Two Olympic gold medals. 396-1 as an amateur. Tied the record for least fights before winning a major wold championship. Set the record for the fastest man to hold two of those belts. These are the achievements of a superstar in the making, and the man attached to those accomplishments is Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko burst onto the pro scene with high expectations, and has continued to prove he is a top pound for pound boxer. The question is if he can fill the void left by the retirement of Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather was the biggest star in boxing, and his absence has left room for fighters like Vasyl to step up and take the spotlight.
The Championship Path
Vasyl entered the pro ranks riding a wave of hype, and winning the WBO international title in his first fight only kept that train rollin. Next up was crafty veteran Orlando Salido, and it would be Vasyl’s first shot at a major world title. Salido would go on to miss weight, hang on to Vasyl for dear life, land low blows like he was auditioning for the nutcracker, and was able to snatch a close decision victory from Lomachenko’s hands. Vasyl is too smart a fighter for those tactics to work on him again, and if Salido ever agrees to rematch I see Lomachenko picking him apart. Loma would earn that WBO World Featherweight Title in his next fight, a dominating decision over Gary Russell Jr, and then go on and win his next five with four coming by finish. His latest performance against undefeated world champion Nicolas Walters was his best to date. Vasyl made it seem like this man didn’t belong in the ring with him. Walters was 26-0-1 and had secured a recent TKO victory against Nonito Donaire, so when Walters quit on the stool between the seventh and eight rounds it was just further proof that Vasyl is in a league of his own.
Take it to the Bank:
The loss of Mayweather has left boxing in dire need of new PPV draws. Look at the Ward-Kovalev fight, it sold only 150,00 PPV’s. Two of the top ten pound for pound ranked fighters in the world did a fraction of the buys that caliber of fight would have brought in 20 years ago. Vasyl needs to change numbers like that if he ever wants to earn the same type of paydays as Mayweather, but he does already have the style to captivate audiences. He has one of the greatest offensive toolsets in the game today, and he pours on that offense without even getting touched. Thats the thing about Vasyl, his style caters to all fans. You’re not going to have less educated fans scream of how boring Vasyl’s style is, but those fans will watch Floyd’s beautiful angles and the perfectly timed shoulder rolls then scream that he is running away from his opponent. So how is it that Floyd was able to get all these people to buy his fights and make him hundreds of millions of dollars? He got them to buy into his persona. He embraced the Heel role with open arms, and those arms were greeted with an unbelievable amount of cash. Vasyl may not need to use controversy to build up his fights, but he does need to build a persona that the fans can buy into. He will first need to become fluent in english, and it has been improving with every fight. It seems that as he becomes more comfortable with his english he has been more open with the media, and you can’t build a persona without having a way for people to discover it. Wether or not a million other people buy Vasyl’s fights I will always tune in, and if he can earn numbers like that he will be bringing fortunes to boxing that we haven’t seen in some time.
Abramson, Mitch. “Ward-Kovalev Does Just over 160,000 PPV Buys, Source Says.” The Ring. N.p., 29 Nov. 2016. Web. 08 Apr. 2017.
ESPN. “Putting Floyd Mayweather’s $220M Payday into Perspective.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 02 July 2015. Web. 08 Apr. 2017.
Mazique, Brian. “Nonito Donaire vs. Nicholas Walters: Winner, Recap and Analysis.” Bleacher Report. Bleacher Report, 21 Dec. 2016. Web. 08 Apr. 2017.
Rafael, Dan. “Vasyl Lomachenko Still Looking for a Challenge.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 07 Apr. 2017. Web. 08 Apr. 2017.
All record are from boxingrec.com