After losing a tightly contested unanimous decision to Devin Haney last Saturday, Vasiliy Lomachenko did an excellent job of not expressing his disappointment in the ring and stealing Haney’s moment (the scoring protest that followed by Loma’s team is both unfortunate and a waste of time, but that’s not why I’m here). What I’m here to discuss is what happened in Loma’s locker room after he left the ring and the weight of the loss seemed to land heavily on his shoulders.
And not just the moist-eyed, gotta wipe the corners of my eyes kind of cry, but a real heavy and painful cry. Some good-hearted folks saw this moment and thought it was unfair or even invasive to have lingered on Loma as he was losing the battle with collecting himself.
I understand that.
It's Not Uncool To Cry, Vasiliy Lomachenko
It’s raw, and if you see Vasiliy Lomachenko as a real person (and he is, so you should), it was genuinely painful to watch. My argument would be made against that perspective by illustrating two points:
Going into the locker room after a fight is normal, and all the camera did was capture the moment as it was happening. That’s part of live sports coverage, so the “invasiveness” was already built into the scene.
More importantly, there’s not a damn thing wrong with crying, especially after giving your all and coming up short.
Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly), there was another segment of viewers whose take on Loma’s breakdown was far less charitable. All over boxing Twitter, you could find plenty of examples of people making fun of Loma, and even questioning his manhood. Something I doubt any of those folks hopped up on internet courage and anonymity would say to Loma’s face.
There is real cruelty in the sport of boxing. The ring is a hard place to be. Getting hit in the face for a living ain’t easy folks, and if you’re Loma, who is undersized, 35-years-old, and coming off a nearly year long tour of duty for his home country Ukraine (which let’s not forget is a war zone), and then to have his long time goal to become the unified champion slip through his fingers, well, it probably smarts.
It Makes Sense That Loma Was Wicked Emotional
And look, in a fight as close as this one, Vasiliy Lomachenko has genuine reasons for believing he won the bout.
He outworked, outlanded, and outhurt his opponent, and still ended up getting the short end of the stick. That being said, we all know that fights are scored round by round, and while my personal card had Loma winning 115-113, those who either had it even, or 115-113 for Haney, are all within the realm of reason.
It’s a pity that Dave Moretti hasn’t been put out to pasture considering his 10th round scoring debacle of Loma/Haney, and his 10-10 round a month ago in the Davis/Garcia fight when Tank dropped Garcia in that round. What Moretti did with his overly generous 116-112 card in favor of Devin Haney was help give Haney’s trainer and father Bill cover for his nonsensical post-fight interview where he claimed the fight wasn’t “close enough” to warrant a rematch.
Obviously, Loma didn’t hear that at the time, because he was too busy being emotionally broken up over letting down his family (his son had been texting throughout the days leading up to the fight with “And the new undisputed…” messages to his father).
Love For Loma
But it does bring the point to bear, that this may be the last time that Vasiliy Lomachenko ever gets a shot at holding all four belts. It’s not that Loma needed the belts to cement his legacy in the sport–he’s done things that no boxer ever has and will sail into the Boxing Hall of Fame as soon as he is eligible. But damn, did he ever want it.
And anyone who has ever wanted anything so badly, and, rightly or not, felt like it was taken from them unfairly, should be able to understand why Loma took it so hard.
I don’t want to pretend to know what was going on in Loma’s head, but it’s not hard to imagine that he felt like he let down not only his family, but also himself, and even his country, which could surely have used something to celebrate while dodging Russian bullets.
So, yeah, Vasiliy Lomachenko, the 2-time Olympic gold medal winner (and perhaps the greatest amateur boxer ever), the 3-division champion, and the man who put his career on hold to do nothing less than defend his home country from a Russian invasion, cried Saturday night.
And if you were one of those laughing at him, posting mean tweets, or just generally being an ass about a man who has been through the emotional ringer, but has likely accomplished more in his life before hitting 40 than any of of us ever will, I just have one simple question for you:
What the f*ck did you do today to make you feel like you could ascend to your high horse and look down upon someone on the ground and in the fight?
Go ahead and think on it. I’ll wait.