Just How Good Is Vasyl Lomachenko?
By: Sean Crose
People are saying Ukrainian wunderkind Vasyl Lomachenko might end up being the greatest athlete to ever lace up a pair of gloves. I say we’re living in an age of hyperbole, an age where people are literally considered evil simply for voting for one particular candidate over another. Indeed, all the over-the-top rhetoric has grown tiresome to me. Still, the s endless praise heaped on Loma – as he’s called – by everyone from Bob Arum to Joe Rogan is not without merit. Heck, even a phone tech my wife was recently talking to was talking up the guy. That kind of attention is at least generally based on a solid foundation.
Is Lomachenko, however, as good as he’s cracked up to be? Well, we know he lost once, albeit in terribly unfair fashion to Orlando Salido (a fighter who I generally like). With that aside, however, he’s proved to be marvelous in the ring. Never mind that amateur record – which is nearly sickening in its awesomeness – there’s also wins like the absolute beatdown he laid on Roman Martinez late last spring. Make no mistake about it, Loma is something else. The footwork, the combos, even the power – it’s really impressive stuff.
There’s also the guy’s vaunted confidence. This here is a man who dares to be great. Seriously, could you picture any of the crop of today’s safety-first fighters wanting to face the likes the 26-0-1 Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters? The 6-1 Lomachenko has proven himself ready, able and willing to fight the destroyer of Nonito Donaire and others this very weekend. Sure enough, the Lomachenko-Walters fight at the Cosmopolitan in Vegas for the WBO world super featherweight strap might give us lots of insight into Lomachenko’s future.
Sure, Walters hasn’t fought in ages, but he’s only himself to blame if he doesn’t show up Saturday night with his A-game. In other words, he’s a legit challenge for the man some are already claiming might be the greatest ever. Indeed, those who feel Walters has no chance of pulling off the upset are fooling themselves. That’s why the fight should make for such a solid gauge of Loma’s talent. Walters is top level competition, the kind of name that glistens on a resume. Should Lomachenko win and win impressively, the hype will start to become more than hype – at least to some degree.
Ultimately, it will take a while to tell if this very talented boxer will attain the insane promise he’s presented the world with – or that some have presented before him. For now, we only know that Lomachenko has proven himself to be quite accomplished in just seven fights and that his potential is considerably higher than the average fighters. In the end, Lomachenko himself will prove to us whether or not he’s as good as advertised. Give him credit, though, for daring to be great. If only more talented boxers had the man’s ambition. Or Walters’, for that matter. The Axe Man has chosen one hell of a tree to try to cut down this weekend, after all.