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My Overturned Bias Against Lomachenko

Vasiliy Lomachenko

By Earl E: I reside in Los Angeles, specifically within a 60-mile radius said to have the most boxing gyms per capita in the world. There are boxing gyms everywhere, in backyards, plazas, indoor swap meets, corners, and stand-alone buildings. Being raised in this area, we grow a bias towards the American and Hispanic boxer, because they are among us, a part of our communities. My bias led me to watch the Vasyl Lomachenko vs Orlando Salido fight, cheering for the latter to teach Lomachencko a lesson.

Here, I thought, is an over glamorized amateur fighting for a world championship in only his second professional fight. Naturally, I wanted Salido to win this fight. I went through my checklist why I disliked Lomachenko, as follows, but not limited to:

• Lomachencko is not American or Hispanic. Check.

• Lomachencko is given an opportunity for a world championship in his second pro fight. Check.

• Lomachencko is receiving more money than Salido, who has been a professional since a teenager.

• Lomachencko won gold twice in the Olympics. Yes, I’m a hater. Check.

Then comes the weigh-in and Salido fails to make weight and pays a $15K fine to Lomachenko. Furthermore, Lomachenko didn’t whine or protest that Salido came in overweight as many other boxers would have done. At this point, Lomachenko starts to interest me. However, I’m still bias towards Salido.

During the fight, both boxers are engaged in serious battle. It’s evident during the fight Lomachenko is the superior technical boxer and faster. However, Salido uses every veteran trick in the book. Salido throws low blows, he comes in with his head, and overly clinches. Not once during the engagement did I see Lomachenko complain. I’ve seen other boxers such as Julio Chavez, Jr. act more like a trial attorney than a boxer in the ring, but Lomachenko was nothing like Chavez, Jr., he came to legitimately win.

As we all know, Lomachenko lost that fight, but what he won was admiration of fans, including me. After a loss, conventional wisdom says a boxer has a tune-up fight against a low skilled opponent, that is a sure win to rebuild the confidence. Instead, Lomachencko fights Gary Russell, Jr. three months later. If you are a boxing fanatic like I am, then I don’t need to describe how talented Russell, Jr is. Russell is a pedigree of American boxing and a beautiful boxing technician with speed and angle movements. Russell, Jr unlike Salido can box for the duration of the fight, making him more dangerous than the veteran Salido who is known to tire. Once again, the American in me had me cheering for Russell, Jr even though Lomachencko gained my admiration. What I witnessed was a very good Russell, Jr who that night brought his A-game to unfortunately lose to Lomachenko who simply was outstanding.

Now we get to watch Lomachenko fight against the dangerous Nicholas Walters. A big fighter for his weight class that throws his hands with malicious intentions. A fight Lomachencko wanted years ago. A fight that didn’t need any “marinating,” but one boxer finally agreeing to the fight the other. This time around I will be cheering for Lomachenko. It’s fighters like Lomachencko with fearless passion, who think about facing challenges head-on versus business-side of boxing that are the lifeline of the sport. Therefore, Dyakuyu (thank you in Ukrainian) Mr. Lomachencko as we need you more than you need the sport. You fight based on challenges and not the business-side, and even though you are not American nor Hispanic, your passion transcends any racial or ethical biases, making a true boxing fan appreciate and admire you.

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