"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."
~Mike Tyson

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Lomachenko vs Marriaga: An Entertaining Mismatch

Lomachenko Dispatches Marriaga in 7

Photo: boxingscene.com
Last night on ESPN Vasyl Lomachenko easily dispatched the severely over matched Miguel Marriaga. After 7 rounds of a sustained beating, Marriaga's corner decided it had seen enough and his team informed referee Jack Reiss that their fighter would be calling it a night. The Ukrainian technician was the heavy betting favorite heading into the fight but how many fans and pundits expected a complete wash?

Marriaga is a puncher whom normally imposes himself on his opponents with a come forward style but Vasyl Lomachenko is no "normal" boxer. Marriaga spent the majority of his time moving backward rather than forward and either couldn't or wouldn't let his hands go as much as he needed to. At times it appeared to yours truly that Marriaga's game plan was to foolishly try and outbox the vastly more talented Lomachenko. The majority of the time however it was clear that it was Lomachenko's constant pressure, speed, positioning, angles, and not any game plan that kept his opponent completely flummoxed for the entirety of the fight. So over matched was Marriaga in fact that at one point Lomachenko literally ran to a corner, stood with his guard down, and taunted Marriaga while avoiding nearly all of the shots coming at him. This type of bravado is born, at least in part, out of ego but it's clear that the Ukrainian whirlwind not only knows when he's in complete control but that there's more to being a successful boxer than simply winning.

Photo: reactiongifs.com

Marriaga was twice sent to the canvas by Lomachenko, once in round 3 and again near the end of round 7. Marriaga rose from the first knock down with a seemingly clear head but the knock down at the end of the 7th round came with an additional 4 rounds of wear and tear and was the proverbial nail the coffin for The Scorpion. From the opening bell, Lomachenko's offense overwhelmed the Colombian and set upon him like an angry swarm of bees armed with 'reloadable' stingers. It was a gross mismatch but one that was entertaining. Watching Lomachenko apply his superb craft is reason enough to watch his fights though it would be nice to see him in against the best in his weight class, that or the one above it. This needs to happen sooner rather than later too. We all understand that the politics of boxing as well as the desire to avoid supremely talented fighters are big hurdles in making the most exciting fights but if 2017 has taught boxing heads anything it's that these hurdles can be cleared when boxers actually want to fight. So what's next for Lomachenko? How about Miguel Berchelt, Jezreel Corrales, Gervonta Davis, or that illusive rematch with Orlando Salido? Surely any of these fights would have fans salivating but don't hold your breath. This scribe expects another soft touch for the enormously talented Lomachenko only because no one is in a rush to step into the ring with him.

Not So Fast

Photo: boxrec.com
Boxing fans are quick to both dismiss fighters as hype jobs and to anoint them legends long before they've proven themselves to be either. At the time of this writing no one has yet asserted that Vasyl Lomachenko is a legend or that he's one in the making but there are those that have already started with the comparisons to actual legends of the sport. If you're active on Twitter and Facebook you will likely have seen pundits, media, and fans comparing the meteoric fighter to the likes of Pernell Whitaker and Joe Calzaghe. To be completely fair I get the comparisons when you look at Whitaker's and Calzaghe's speed, workrate, and their lack of power but it's far to early to enshrine Lomachenko next to either of the aforementioned greats. Yes, Lomachenko passes the eye test and passes with flying colors but he's yet to face any of the sports best. The smart money says he beats those guys as well but we won't know just how good or great he is until he takes some big steps up in terms of competition. In the meantime, let's save the coronations, comparisons, and hall of fame inductions for the end of Lomachenko's career.

I think it's time I get started drafting my Canelo vs Golovkin analysis and prediction. That one's going to take some time.

Scott Jarvis is a boxing writer for Split D Boxing. He can be reached on TwitterFacebook, or by email at splitdecisionbox@gmail.com.

1 comment: