Vasiliy Lomachenko stops Anthony Crolla in Four Rounds at the Staples Center
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: April 14, 2019
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – The more notoriety and acclaim you achieve in the sport of boxing the bigger the microscope in which your career is examined grows.
When you are rated as one of the best pugilists in the world pound-for-pound you are graded on not just if you win, but rather on how you win. For some fighters, the pressure of continually performing at a high level regardless of the opponent can be too great and lead to inconsistencies.
For unified WBA and WBO Lightweight champion, Vasiliy Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) who first made his professional debut after a stellar amateur career in which he won two Olympic gold medals and amassed a record of 396-1, the expectations for him to dominate every opponent he faces only grows with each match.
Fortunately for the Ukrainian, he and his team always seem prepared for every situation and opponent.
At the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California in front of a live crowd of 10,101 boxing fans, Lomachenko put on one of the more impressive performances of his career. Lomachenko made the second defense of his WBA Lightweight title and the first defense of his WBC Lightweight title against Manchester, England’s Anthony Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KOs).
Going into the fight, Crolla was a massive underdog. It was rumored that Lomachenko was not as motivated for the United Kingdom native as he has been for other opponents. Similar to how the 1990’s Fighter of the Decade Roy Jones Jr. would make his mandatory bouts as entertaining as possible no matter who was standing on the other side of the ring, Lomachenko has shown that when he steps in the squared circle, he will entertain the viewing audience.
The first round started off tentative with both fighters circling the ring keeping their punch output to a minimum. It was clear, however, from the start that Crolla was having trouble adapting to Lomachenko who was cutting off the ring inch by inch.
By the second round, it was apparent that Crolla may have felt out of his league as his body language showed that he was intimidated and out of ideas. In the last minute of the second round, Lomachenko landed a barrage of punches on Crolla while he was against the ropes giving the impression that the end of the fight was near.
The third round played out as a continuation of the second round as Lomachenko walked down Crolla landing combination after combination. The U.K. native attempted to land his own punches, but the champion’s ability to switch from offense to defense in a split-second made landing a clean blow seem impossible.
At the end of the third round, Lomachenko corned Crolla by the ropes once again and unloaded a savage attack to the body and head. Crolla was close to falling to the canvas; however, the ropes allowed him to stay on his feet.
Referee Jack Reiss stepped in and appeared to stop the fight. However, he was counting a knockdown against Crolla as one of the punches landed by Lomachenko would have put him down if not for the ropes.
The live audience and Lomachenko both thought Reiss had put a halt to the bout and began celebrating. Reiss made sure to get the match back in order and quickly made it clear that the fight was not over.
The end of the bout came in the fourth round when Lomachenko landed a perfectly placed right hook to the temple of Crolla who landed face first on the canvas unable to get back on his feet. The match ended at the 0.58-second mark of the fourth round.
The knockout of Crolla will be rated as one of the best knockouts of 2019 and one of the best knockouts of Lomachenko’s career. The knockout of Crolla is second only to Lomachenko’s knockout of Roman Martinez in the summer of 2016 for the WBO Super Featherweight title.
The goal for Lomachenko is to unify all the titles in the Lightweight division. A bout against Mikey Garcia would still be one of the most significant matches in the sport; however, with Garcia’s recent one-sided loss to IBF Welterweight champion Errol Spence, it is unclear if Garcia will return to Lightweight.
The next option for the Ukrainian will be against IBF Lightweight champion Richard Commey. The Ghanian champion had a hand injury that prevented him from facing Lomachenko in April, but he is the most likely opponent for the unified Lightweight champion in his next match.
If Lomachenko’s promoter Top Rank is unable to provide Lomachenko with significant fights that will catch the public’s attention, the plan should be to keep him as active as possible.
At 31 years old, boxing’s version of “The Matrix” is 8-1 with six knockouts over former or current world champions. He is now 12-1 with nine knockouts in title fights.
While the pound-for-pound title is subjective in nature, should Lomachenko continue to dominate his opponents as he did Crolla, their won’t be much of a debate as to who stands atop of the boxing world.
(Featured Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)