On Saturday night, WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7KOs) once again flashed modern images of a pugilistic Neo.
No, he wasn't adorned in futuristic green/black as an ode to the sci-fi freak of nature last seen humiliating former WBA super featherweight champion Jason Sosa. Nevertheless there he was, unveiling yet another tier to demonstrate why he's the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
More than mere ability plays a role in earning that distinction. While watching Lomachenko ruthlessly dissect Miguel Marriaga (25-3, 21KOs) until his corner dismissed him after the 7th round, it was hard to miss an almost sinister display of intangibles at play.
Vasyl Lomachenko is the very rare boxer who is also a bully. Brilliant defensively, he willingly disregards this to be what fighters call “first”; often going arrogantly offensive in a way that doesn't offend. Over the last 100 years, only Muhammad Ali possessed his type of confidence married to physical gifts.
Orlando Salido (who Loma really wanted to face last night) can probably be blamed for this, which means no one can blame him for turning down 750K for a rematch.
At the LA Forum last month to witness WBC super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt rinse Takashi Miura via UD, I was seated next to the longtime badass Salido during the bout. Afterwards, he had some choice words for Berchelt– but would only shake his head and smile when I brought up Lomachenko.
Almost illegally bigger and stronger and full of foulness, Salido faced a fighter not ready for the pros the first time around, but still almost lost late. He didn't face what made Nicholas Walters quit or what drove Sosa's corner crazy. The “Hi-Tech” we're witnessing now would nuclear bomb Salido with absolute malice in about six rounds.
Lomachenko watched Berchelt try to preserve himself while putting on a boxing clinic against Miura. Though a murderous puncher, the war with Francisco Vargas no doubt influenced Berchelt's braintrust to save something for the game's Matrix, possibly in December.
Interestingly enough, a very cunning Lomachenko tested the theory of a diminished Marriaga right away, almost as if mocking the dangerous and mobile Berchelt we saw against Miura. Nothing suggests what happened to Marriaga wouldn't happen to Berchelt.
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Though Guillermo Rigondeaux and Gervonta Davis took to Twitter and threw shade in the aftermath, both world champions would receive two different distinct beatings from Lomachenko.
Rigo is too old and too small to keep up with Loma's speed/agility over 12 rounds. I don't think Rigo would quit, nor do I think the referee or great Cuban trainer Pedro Diaz would have to save him. Lomachenko would KO Rigondeaux cold.
As for “Tank” Davis, it would be even more personal.
Vasyl wore his Neo ring attire as a reminder to Davis that it is indeed He who wears a black cape and cool black sunglasses while fighting crime. When I ran into Egis Klimas before Andre Ward V Sergey Kovalev II, he confirmed Lomachenko ‘was greatly pissed off' with Davis for flirting with usage of “The One” against Jose Pedraza in January.
Davis is potentially great- but he's also highly irascible. Immature and prone to emotional explosion during the promotion, Lomachenko would most likely blow Tank up while potentially ruining him forever. That fight can (and should) wait.
Which means the best fight we can see after Canelo Alvarez V Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, is Vasyl Lomachenko V Mikey Garcia. Mikey would be at his best weight of 135 after impressing at 140 against Adrien Broner. Does 135 or any of this matter at all to Lomachenko? C'mon now.
“He (Garcia) proved he's one of the best against Broner, but I want to fight him,' said Lomachenko, after clubbing Marriaga. ‘I would fight him tonight. He's slow and gets tired. The only problem is he's on SHOWTIME and I'm not. But boxing and all the fans need this fight… I need this fight.”
Christmas in August.