What’s the Exit Plan for Vasyl Lomachenko?
By: Kirk Jackson
There are rumblings of impending retirement talk for one of boxing’s top pound-for-pound fighters today, Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko 12-1 (9 KO’s).
The current unified WBA, WBO and Ring Magazine lightweight champion is scheduled to defend his titles against former Anthony Crolla 34-6 (13 KO’s) April 12 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“It’s better to fight with (Richard) Commey than Crolla. Richard has belt at least and I have goal — to win all the belts,” said Lomachenko regarding his upcoming title defense.
“My goal is to collect all four belts in one weight class and retire. What should I do next? Boxing is sport for me. It’s interesting to challenge champions. Who should I fight with, when I become undisputed champion? I am ready to retire even at the age of 33 years. For the first time I wore gloves when I was 5 and after that my entire life has been boxing. But everything has an end.”
Unfortunately, Lomachenko and Richard Commey 28-2 (25 KO’s) will have to wait for unification of the lightweight belts to transpire, with the latter suffering injury his last fight, which resulted in a 2nd round TKO victory for the Ghanaian fighter.
If the unification bout is to occur between Lomachenko and Commey, it probably won’t ensue until the back-end of summer due to the timing of Lomachenko’s upcoming title defense and the recovery period for Commey.
The other missing jewel-piece to the lightweight treasure Lomachenko desires is the WBC portion of the lightweight crown, preserved by Mikey Garcia 39-0 (30 KO’s).
Although Garcia has business north of 135 lbs. with the undefeated IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence 24-0 (21 KO’s) March 16, Garcia vs. Lomachenko is a match-up constantly discussed and dissected over the past few years. This match-up features a clash of styles and two distinctively excellent fighters holding top position across the pound-for-pound list.
Former super featherweight world champion, world renowned trainer and Mikey’s older brother Robert Garcia, believes his brother has what it takes to defeat the likes of Lomachenko.
He’s not alone with that sentiment, as other boxing figures such as world renowned trainer and analyst Teddy Atlas, favors Garcia in the hypothetical pairing, along with former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik.
“Mikey Garcia is a very talented fighter,” Pavlik said to FightHype. “Garcia is very smart in the ring and the longer the fight goes the better Mikey Garcia is. Garcia can adapt to anything in the ring. He’s very solid, so he doesn’t leave himself open.”
“I don’t think Lomachenko has got the power,” Pavlik continued. “I think it would be a very interesting fight and a close fight. I almost have to go with his size advantage and boxing knowledge that he has. Mikey very rarely makes mistakes and Mikey has good footwork. Footwork doesn’t have to be flashy.”
Whether Lomachenko vs. Garcia manifests depends on the results of Garcia vs. Spence March 16; either way Lomachenko has business to handle regardless April 12 against Crolla.
It’s interesting analyzing the options for Lomachenko as the 31-year-old aims to retire at 33. This only leaves a few options and speaking as a fan, we want to see this generational talent test his abilities against other highly talented individuals.
Speaking of talent, there is an upcoming generation of young fighters ranging from featherweight through lightweight oozing of ability. Shakur Stevenson, Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, Gervonta Davis, Michael Conlan and Teofimo Lopez just to name a few.
Lopez in particular stands out not only for his boxing ability, but for his brashness, boldness and willingness to knock Lomachenko off the throne.
Lopez’s assessment of Lomachenko can be summarized in two quotes.
“I feel like Lomachenko does the same thing when it comes to footwork and moving side-to-side. There are three or four different ways of beating Lomachenko,” said Lopez.
“I don’t take nothing away from Lomachenko,” Lopez said. “But I just don’t see anything special in him – that’s all.”
For Vasyl’s part, he wouldn’t mind knocking out the brash challenger or even at the very least adding Teofimo to the list of opponents quitting against the Ukrainian’s unrelenting assault.
🔫 Vasyl Lomachenko responds to Teofimo Lopez's trash talk: "I think what they're doing is just to PR themselves off my name… I am more than willing to share the ring with him… I will not be surprised at all if he quits in the middle of the fight." [@BoxingTalkG]
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) February 15, 2019
Over a three year stretch, the list includes in succession: Gamalier Rodriguez, Romulo Koasicha, Roman Martinez, Nicholas Walters, Jason Sosa, Miguel Marriaga and Guillermo Rigondeaux and Jorge Linares all stopped by Lomachenko.
This impressive streak earned Lomachenko the moniker, “No Mas Chenko.”
Whether Lopez can successfully challenge Lomachenko remains to be seen. Another fighter to throw in the mix of this matrix, is Gervonta “Tank” Davis 21-0 (20 KO’s).
The young champion from Baltimore has been on boxing’s forefront ever since he captured a world title in 2017. Often compared as southpaw mixture of Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather, Davis lives up to the moniker “Tank,” as he has the tendency to steamroll over his opponents with bone shattering punches.
Bouts with and potential victories over fighters such as Lopez, Davis or Garcia would only add to Lomachenko’s legend if he were to pull off the feats.
Lomachenko wants to be remembered for his exploits in the ring and has an impressive resume thus far as an amateur and professional boxer. He’s arguably one of the best of his era and to further cement his status, he may aim to crush some of the young lions hunting for his perch on top before he exits the sport for good. Interesting to see if any of the aforementioned names are part of the exit plan for Vasyl Lomachenko.