By: Hans Themistode
It didn’t take long for Vasiliy Lomachenko to make his mark on the boxing world. The highly touted amateur came onto the professional scene in 2013 and immediately made an impact. In just his third pro fight, the Ukrainian product hoisted his first world title, a record for any male fighter. From there, he’s duplicated that same feeling several times over.
As the wins started to pile up and his trophy case began to overflow, the comparison’s to former greats soon came after. One of those aforementioned comparisons came at the expense of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The retired five division world champion spent over 20 years of his life in the sport. And although Lomachenko has accomplished several milestones that he hasn’t, his record of winning a world title in just his third pro contest should come with an asterisk attached to it.
“I had my day in the sport,” said Mayweather during an interview promoting Gervonta Davis vs Leo Santa Cruz showdown. “But when they started comparing Loma to me, I didn’t have to have 500 amateur fights. He did something that I wasn’t able to do. He won two gold medals which is a huge accomplishment. Just going to the Olympics is huge in itself. They say he was the quickest to win a world title than any other fighter but once you fight 300 amateur fights you’re a professional anyway.”
Saying that Lomachenko had 300 amateur fights is actually shortchanging him. In total, the Ukrainian southpaw compiled 397 fights in the unpaid ranks. All but one of those contests resulted in a loss, something he would later avenge several times over.
His overwhelming success in the amateur world gave Lomachenko the cache needed in order to skip the championship line once he turned pro.
After stopping Jose Luis Ramirez in his debut, the two time Olympic gold medalist was given a chance to add to his gold collection by facing Orlando Salido for the vacant WBO featherweight title. The tactics used by Salido on the night may have been viewed as bending the rules, but he ultimately got what he was looking for as he handed Lomachenko the first loss of his career.
Although he dropped the ball, his setback against Salido was merely a bump in the road as he was given another crack at gold, this time against Gary Russell Jr. In a much more dominant effort, Lomachenko managed to run away with the win and take home the world title he was hoping for.
Much of the attention has been placed on Lomachenko’s record of winning said title in just his third contest. With that being said, Mayweather finds it disrespectful to compare his Ukrainian counterpart to either himself or any of the past greats.
“You cannot compare a fighter like Loma to me or Ali or Sugar Ray Leonard you know the reason why? We won our first fight, we won our second fight, we won our third fight.”
At the moment, the shining star that was associated with Lomachenko’s career is dimming rapidly thanks to a one sided loss at the hands of Teofimo Lopez this past weekend. The 23 year old was given virtually no shot at dethroning who many believed was the best pound for pound fighter in the sport, but after dominating the first half of their contest, Lopez did just enough during the latter portion to have his hand raised.
Mayweather openly admitted to watching their showdown from his palatial estate and was congratulatory towards Lopez who now holds all four titles at 135 pounds. Despite that, Mayweather believes that Lopez should receive his just due, but this notion that Lomachenko was the best in the world was a false narrative from the beginning.
“I’m not going to take away anything from what Teofimo did the other day but remember, this guy already had a loss to Salido. Salido wasn’t the best guy in the world, he was solid. He won a title before but he wasn’t the best guy in the world.”