Vasiliy Lomachenko and the Lowly Lightweights

By Paul Magno on November 23, 2018
Vasiliy Lomachenko and the Lowly Lightweights
The second half of the journey is all about the opposition he faces from here on out.

More problematic for Lomachenko and his ultimate goal is not what already went down, but what may lie ahead…

In a recent interview with BoxNation in the UK, WBA lightweight champ Vasiliy Lomachenko stated that his primary goal in boxing is to etch his name in boxing history.

“My first goal is to be in the history,” he told BoxNation’s Steve Lillis. “I want to write my name and my second name in history. If you, after ten years, go to a bar, take a beer with your friends and you talk about boxing, you need to remember my name. I want an association with boxing, and this is my goal. Tomorrow, you can lose money. But your name and your history you never lose.”

With two Olympic gold medals and world titles in three different weight classes as a pro, the 30-year-old native of the Ukraine is well on his way to accomplishing this primary objective.

Some may argue that he’s already there.

But, if we’re talking Ali, Sugar Ray, or even Frazier, Hagler, Chavez-level historical significance, the talented southpaw still has a second half of his journey to complete. And that second half of the journey is all about the opposition he faces from here on out.

Up until now, Lomachenko’s body of work will be assessed differently depending on who you ask. As a twelve-fight pro, having wins over the likes of Gary Russell Jr., Roman Martinez, Nicholas Walters, Guillermo Rigondeaux, and Jorge Linares (as well as a hard-fought close loss to Orlando Salido) is damn impressive. However, as a “Mr. Everything” and ATG amateur who was slotted into a world title shot in just his second pro fight, much is expected and much is dismissed.

Rigondeaux, for example, was fighting two divisions above his ideal weight and Walters’ quick and total decline post-Vasiliy casts some shade on the brilliance of Lomachenko’s dominance in their fight.

More problematic for Lomachenko and his ultimate goal is not what already went down, but what may lie ahead—because his lightweight home base is absolutely barren.

Upcoming December 8 challenger and WBO titlist Jose Pedraza is good, but hardly great. WBA mandatory Anthony Crolla is such a no-hoper that even Crolla’s UK countrymen are mocking the matchup online.

Beyond what’s to come, there’s not even the slightest hint of a hope of a dream when it comes to a big, legacy-defining fight at 135 in the near future. Luke Campbell? Richard Commey? Emmanuel Tagoe?

Lomachenko’s only chance at something truly legacy-defining at 135 would be against Mikey Garcia, who is still technically a lightweight world titlist despite his move up to 147 on March 16 to challenge Errol Spence. But a Garcia fight will likely never happen because of conflicting business entanglements and the bad blood between Garcia and former promoter Bob Arum, who currently represents Lomachenko.

One division below lightweight, the super featherweights are similarly absent of high-end challenges capable of moving up to give the pound-for-pound-ranked champ a battle. The best hope is probably 24-year-old Gervonta Davis, who needs some seasoning and personal maturing before he can be considered a true test.

Lomachenko’s only other option for the big, significant fights he craves would involve a move up to an increasingly deep and interesting junior welterweight division. Young, talented high-end fighters in their physical primes like Regis Prograis, Josh Taylor, Maurice Hooker, and Jose Ramirez constitute the upper echelon of the division.

But Vasiliy, at 5’7” with a smallish frame, may be too small for yet another move up in weight and he’s expressed reluctance in the past when it comes to crossing that great divide between lightweight and the usually welterweight-bound junior welters.

So, in the meantime, Lomachenko will fight the best opposition made available to him in a weak division further diluted by business issues and personal beefs.
Will this be enough to etch the Lomachenko name in history alongside the handful of boxing names who have already become part of our culture? Like a lot of things in the subjective world of boxing, that will probably depend on who you ask.

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  1. Koolz 02:31pm, 11/27/2018

    Loma is already a Legend.  Everyone is anyone in fighting considers him a Legend.  His fights are used as Teaching Tools to each Fighters in MMA and Boxing.
    Everyone already knows Loma is King.

  2. MataFachas 11:36am, 11/25/2018

    Kid Blast… Tito was puffing his chest out like he accomplished something. His victory was akin to a 40-something year old man going back to kick his 70-something year old father’s arse for the beatin’ his daddy trew him 20 years ago. hehe. Liddell walked around like a senior citizen. The people who promoted this fight should be ashamed, but it would take a conscious to feel shame, which they probably lack.

  3. Kid Blast 11:14am, 11/25/2018

    MataFachas, I resemble those comments

  4. Harold Reynolds 09:45am, 11/25/2018

    Sorry to say, the fights they are giving us now are pure garbage. Gone are the days when the top fighters square off in the ring.

  5. MataFachas 08:50am, 11/25/2018

    Will Golden Boy promote a Holyfield-Tyson III?  Last night, Tito Ortiz kayoed a decrepit 48 year old Chuck LIddell. Liddell hadn’t fought in years and could barely walk. Chuck walked like a man in his mid 70’s. SHAMEFUL.

  6. Rod Stern 08:03am, 11/25/2018

    The guys are not hating, they’re just telling the truth. Lomachenko is not great as some think. He is really a hyped job as some here think. Arum does’nt have any marquee fighter to boast of.

  7. Your Name 07:06pm, 11/24/2018

    Lucas, or alone with someone they truly hate

  8. MataFachas 03:15pm, 11/24/2018

    Hustlin’ Until The Haters Ask If I’m Hiring.  Keep On Chooglin’ and give the man his due.  FURY ROAD !!

  9. didier 01:49pm, 11/24/2018

    I love Lomachenko; poetry in motion

  10. Lucas McCain 01:21pm, 11/24/2018

    Haters? or just guys who are bored over Thanksgiving (parents or in-laws in the house), trying to stir up a little adrenaline by being contrary.

  11. Your Name 12:49pm, 11/24/2018

    Yep, Loma haters abound. All they need is a lead in, and then they go ape shit. SAD

  12. MataFachas 12:30pm, 11/24/2018

    Lots of hatin’ goin’ on here.

  13. Your Name 11:56am, 11/24/2018

    Lots of relatives of Jose Feliciano on this thread.

  14. Martin Rendall 10:54am, 11/24/2018

    Arum knows there is no money in his wards. Lomachenko and Crawford can’t sell fights. So there is no way that people will remember them after they retire.

  15. thrashem 09:36am, 11/24/2018

    Just let him sit in his rocking chair and tell you how good he could have been! Boo hoo!

  16. Hollingsworth Grains 09:14am, 11/24/2018

    Lomachenko is overhyped. With his advanced age, he is running out of time to become an ATG. Sorry, but he is a boring fighter. He should be earning a lot of money now if he is exciting.

  17. Kid Blast 07:55pm, 11/23/2018

    Well ok, Lucas, if you put it that way. I’ll walk back on my comment.

  18. Lucas McCain 03:27pm, 11/23/2018

    I can’t agree, Kid.  Though I sometimes disagree with Magno, this is a steady, objective account of Loma’s dilemma.  I don’t want to see him get damaged or ruined against bigger opponents, but there are no Pernells or Durans or Chavezes around to make mythic rivalries happen.

  19. Kid Blast 01:50pm, 11/23/2018

    more Loma bashing

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