Vasiliy Lomachenko. Pound for pound king or Hype job?
STOP! STOP! Mr Conductor. I'm deciding to Unboard the Vasiliy Lomachenko hype train. I've been on board since his days as a fully fledged amateur and followed right through to the present day, but his last few performances have been below par and the wheels are coming off the track.
Its not that he is not an exceptional talent and its not that he has not achieved great feats (world champion in only his third fight, three weight champion in the least amount of fights ever, two time Olympic champion, 395-1 amateur record] its just that there is too much undeserved hype surrounding the guy, because as real boxing fans know, its not about the titles anymore, they don't really carry the same weight as they used to, it's all about the opponents you fight and how you fight them. And while Vasiliy is winning titles he's not really fighting anybody of note. Yeah some will argue Guillermo Rigondeaux, and I'll answer, great fighter, but he was 39 years old and stepped up two weight divisions to fight the younger and naturally bigger lomachenko. So all the credit for that fight has to go to Rigondeaux, even though he lost. Linares then, yeah another great fighter, but also no spring chicken I've watched his abilities noticeable wane over the course of his last five or six fights. Opponents that he would have made easy work of a few years earlier, forced him to dig to the depths of his ability to eek out a win, but Linares is still the best fighter that Lomachenko has fought and beaten, so he does deserve credit for that, the downside is that on my scorecard and the scorecards of everyone I know the fight was either a draw or 1 point either way going into the tenth round when Lomachenko landed that perfectly placed hook to the body that won him the victory, there are no arguments about who won the fight but it was so close that Linares deserves a rematch and Lomo refuses to give him one, why? Because he knows how dangerous Linares is and how close he came to losing.
And now his latest fight against the very game Luke Campbell. Campbell is a good fighter with a lot of heart, but nothing exceptional, fringe world class at best. This fight should have been easy for the so- called pound for pound king. Instead it turned into a gruelling 12 round points victory. The Judges scorecards were laughable and they should be ashamed of themselves 119-108, 119-108 , 118-109, it was a much much closer fight, Lomanchenko won by three points at most and only really pulled away in the last quarter of the fight.
"Loma is up there with Muhammad Ali, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao. He belongs with those fighters," claimed his promoter Bob Arum after the fight. A blasphemous statement in boxing if ever I heard one. Most of those legends that he mentioned are remembered more for the fights they had, or there ability to make exceptional fighters and good fighters look amateurish, and not the titles they won.
Lomachenko is a very good fighter and he is a legendary amateur, but until he proves himself against elite level opposition in the paid ranks, then he barely deserves to be on the pound for pound list never mind sitting on the throne, there are other fighters out there more deserving of that seat. I'm still a fan and I'll still tune in but to be called a legend one must fight legends.