Bellew: Lomachenko will have problems at 140

By Boxing News - 09/02/2019 - Comments

By Chris Williams: Former cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew believes the only thing that beats Vasiliy Lomachenko is size. Bellew thinks that Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) will have a lot of problems if he moves up to 140, and takes on some of the talented guys like Mikey Garcia. With the size and punching power of the light welterweights, Lomachenko would have a difficult time trying to dominate in that division.

(Photo credit: Matchroom Boxing)

Lomachenko looked special in negating the bigger Luke Campbell’s size last Saturday night in beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision in London, UK. Bellew says he gave Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) the first two rounds against Lomachenko. But after the second round, Lomachenko had Campbell figured out, and cruised the remainder of the fight.

Lomachenko will have problems at 140

“The only thing that beats Vasiliy Lomachenko is size. I genuinely believe that,” said Bellew to Boxing Social. “At 140, there’s guys that could give him trouble. I think Mikey Garcia is a hell of a lot of trouble. No, it’s not [to pressure Lomachenko to move up to 140]. It’s not fair. Weight divisions are here for a reason for boxer’s safety. Why should we jeopardize safety. We could see there tonight, I think the reason Luke Campbell was able to survive for 12 rounds is because of his size. That’s why he survived.

A smaller man wouldn’t have been able to keep up with Vasiliy Lomachenko tonight. It’s a hard one for Luke Campbell to take. But he’s got to go back to the drawing board, regroup, and come again. He did a fantastic performance tonight. And, he outdid what everyone thought he would do. He was absolutely fantastic, but as I said before, the champion reigns supreme.

“I feel for Luke Campbell, but you’ve come across the best fighter in our era,” said Bellew in talking about Lomachenko. “I gave him [Campbell] the first couple of rounds when Vasiliy was having a look and weighing him, every move he makes. He was looking him over. He’s like a lion watching his prey before he attacks. He’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen a fighter like him, I really haven’t. In my opinion, I think he’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a prime Roy Jones Jr. And a prime Roy Jones Jr. is the greatest fighter to grace the sport of boxing,” said Bellew.

Lomachenko too small to fight Prograis or Taylor

It looks like Lomachenko won’t be moving up to 140 after all. After his performance against Campbell, he’s likely given up on the goal of winning world titles in 4 weight classes. If Lomachenko does move up to 140, it would be to fight an arguably lesser champion. Loma just missed his chance to face a weak champion in Maurice Hooker at 140.

Top Rank fighter Jose Ramirez beat Hooker easily by a sixth round knockout on July 27. However, Ramirez isn’t going to last long as a belt holder, as the winner of the World Boxing Super Serie 140-lb tournament between Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor will be looking to snatch his WBA/WBO titles from him. Lomachenko is too small and weak to beat the likes of Prograis and Taylor. He won’t bother making that move.

If Lomachenko does move up to 140 in the future, it’ll be to fight a paper belt holder or one of the contenders like Mikey Garcia. He’s not going to want to fight Prograis, and his promoters at Top Rank won’t allow that to happen. Lomachenko’s promoter Bob Arum has been busy comparing him to a young Muhammad Ali. If Lomachenko fought Prograis, and was knocked out, Arum would be in a position where he’d kind of silly.

Obviously, Lomachenko isn’t in the same class as Ali in the talent department. Loma is a finesse fighter, who still hasn’t faced a truly great opponent as of yet. He lost to Orlando Salido in 2014, and was force to run against Gary Russell Jr. Last Saturday, Lomachenko lost four rounds against Luke Campbell. A prime Muhammad Ali wasn’t losing four rounds against his opposition. He wad dominating everybody up until he was sidelined in the late 1960s.

Bellew compares Lomachenko to a prime Roy Jones Jr.

“Lomachenko is a special fighter. Luke Campbell, I really feel for,” said Bellew to Boxing Social. “He just came up short, and there’s no shame in that against the premier fighter on the planet. He [Campbell] caught him clean, that’s about it,” said Bellew in talking about Lomachenko getting hurt by Campbell. “I haven’t seen his legs buckle or his knees dip yet. I’ve seen him on the floor against Jorge Linares, but it was more of a balance issue. He’s the closet thing to being unbeatable since a prime Roy Jones Jr. He’s so equal on offense and defense that it’s unbelievable.

It’s mission impossible [trying to beat Lomachenko]. Once he found his range with Luke, he just did what he pleased. The only thing that kept Luke Campbell in there tonight was size. He was big enough and durable enough to take what he was doing. Don’t get me wrong. He done some good things in the fight also, but this guy is on a different level. He’s one a different stratosphere with other fighters,” said Bellew.

Lomachenko = Joe Calzaghe 2.0?

A prime Roy Jones Jr. didn’t lose rounds against his opposition, and that’s why it’s impossible to compare Lomachenko to him. Perhaps Bellew never saw Jones fight while he was in his prime but he was much better than what we’re seeing from Lomachenko. When Jones moved up in weight to 175 in his 30s, he was no longer in his prime, but he still dominated for a while.

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Bellew’s recollection of Jones is likely from when he was fighting at 175 rather than at 160. For the fans that remember Jones in his prime at 160, they know how special he was. Lomachenko isn’t that type of fighter. He’s more like this generations version of Joe Calzaghe than than another Roy Jones Jr. You can make a strong argument that Lomachenko is a newer version of finesse fighter Calzaghe, and definitely not in the same class as Jones.