—Neo, from The Matrix
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On January 14 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, I watched Gervonta “Tank” Davis (up next, against Liam Walsh May 20 in the UK) dismantle Jose “Sniper” Pedraza and go sci-fi while taking the IBF super featherweight title. His other nickname is “The One” and he fought like it.
Don’t think for one minute that WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (8-1, 6KOs) wasn’t watching– or reading. An irascible competitor, Davis bristled at my suggestion in print that he wasn’t ‘The One’.
So I could only smirk casually, when Lomachenko stepped into the ring as– for all intents and purposes, Neo from ‘The Matrix’.
His green/black coded gloves used to color a game Jason Sosa a dark purple @ MGM National Harbor near Baltimore, was a clear message to Davis. Namely that, “I… Am ‘The One’. Come try me!”; complete with an extended arm and hand gesture waving him to come forward.
To put Gervonta Davis in a ring with Vasyl Lomachenko at this stage of his career, would be to risk sending him to the Arkham Asylum, where he would play cards with Nicholas Walters.
If Lomachenko truly is the game’s Neo, then there is only one fighter who would oppose him as Agent Smith: WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30KOs).
Garcia initiated a challenge on Twitter, to which Lomachenko responded to with venom.
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Bob Arum knows what he has in Vasyl Lomachenko, just as he understands what [he had] in Mikey Garcia. They are both rare fighters who seek the very best challenge on principle, with “Money” as an afterthought.
What’s so great in thinking about this matchup, is knowing that Floyd Mayweather could not have beaten either one of them. How do we know this? His complete willingness to abandon “Pretty Boy Floyd,” because he didn’t want to test the limits of his prime greatness. He was afraid to lose.
These two fighters would certainly fight to win.
LOMA V GARCIA
We never got to see Sugar Ray Leonard V Aaron Pryor, but this would be very close to it.
Mikey Garcia is a smaller and faster Antonio Margarito from his brother Robert’s stable, with real elements of Roberto Duran.
Vasyl Lomachenko is an ice cold and arrogant southpaw edition of Sugar Ray Leonard, with the daring nature of Manny Pacquiao.
We saw Garcia chop up a younger version of the Orlando Salido that defeated Lomachenko; mainly, because he fought him Olympic style for 12 rounds after never going more than 6.
Garcia did the same to Rocky Martinez– before a nearly finished pro version of Lomachenko utterly annihilated him.
After forcing Sosa’s corner to show mercy, Lomachenko told Max Kellerman that he ‘was a 3rd grader’ when he fought Salido, but now holds a degree. A scary proposition, when you consider he schooled a master black fighter of speed in Gary Russell Jr several fights ago.
That fight (at least for me) revealed he will not be outboxed by anyone.
Garcia’s massive destruction of Dejan Zlaticanin indicated that he can – and will – walk down any fighter in front of him. He will punch through a fighter– and with a fighter, both simultaneously and consistently.
Lomachenko is now a natural lightweight; Garcia, a very big lightweight, who would have an edge in power.
I don’t know. But Spike Lee’s Mars told us of Michael Jordan’s greatness that, “It’s in his shoes!!”.
All great athletes have one thing in common: special feet. It is the Matter underneath the Mind; for to control one is to control the other.
To beat “Air Jordan” he had to be grounded. To ground someone, is to put them ‘on punishment’. In boxing terms, this is far beyond putting a fighter in a mental ‘Timeout’.
To beat Lomachenko, Mikey Garcia would have to become his father, while attempting to give Vasyl the kind of old-school beating that would put him in prison today.
However, he can only do that if he convinced Lomachenko to not trust his footwork anymore.
I don’t trust any prediction of this fight; but the more likely scenario that unfolds, is Mikey no longer trusting his power as the fight progresses, while gradually submitting to what appears to be greater will.
In the end, Agent Smith will stop referring to Neo as “Mr. Anderson”.