The Matrix Reloaded…The Return Of Vasiliy Lomachenko

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Everybody…get on your feet right now…..For Loma….the best pound for pound fighter in the world…Whoever don’t agree….you know what?….Y’all musta forgot” 

We last saw P4P great and WBA lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (11-1 9KOs) in the ring on May 12 against the rugged Jorge Linares (44-4 27 KOs), at the time, the current WBA lightweight champ. Linares had been the top dog of the division for several years. Lomachenko moved up to face Linares in an attempt to capture his third title in as many weight classes.

Said Lomachenko before the bout- “The life of a boxing athlete is short, so I don’t have time to waste, or time to take tune-up fights or whatever…….I want the best, and to get the most out of my short boxing career by fighting the best that I can”

Through the first five rounds, Lomachenko cut off the ring, got inside Linares’ length, pressed the action, showed the great footwork forged by years of dancing and competitive sports, and did what Loma does.  Linares, who did land some good shots at random times, began to get visibly frustrated. 

In the sixth, Linares, the skilled boxer and champion that he is, landed a straight right and dropped Loma. Although Loma was a bit off balance, take nothing away from Linares, he did something that had not been seen before. Not overly hurt by the shot Loma regroups to finish the round and carries over his strategy of reassessing his attack to the 7th, allowing Linares to take the round. 

In the 8th, Loma is back on the attack and opens a cut over Linares’ left eye and goes after it throughout the round.  Both gave as good as they got in the 9th in a close round as Linares landed a good uppercut but Loma was offensive as well. 

In the tenth and final round, Loma paints his masterpiece, the movement, the precise combination punching, the one-two’s, the quickness, the step over and hook to the body. BANG! Game-Set-Match.

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“Will there be another Loma? Probably not. Stopped Jorge Linares with a body shot. See y’all musta forgot..”

A world title in his 3rd weight division, and also sets a new record for capturing world titles in three divisions in the fewest fights, 12, beating the previous mark by 8. 

The win against Linares didn’t come without a price. Lomachenko injured his shoulder early in the fight. He stated to ESPN that it had popped out but had gone back in; however, it was providing challenges for him throughout the fight.  After  seeing a specialist, he found out that he had tore his labrum. 

He had surgery on May 30. As Dr. Neal ElAttrache told ESPN, he believed the surgery to have been a success- 

“The tissue was very nice and we were able to achieve a very nice sturdy repair that should provide him with stability in his shoulder, and I am optimistic for an excellent prognosis”  

This Saturday night, from The Theatre at Madison Square Garden, Lomachenko is back and in true modus operandi fashion, facing a tough opponent…….his first fight back from shoulder surgery. This time out he’s going to knuckle up in a unification bout with the man they call “The Sniper” once beaten Jose Pedraza (25-1 12 KO), the current WBO lightweight titlist. 

The only loss on Pedraza’s resume is Gervonta “Tank” Davis, a TKO 7 in January 2017. Loma will no doubt have an added incentive to get Pedraza out of there before the 7th to best Davis’ effort. There has been plenty of Loma v. Davis rumblings in the past.

In August, Pedraza beat tough as nails Ray Beltan by UD. Pedraza showed an active jab and fought from both stances. Beltran, not known for his speed, couldn’t handle Pedraza’s.  Beltran tried to brawl and force the fight but got cut early and was dropped in the 11th. In the end, it was youth and speed that earned the UD for Pedraza. 

In watching tape of Pedraza, and from memory of watching his fights, he throws an active jab, goes to the body, and has good speed and movement. That said, there is one glaring flaw in his game, his inability to go defensive after he throws his shots or while he is throwing them. He is wide open up the middle and as a fighter that moves forward, is susceptible to walking right into an uppercut. As he throws his jab, the openings are there to be exploited. 

Pedraza would be wise to tread lightly here with his approach. There are different levels in this game and when fighting this Ukranian, you’re pretty much at the peak. If your defense is not tight and you make mistakes, you then enter The Matrix.  

As we understood post-fight, Loma was not 100% against Linares, which may or may not have explained the knockdown and the uncharacteristic shots that were landed on Loma. Even with an injured shoulder, he stopped a tough champion. Assuming the shoulder is fight ready, as it should be, I look for Loma to do what Loma does. The beautiful movement, combination punching, tapping his punches to find the range then adding his power, utilizing the trade-mark step over while throwing with bad intentions, and so on…..

As Lomachenko recently told Teddy Atlas-

“I want to unify titles. It was my first goal when I came into the pros. I tried to unify titles at 126, 130, now I try at 135. Maybe this weight will be lucky for me. … I want to prove my father is the best coach, a genius of boxing. That’s why I do this. But it’s not his plan, it’s not his choice about second titles, third titles, it’s my choice. I want to put my name in boxing history.

“My father watched when he won his title, and he explained what I need to do in the training. … My father is the gamer, I am the game. … We have a little secret for this fight, we’ve changed a little bit of the strategy. So we’ll see in the ring.”

Ah yes, Anatoly, aka PAPAChenko, the master mind, the former amateur boxer with the unique forward thinking training methods, not only physically, but mentally. The total package……. Hi-Tech Training…..

You see the greatness not only with his son but also on all that he touches, providing wise guidance in the past to …..Oleksandr Usyk, the undisputed cruiserweight titlist and odds on favorite for Fighter of the Year, and newly crowned WBC light heavyweight champion Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk just to name a few. 

When you watch Vasiliy and Anatoly work, you can’t help but see it…..respect between a fighter and coach, but also the love between a father and son. 

Yes, this is The Matrix Reloaded………………

 

 

 

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