You know, my father said to me when I was a kid, ‘If you are strong, show your weakness. But if you are weak, show your strength.’ “
——-Vasyl Lomachenko, Maestro
Roy Jones Jr had this one track in his rap catalogue we’d all be keen to remember: “Y’all Must’ve Forgot.”
The tune almost played itself as WBO/WBA and RING unified lightweight champion Vasily Lomachenko (13-1, 10KOs) bulldozed Anthony Crolla in the 4th round to retain those titles and pound-for-pound preeminence at Staples Center in Los Angeles on April 12.
2018 wasn’t really all that bad for the Top Rank star, only you wouldn’t know it. The former all-world super featherweight champion “bodied” a much larger, more powerful former WBA lightweight champion in Jorge Linares in the 10th round of a thriller. But alas, a flash knockdown in the sixth. Then, a human 12 round UD over former IBF super featherweight champion Jose Pedraza, which featured an 11th round straight outta A.I. This, from feeling some kinda way over criticism for spanking all-time great super bantamweight Guilllermo Rigondeaux in December 2017 at his best weight of 130.
Silent critics, “the experts” who declared that dream match-up a toss up, suddenly had room to pounce. And the whispers grew louder.
Speaking calmly, but loudly, the world’s best fighter released a video recently on LOMA Official TV, in which he spoke very candidly in Russian regarding a few things. Notably, a burgeoning desire to silence and fall unbeaten rising stars Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Teofimo Lopez.
The first thing you realize, he is a very violent striker. In between rendering opponents prone with a confusing jazz ensemble, it’s easy to get caught up in the feet if there’s a decision made to dance with him. You won’t like the salsa. Vasily Lomachenko is a knockout artist. WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr swam all 12 rounds and was left all wet in a UD loss. A 51-1 Suriya Tatakhun goes no where near the distance if Loma doesn’t break his hand nearly breaking his face on the undercard of Pacquiao vs Algieri back in November 2014.
He wanted to prove Pedraza an anomaly owed to shoulder surgery following Linares; thus, the annihilation of Crolla. But that outing against Pedraza– still sterling featuring that 11th round shelling, lingered. It put bloody chum in the waters of an apex predator.
From the shores of his own Normandy, Gervonta Davis cranked up his “Tank” and pressed his foot on the gas in neutral. Meanwhile, Teofimo Lopez invaded the waters and went pseudo killer whale, asking Max Kellerman, “Who is Lomachenko to me?” while in another stanza offered “there’s 3 or 4 ways to beat Lomachenko.”
We talked about all of this in “The Masters”….
..but Loma hadn’t yet offered a succinct retort, nor made reference to the differences between ‘the strong and the weak’ in illustrative form as a master of the ring. It’s unclear that he could, analogous to reason with affect. However, there’s this from aquanaut Fabien Cousteau in “Ocean,” describing an adventurous dive with no cage and a master of the sea.
“The visibility underwater is maybe about 50 feet in any direction. But you can see the shape of it as it gets closer. It's head does not move as it closes distance– fast. Soon, the body becomes clear that this is a great white shark. They are always alone. It goes above me and circles, then comes to my level to make eye contact. I have invaded its hunting space and its neck is swollen and fins are in an aggression posture. But once it knows that I am not aggressive and haven’t been intimidated, it relaxes, noticeably, and allows me to swim with it side by side. Peacefully.”
Here’s the caveat.
“But if there was blood in the water, at all, and I maintained this alpha stance as if a master in its domain… I’m done.”
Before signing to face Loma, Anthony Crolla quipped that he’d turned down a chance to be photographed with “The Matrix” by a news reporter at his mother’s request. Teofimo Lopez may have created a chance to be photographed by a coroner at his father’s request. An aggravated Lomachenko wrecked his hand turning Crolla into a hapless seal. For a perceived arrogant defiance, he’d most likely attempt to lure Gervonta Davis into 130lb deep waters and drown him.
As for Teo, somewhat off against Edis Tatli on April 20, he nevertheless roams the ring as a great white shark, seeing Loma as chum. A genuine killer whale of stoic malice, Loma took the bait.
“In this situation, objectively as well as subjectively, it’s clear that they (Teo Lopez and Sr.) are trying to show their strength,” said Loma, harkening back on father Anatoly’s words.
“The strong person is never going to shout about it, they are never going to insult somebody. That person is going to silently do the thing, and prove it with their actions and not words.”
With Mikey Garcia having left his ocean, leaving the WBC lightweight championship for the taking against Luke Campbell in September, Loma still hears them loudly.
Only a Master can silence a whisper in the deep.