Vasyl Lomachenko with nine pro fights under his belt had many folks calling him the best boxer on the planet, and that includes Floyd Mayweather. I think Loma picked up some more converts, as he did his thing, so proficient and snazzy, against Miguel Marriaga, on ESPN Saturday night.
The scrap, promoted by Top Rank, unfolded at the MicrosoftTheater, and it was all Loma, from second one. Marriaga was sent to the deck twice, the second and final time in the seventh. The loser went to his corner and his people said no mas, and told the ref to pull the plug.
In the first, Loma (130 pounds; two time gold medallist; 8-1 entering; ex 126 champ), the acknowledged best at 130, the lefty started slow. His lead right leg was usually outside the lead left leg of his foe, to get the more advantageous punching lane. Except when he wanted to land the jab, then he’d be OK with having his right foot six inches to the left…
In the second, Marriaga (25-2; 30; from Colombia; 129 3/4 on Friday) stood close, didn’t run, but was not in free flowing form. Loma advanced harder and faster and had Marriaga backing up in reverse high speed. He thought about countering and every now and again did but Loma kept him busy blocking and ducking.
In the third, we saw Loma with superb eyesight, picking off everything, seeing everything coming at him before it starts to get thrown. He sent Marriaga to the mat, at 37 seconds to go. He then told Marriaga to come at him, as he wiggled his hips in the corner. The knockdown blow was a left hand, helped by a foot tangle.
In round 4; Loma was putting foot on gas earlier than we’d seen before. They butted heads, and blood was seen on Loma’s left eye. It didn’t deter him, it was a busy and winning round for Loma. In round five, Loma was in super stalker mode. He cut distance ridiculously quickly.
In round six, Loma stalked and peppered, often at 3/4 speed. He did an Ali shuffle, clowned some, and analyst Tim Bradley called him a “bully” who enjoys beating up on people. But, Bradley, said, turn up the heat. Skills are great, but give us a sustained flurry and look to be nasty. In the seventh, Loma was putting together combos. Punches in bunches, and Marriaga had to hold. Loma was loading up, while Marriaga worked hard to dodge. Not hard enough…down he went near the round's end. Second knockdown of the night, to this point. He went to his corner and his people knew he was out of contention. The plug was pulled…