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WHERE I WENT WRONG ON VASILIY LOMACHENKO

By Paul Magno | May 11, 2018
WHERE I WENT WRONG ON VASILIY LOMACHENKO

I admit that I've been a little too harsh on Vasiliy Lomachenko over the years. I'm a big enough man to admit when I'm wrong. 

As a dedicated foe of excessive hype and promotional bullshit in boxing, it's hard not to bristle at a man, just barely into double-digit wins, being mentioned alongside names like Henry Armstrong and Roy Jones.  It's also tough not to punch back at an onslaught of "he's the greatest" talking points and "he's the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world" nonsense from media and fans when you see earnest and honest American fighters in need of support, languishing in relative obscurity, victims of indifference.

But none of that is Lomachenko's fault. 

And while it’s true that Lomachenko has never been an underdog and hasn’t beaten anyone he wasn’t supposed to beat, the same could be said for a lot of boxing’s top fighters these days. Actually, none of Ring Magazine’s top five pound-for-pound fighters have accomplished that feat. Maybe that’s just a byproduct of boxing in the modern era with its politics and self-defeating business structure.

However, fighting Orlando Salido and Gary Russell Jr. in your second and third fights as a pro is deserving of some serious boxing street cred. Dominant wins over Nicholas Walters and Roman Martinez are also nothing to be brushed aside. Even forcing a “No Mas” from an undersized and deeply disadvantaged Guillermo Rigondeaux carries some weight. Mind you, this is not an overwhelming body of work around which his well-crafted legend is built—especially since he actually lost to Salido—but it is worthy of legitimate respect as something “real.”

And a win over Jorge Linares-- a legitimate world champ with elite-level skill, one division heavier than Lomachenko's best weight-- this Saturday at Madison Square Garden will be the crowning glory of a five-year pro career for the Ukraine native and two-time Olympic gold medalist. 

Lomachenko's talents and abilities were never in question and he always got my full respect in that regard. In terms of record, I also understood what was what and appreciated the reality within the well-calculated resume padding. All boxers get matched with risk vs. reward in mind. Lomachenko's run has not been a Triple G-level plowing through paths of least resistance.

It was all the other stuff that turned me off and I'm sure it turned others off as well. You can promote a fighter without being obnoxious about it and without creating false narratives. It's also possible to promote a fighter without pushing other fighters down around you. Nobody has to be "running scared" from your guy and your fighter doesn't have to violate the graves of legendary heroes to be a star in the present tense. 

Outstanding skill, ability, and willingness to take on a challenge are all that's needed to build a real boxing star. Lomachenko has plenty of that and can do just fine lifting himself up from the strength of his own talents. 

The old saying about a rising tide lifting all boats certainly applies to boxing. Ditch the us vs. them mentality in boxing promotion and a guy like Lomachenko will not only build himself into a proper star, but he will also elevate every opponent he meets. 

Boxing will be infinitely healthier when promotion doesn't mean putting everyone down in an effort to elevate your own guy.

Anyway, I'm putting aside the unhealthy hype when it comes to Vasiliy Lomachenko from this point forward. I'm just gonna focus on appreciating the man and his ability-- and you should too.

WHERE I WENT WRONG ON VASILIY LOMACHENKO

 

I admit that I've been a little too harsh on Vasiliy Lomachenko over the years. I'm a big enough man to admit when I'm wrong. 

As a dedicated foe of excessive hype and promotional bullshit in boxing, it's hard not to bristle at a man, just barely into double-digit wins, being mentioned alongside names like Henry Armstrong and Roy Jones.  It's also tough not to punch back at an onslaught of "he's the greatest" talking points and "he's the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world" nonsense from media and fans when you see earnest and honest American fighters in need of support, languishing in relative obscurity, victims of indifference.

But none of that is Lomachenko's fault. 

And while it’s true that Lomachenko has never been an underdog and hasn’t beaten anyone he wasn’t supposed to beat, the same could be said for a lot of boxing’s top fighters these days. Actually, none of Ring Magazine’s top five pound-for-pound fighters have accomplished that feat. Maybe that’s just a byproduct of boxing in the modern era with its politics and self-defeating business structure.

However, fighting Orlando Salido and Gary Russell Jr. in your second and third fights as a pro is deserving of some serious boxing street cred. Dominant wins over Nicholas Walters and Roman Martinez are also nothing to be brushed aside. Even forcing a “No Mas” from an undersized and deeply disadvantaged Guillermo Rigondeaux carries some weight. Mind you, this is not an overwhelming body of work around which his well-crafted legend is built—especially since he actually lost to Salido—but it is worthy of legitimate respect as something “real.”

And a win over Jorge Linares-- a legitimate world champ with elite-level skill, one division heavier than Lomachenko's best weight-- this Saturday at Madison Square Garden will be the crowning glory of a five-year pro career for the Ukraine native and two-time Olympic gold medalist. 

Lomachenko's talents and abilities were never in question and he always got my full respect in that regard. In terms of record, I also understood what was what and appreciated the reality within the well-calculated resume padding. All boxers get matched with risk vs. reward in mind. Lomachenko's run has not been a Triple G-level plowing through paths of least resistance.

It was all the other stuff that turned me off and I'm sure it turned others off as well. You can promote a fighter without being obnoxious about it and without creating false narratives. It's also possible to promote a fighter without pushing other fighters down around you. Nobody has to be "running scared" from your guy and your fighter doesn't have to violate the graves of legendary heroes to be a star in the present tense. 

Outstanding skill, ability, and willingness to take on a challenge are all that's needed to build a real boxing star. Lomachenko has plenty of that and can do just fine lifting himself up from the strength of his own talents. 

The old saying about a rising tide lifting all boats certainly applies to boxing. Ditch the us vs. them mentality in boxing promotion and a guy like Lomachenko will not only build himself into a proper star, but he will also elevate every opponent he meets. 

Boxing will be infinitely healthier when promotion doesn't mean putting everyone down in an effort to elevate your own guy.

Anyway, I'm putting aside the unhealthy hype when it comes to Vasiliy Lomachenko from this point forward. I'm just gonna focus on appreciating the man and his ability-- and you should too.

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018
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