martinez-Lomachenko fight.
Lomachenko pitched a near shutout against Martinez in showing his Mayweather ability from start to finish. Lomachenko was rarely hit by Martinez, even when he was standing directly in the line of fire of the power ex-champion. Lomachenko showed Mayweather-like skills during the very highest point of his career.
It wasn’t the skills that we saw of the 39-year-old Mayweather in his last two fights against Andre Berto and Manny Pacquiao, when he could no longer move around the ring like he once had. Mayweather’s legs were gone at the end of his career, and that forced him to stand in the pocket against guys that he never would have earlier in his career.
Lomachenko, 28, is just now hitting the peak of his career, and he should be able to continue to fight at this high level for the next 10 years, possibly a little longer. The fans are lucky that Lomachenko was there to step into Mayweather’s big shoes to carry the sport on his back for the next decade.
Many fans had hoped that middleweight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez would carry the sport, but it seems evident that Canelo is not the chosen one. He showed that with his decision to vacate his WBC middleweight title rather than face IBF/IBO/WBA middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. Canelo further showed it by choosing to fight a welterweight in Amir Khan rather than a fighter his own size at middleweight. Lomachenko doesn’t appear someone that will back down from anyone in the sport, and he also doesn’t seem like someone that would vacate a title in order to avoid fighting someone dangerous.
Lomachenko had an amateur record of 396-1. He’s a professional fighter with superb skills that are second to none.
In looking at Lomachenko’s fights, he appears to be a better version of Mayweather, because he’s willing to trade with his opponents so that he can make for an exciting fight. Lomachenko isn’t going to put his track shoes on and run at the slightest hint of dangerous. He’s more willing to let his hands go in his fights compared to Mayweather, who had a nasty habit of throwing mainly jabs and single pot shots rather than combinations like you see with Lomachenko. There’s no doubt in my mind that Lomachenko is an improved version of Mayweather.
Boxing fans need to enjoy watching Lomachenko on regular HBO while they still can because it’s only a matter of time before his promoters at Top Rank move him to pay-per-view on HBO in order to take advantage of his talents and huge popularity.
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