Lomachenko is a Victim of Boxing Business

By Paul Magno on May 14, 2018
Lomachenko is a Victim of Boxing Business
All great fighters need opposition capable of defining that greatness. (Photo: Top Rank)

Lomachenko could be an Ali without a Frazier, a Leonard without a Duran—a genius without true opposition…

If you listened to the ESPN broadcast crew last Saturday, Vasyl Lomachenko was the best thing to happen to boxing since foam padding in gloves and the mouthpiece. Those watching the fawning praise heaped on the two-time Olympic gold medalist had to be half-expecting a discourse on the historic awesomeness of his boot-tying technique. The cheerleading was extremely cringe-worthy.

But none of this was Lomachenko’s fault.

Lomachenko just showed up and took care of business against a larger and highly-skilled, elite-level opponent in Jorge LInares. Moving up in weight and taking the WBA lightweight belt from Linares in the way he did, arguably, trumps the high-water mark wins of anyone else in the pound-for-pound top five.

Although Linares was not exactly suited to handle Lomachenko, he was certainly no patsy and he fought well right up until the nightmare-inducing liver shot that took him out in the tenth. Absurd claims that Lomachenko was “exposed” in this fight, affirmed by Linares’ knockdown of Vasyl in the sixth, are the stuff of social media idiocy and wishful thinking. Great fighters don’t look as dominant when matched against other outstanding fighters—and they look even less dominant when dealing with great fighters who also happen to be bigger. Duh.

But ESPN’s extreme hype-churning fluffing of the now three-division world champ did serve to spotlight the fact that the boxing business’s sad state may keep Lomachenko from ever proving how great he truly is. Maybe his greatness will have to be defined by love-struck media rather than through his actual ring achievements.

Lomachenko-Linares coming together was a bit of an anomaly, but not too unbelievable since Linares didn’t have too many big fight options available to him. Beyond a Linares bout, however, there’s just not that much for Lomachenko to do. Well, maybe it’s more accurate to say that politics and the boxing business in general may keep Lomachenko from having all that much to do.

A big legacy-defining fight with Mikey Garcia is the one everyone in the boxing world would like to see, but getting a deal together with the division-jumping free agent would be somewhere between Mayweather-Pacquiao and Joshua-Wilder on the difficulty scale. It would be especially difficult if Al Haymon is in the picture negotiating on Garcia’s behalf against longtime Haymon antagonist, and Lomachenko promoter Bob Arum.

A bout with talented, but erratic former super featherweight champ Gervonta Davis could be hard to put together for similar reasons. Putting Mayweather Promotions and Arum together, focused on the same fight, would be an invitation to a cockblock.

Meanwhile, the makeable fights for Lomachenko aren’t all that earth-shattering, to be honest.

A unification bout with WBO lightweight champ and Top Rank stablemate Ray Beltran is alright as a time-filler, but shouldn’t be all that competitive. Beltran, for all his toughness and old school grit, lacks the spark of genius necessary to compete with a fighter like Lomachenko.

Dragging super featherweight titlists Miguel Berchelt and Alberto Machado up to 135 would be safe blow-outs, but wouldn’t do much to cement the Ukraine native’s legacy as a great of this era. A return bout with shot-to-shit battler Orlando Salido, who beat him via foul-heavy split decision back in 2014, wouldn’t prove a thing. Match-ups with veteran former champs like Francisco Vargas, Ricky Burns, and Cristian Mijares would be little more than cynical résumé-fillers.

Realistically, if Mikey Garcia and Gervonta Davis are removed from the list of possible legacy-defining foes, names carrying similar weight don’t pop up again until one gets to junior welterweight, where fighters like Regis Prograis and Jose Ramirez are about to take over the division. But asking a moderately-sized featherweight to beat the elite, three full divisions higher, may be too much to ask.

All great fighters need opposition capable of defining that greatness. A hero is only as good as his good deeds; a warrior is only as revered as his conquests.

The media fan boys and hardcore true believers are constantly telling us how great and transcendent Lomachenko is—and they might be right. But, more and more, it looks as though we may have to just take their word for it. Lomachenko could be an Ali without a Frazier, a Leonard without a Duran—a genius without true opposition.

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  1. Your Name 06:24pm, 05/20/2018

    Most comments I have seen for any 1 article here. Bravo boxing.com. Loma’s the real deal. I thought because of Berchelt’s size, power, aggression and, stamina a match between Loma and him would have been interesting. Loma or, any other top rated fighter should be taking on all comers. On any given night one just doesn’t know who will show up. Because of the “who shows” factor some great fights and, upsets have come out of predicted stinkers. If Mungia, had been allowed to fight 3G what would that have looked like? We’re letting writers and, casuals tell us who’s good, bad or, great.

  2. procopy 12:53am, 05/18/2018

    Pacman? Seriously? The guy already crossed 8 divisions. It’s like going through hell and back and fought all the beasts each division can offer. A lot of people have already called for his retirement even after the fight with Mayweather, hell, even before Marquez ended their long running saga.
    I am a big fan of Manny. If that fight materializes then I will look forward to it and as a matter of fact Manny has also opened up that he is interested in fighting him. Manny can still fight, and he still good at it. It will be a good fight I think, but as a career defining fight for Lomachenko? I don’t think so.
    I believe he should fight someone who is at his prime as he is. Someone on his level, not only in skills but also in age.
    If his camp is worried or afraid of Pacman at this day and age, well that would be a reason to doubt his supposed invincibility.

  3. dustyfog 11:47pm, 05/17/2018

    Ive been saying since his 2nd fight how good he is. It was shortly after that i had him as the best p4p fighter. Its not just that he beats these elite boxers its how he does it. Ive seen nothing like this in my life & im 65. His footwork is the best ever. Name a guy who moved like him, you cannot because no one ever has. Im sure many now are trying to do the same footwork so lets see how good they are at it. I boxed for 9 years ( as an amm ) & i think i know boxing quite well & watching lomo is the thing i look forward to the most. There are many fighters i like a lot like ggg but none compare to lomo. If he had single punch ko power he could go on to be middleweight world champ. I just cant wait until his next fight.

  4. thrashmu 01:29pm, 05/16/2018

    Sandy Saddler in the 1940-50’s had a record of 134-1-1. Willie Pep had a career professional record of 229-11-1 and held 3 titles at the same time. Both started as feather weights. They fought 15 round fights. Saddler lost to Pep in 15 rounds.
    Loma is good, not great, yet! The fight Loma’s dad does not want is Pacman. They say great fighters only have one more fight left in the bag. This might be the one. Manny has fought from flyweight to Jr. middleweight and could easily make the lightweight or Jr. welterweight limit. He is an aggressive southpaw. Manny has always given the crowd what they want. What do you think buttercup “ProCopy or is that Joe Shmo-Copy”?

  5. Kid Blast 11:57am, 05/16/2018

    People are making a “big thing” about the knockdown. But there is another twist to it and that is that if Linares had planted that counter right on just about anyone else, he might well have waxed them. Linares has power. Loma treated it as a shock flash knockdown. The point is that Loma has a rock solid chin.

  6. nicolas 11:32am, 05/16/2018

    He could be an Ali without a Frazier, a Leonard without a Durian. I can’t help but remember it took Ali some 11 years or so before a Frazier come around. True Leonard had not been fighting 4 years when he lost to Duran, but his No-Mas victory was not really the great achievement, it was probably over Hearns, though he got a gift draw some many years later against Hearns, and of course his win over Hagler, as Hagler said after the fight ‘only in Las Vegas’. Lomo has only had twelve fights, and in those twelve fights has had very notable wins. Gary Russel, Rigo, Linares, Walters. the fight should not have been as close as the judges had it, the only reasonable one to me was the two points that Lomo had going into the last round. But a rematch of this fight, a match were Lomo was decked, would I think still attract interest. At this time, when you compare Lomo to boxers like Crawford, or Glolovkin, men who are frequently listed as the number one fighters pound for pound, I would suggest that Lomo’s opposition has been far more formidable than either.

  7. Paul Magno 09:22am, 05/16/2018

    I wish certain people could take a step back, disregarded their own raging biases, and realize just how brainwashed they have become—actually arguing IN FAVOR of limited level of opposition and justifying/rationalizing soft resumes….There was a time, not too long ago, when fighters were actually judged on what they did and not on what a promoter’s public relations team said they SHOULD or COULD do (if not for those other people standing in their guy’s way)...We’ve enabled a generation of fighters (or, more correctly, their people) who can coast along on the path of least resistance as long as they have a good excuse in the can…I pointed this out before, but none of the top 5 p4p guys have beaten anyone they weren’t heavily favored to beat…it’s not noble White Euro warriors being avoided by lazy, mongrel Americans and it’s not the other way around….it’s the sport’s fans and media being conditioned to be OK with fights not being made…and when one of us points that out about a fighter who is otherwise beloved by the media, he’s attacked for it and, in total Donald Trump style, labeled as “fake news” or biased….Lomachenko is clearly an outstanding fighter, but all fighters are judged by their level of opposition and willingness to take risks—NOT by how many positive headlines he generates…Lomachenko is doing fine within this current business structure and IS taking the risks needed to prove himself as a great…but it’s not easy in this atmosphere and it wasn’t always the case…when a fighter is slacking off, we point it out…when he’s doing good, we also point that out…that’s called fairness…but I fully appreciate where a crooked art dealer who scams creators might not have the tools necessary to comprehend simple ethics…

  8. Your Name 05:55am, 05/16/2018

    Fe’Roz, thank you

  9. procopy 09:01pm, 05/15/2018

    Hey I’m not saying the he won’t be successful, I am just saying he will not get it too early in his career because of the tough competition he will be in. As I have said he is a great boxer. You are the moron for not being able to understand what I wanna say.

  10. Murray Thrasher 10:15am, 05/15/2018

    The article written by P. Magno is about Lomachencko being robbed of potential greatness by boxing establishment. No one is great till they prove it , in the ring! A matador is nothing without the Bull. Lomachenko had an almost perfect amateur career, now he is a professional boxer and it will not end perfect due to Salido.
    When too much praise is heaped upon a good young boxer/fighter without justification it usually marks the end of most egomaniacal fighters. I hear it so many times from ringside by Lampley, Max and braindead Letterman how good some fighters are and they miss the whole fight, even the scoring. What is there to prove, for this trumped up boxer? How about more fights! Who is this up to? It should be the fighter number one, but it isn’t. If the purse could be kept low , they would have to fight more often to earn a living. Unfortunately money talks, so manager, promoter, networks have the say how often. Mickey Ward and Arturo Gatti fought 3 times guaranteed $1 mil/fight by the network.
    Look at the records of the greats 50, 60, 70 professional fights. Lomachenko is just starting his career and how many are left under his belt? Does 20 professional fights make him great, no! It is the Bulls he fights which will make him great. The less bull from promoters will improve his chances.

  11. Kid Blast 09:39am, 05/15/2018

    He is special Paul. Special.

  12. Koolz 04:18am, 05/15/2018

    if Lomachenko lived in a different era he wouldn’t be as successful?  Shut UP!
    that kind of mind set doesn’t work and I have heard for GGG, for Wlad, and other fighters.
    It’s stupid weak excuse for some ones success.  You are a moron for even bringing it up.

  13. procopy 07:04pm, 05/14/2018

    Though I agree that he is indeed a great boxer, I think that had he boxed during the time when the division has its legendary fighters at their prime, the likes of Barrera, Morales, Marquez and Pacquiao, I don’t think he’ll get his 3rd title on his 12th fight.

  14. Koolz 06:28pm, 05/14/2018

    This is some Funny Sh**t!!  How great The Matrix is?
    Are you serious!  The guy just made Boxing History!  That’s a first in All of Boxing and even against a beat bigger guy that is a multiple world champion doing it.
    let’s not kid ourselves Linares is a great fighter a Great Fighter!  He was even bigger then Lomachenko on fight night.
    But even with that Knock Down the fight wasn’t even close not close at all.
    Loma busted up Linares and hit him clean in the face all night. 
    Loma’s defense is so good you have to slow the fight down the fight to see how he basically blocked all of Linares flurry combos with his arms.
    Loma dominated that fight till he ended it.
    The guy is Beyond Great he is INCREDIBLE!!!!

  15. Murray Thrasher 05:46pm, 05/14/2018

    Sounds like capitalism of boxing world. Sad to say, the boxer/fighter and public will be robbed of that moment of witnessing boxing greatness due greed of promotors.
    I started listening to boxing on the radio back in the 50’s. Never seen much TV in rural Canada but got to witness some main events of Ali, Duran after events happened. Duran made $30,000 in his first title fight against the champ Ken Buchnan of Scotland in 1972. He didn’t get the big purse until he fought Leonard in 1979. Sugar got $8 mil and Duran $2 mil. Second fight, purse was reversed. This was the beginning of the end for boxing.

    The next big thing which ruined boxing for me, was the size of the belt protection. Any body puncher out there was robbed of his game. Some fights the protection was up under fighters tits. What happened to boxing shorts???

    True, boxers are in it for the money. Promotors, managers, networks…We all want to make a good pay cheque. Not many fighters know how to manage their money too promote their own longevity and trust the wrong people to make those decisions for them. Sad to say many are robbed of their livelihood. The Don Kings are out there!

    Mayweather ripped off the public in the Pacman fight. I’d never thought anyone would buy into another of his productions. Even though Manny’s shoulder was injured he let event continue. Manny won the fight on points but Vegas stood to loose huge money. Judges gave it to Mayweather and was told he must never break Marciano’s record and gracefully retired.
    The last embarrassment for boxing was Mayweather -McGregor bullshit lalapalooza extravaganza for $200 Mil. What retard would pay to see this shitshow, not me!

  16. Balaamsass 06:27am, 05/14/2018

    The fight wasn’t close…..it was the same old shit with the scoring….Linares doesn’t just roll over….he fights back and makes a fight of it so he gets extra credit for trying…. kinda’ like a participation award! We’ve seen this shit before when GGG was in with Jacobs and the redhead….if Linares was standing after the final bell there would have been the usual crazy ass scoring and Oscar would have been so puffed up that the elasticity of his garter belt would have been sorely tested! Oh yes! Closet cross dressers always but always wear at least one “exciting” undergarment when they are out and about!

  17. The Beast of Bodmin 03:15am, 05/14/2018

    Hopefully the fact that Garcia doesn’t tie himself down to a promoter would make the fight easier to arrange, assuming both fighters really wanted it of course. Fingers crossed anyway as that could be a really intriguing fight, the master textbook boxer against the master of the unorthodox.

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