Potential Lightweight Clash: Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Mikey Garcia
By Michael Mulvey | Contributing Writer
Published: September 20, 2018
The potential showdown: Lomachenko vs. Garcia
The potential lightweight clash between ‘Hi-Tech’ Vasyl Lomachenko (11 – 1 – 0, 9 KO) and Mikey Garcia (39 – 0 – 0, 30 KO) increasingly ignites the imagination of fight fans across the world. The prospect of the encounter poses the ultimate chance to determine the best lightweight in the world; the best facing the best and what all boxing supporters want to see.
Highlight: Vasyl Lomachenko
Ukrainian sensation, Vasyl Lomachenko, 30, is a three-weight division professional world champion, at featherweight, super-featherweight, and lightweight. The only blemish on his professional record is from his close, split-decision points defeat to Orlando Salido when challenging for the vacant WBO Featherweight Title in only his second professional contest.
Already in his short professional career, Lomachenko has overcome elite champions including most recently Venezuelan, Jorge Linares (44 – 4 – 0) in May 2018 by tenth round technical knockout (TKO) stoppage victory.
Back in December 2017, Lomachenko was victorious against former undefeated Cuban, Guillermo Ringondeaux (17 – 1 – 0). Rigondeaux is also a former two-time Bantamweight (54 kg) Olympic Gold Medallist, at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. Before the contest between the pair, many fight fans favored Rigondeaux to claim the victory as a more experienced, accustomed professional. The way Lomachenko dealt with the task before him was unbelievable; the way he dismantled Rigondeaux was as though he had entered the matrix and performed magic to overcome his opponent. Rigondeaux was forced to quit on his stool after the sixth round and claimed to have acquired a hand injury.
With Rigondeaux being the fourth consecutive opponent of Lomachenko to retire on his stool, this led to Lomachenko suggesting he should change his surname to ‘No-Mas Chenko’. This was in reference to the famous contest between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran, when Duran quit, declaring ‘No Mas’ due to his frustration with Leonard’s constant taunts and showboating.
As an amateur, Lomachenko secured two Olympic Gold medals, at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games. His amateur boxing record stands at 396 wins and only one loss, with this defeat being avenged twice afterward. He is universally recognized as one of the best boxers to lace up the gloves in the amateur ranks.
Defeating a number of elite opponents already as a professional boxer signals the success Lomachenko has had in adapting and becoming accustomed to professional boxing, which is often not the case for some high achieving amateur stars, who struggle to transition into the paid ranks.
Highlight: Mikey Garcia
Mexican-descent American star, Mikey Garcia, 30, is a four-weight division World Champion, at featherweight, super-featherweight, lightweight and super-lightweight. Since his professional debut in July 2006, Garcia has remained undefeated, with a total of thirty-nine victories, claiming thirty victories inside the scheduled full-fight distance by way of knockout.
Previous impressive victories include a unanimous decision over American, Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner (33 – 3 – 1) in July 2017 and Orlando Salido (44 – 14 – 4, 31 KO) in January 2013.
The main lightweight contenders are Lomachenko and Garcia, with the contest promising to be the decider for ultimate supremacy at the apex of the division. Other contenders include Jorge Linares, who Lomachenko previously defeated as well as British fighter, Luke Campbell. However, it must be remembered that Campbell was defeated by Linares in September 2017 via a split points decision, despite being a worthy test.
Recently, there have been talks of a potential match-up between Lomachenko and British Manchester fighter, Anthony Crolla. His trainer, Joe Gallagher confirmed contact between the two camps. Crolla must be respected for what he has achieved in his career; he has come back from early defeats to Youssef Al Hamidi in 2008, Gary Sykes in 2009 and 2012, as well as Derry Matthews in 2012, to claim the World WBA Lightweight Title against Columbian, Darleys Perez (33 – 4 – 2) in 2015. Crolla has personified that ‘hard work beats talent’ as he has overcome arguably more talented fighters as a result of his priceless, positive attitude and growth mindset; he has not been defined by his failures, leading to his impressive success. Crolla is a great fighter and deserves ‘big,’ high-earning fights. However, with due respect to the Manchester man, I believe Lomachenko is a step too far, and he should target a different route. In comparison to Lomachenko stopping Jorge Linares in their contest, Linares defeated Anthony Crolla twice in 2016 and 2017, both by unanimous decision in Manchester.
Top Rank boxing promoter, Bob Arum, said that Lomachenko will: “Go to 135 pounds [lightweight] and make a joke of Garcia.”
On the other hand, Garcia himself claimed that he would knockout Lomachenko, as well as Filipino pound for pound star, Manny Pacquiao (60 – 7 – 2).
The differing opinions amongst boxers, boxing experts and general global fight fans adds further excitement to the build-up and anticipation of the potential match-up.
Ultimate Lightweight Supremacy – Final Prediction
Both Lomachenko and Garcia are special, elite fighters, appreciated as two of the very best ‘pound for pound’ fighters in the world today. There are only a set few fighters globally that can compare to the level of skill and ring intelligence expressed by the two magicians of the ring.
In the world of boxing, many fighters are overrated, and the term ‘great’ is increasingly overused. However, there is absolutely no argument that both Lomachenko and Garcia are great fighters with exceptional skill.
In the potential clash between Ukraine and United States, I favor Lomachenko to claim the victory against Garcia. Despite Garcia having proved himself as a top-level fighter in the world and showing superior skill and prowess to all his previous thirty-nine opponents, I believe Lomachenko is another level to any other active fighter at lightweight. The ability of the Ukrainian man is rarely seen in the game of boxing, as he continues to improve, gaining more and more confidence with each victory as a professional. He is getting better and better as he progresses, and in my opinion, if he continues to dominate contests in the manner he has with only twelve professional contests to his name so far, he could potentially compare to the very best pound for pound fighters of all time, such as ‘Sugar’ Ray Robinson.
In relation to the proposed match-up against Garcia, as with any boxing contest at any level, contests are not decided on paper, from a boxer’s record or from the opinions of boxing experts; nothing is decided until the two fighters face each other in the square circle.
Therefore, until the final bell rings on fight night after this contest, nobody can know who the ultimate, best lightweight in the world is.
(Featured Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)