NEW YORK — I think it’s safe to say Vasyl Lomchenko is the most dangerous and talented 7-fight boxer in the world today. Since turning pro in late 2013, he’s already made history by claiming titles in two weight classes in just seven fights with his KO of the Year contender win over the Roman Martinez.
Roy Jones has been singing Lomachenko’s praises for the last year, calling him one of the sport’s top Pound 4 Pound fighters. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum went into full hype mode proclaiming him the “best of his era,” similar to how “Muhammad Ali was the best of his era.”
Like most, I love watching Lomachenko go to work. His footwork is impeccable. The way his mixes setup and hard shot combinations should come with a caption that says “Sweet Science.” Nonetheless, a dominant win over Gary Russell and Roman Martinez, to go along with a decision loss to Orlando Salido, do not constitute P4P #1 nor “best of his era.”
This is the main reason the negotiation collapse between him and Nicholas Walters at featherweight was so disappointing. Orlando Salido, who drew against Francisco Vargas last week in a Fight of Year contender, might be next up in an intriguing grudge rematch. I pick Lomachenko to stop him in that one, and further options that open up at junior lightweight include Jezreel Corrales, Jose Pedraza (if Arum and Haymon are truly playing nice), and even another try at the Walters fight.
Two wins against any combination of the above fighters could possibly be enough to get Lomachenko into lower Top 10 P4P discussions.
I like watching Felix Verdejo because I realized long ago he’s not the savior of Puerto Rican boxing. If you’re expecting him to be the next Felix Trinidad, Miguel Cotto or even Ivan Calderon, I understand why’d you’d be upset with the listless nature of his recent performances.
Yes, he’s very popular among his PR countryman and has crossover potential. But being a boxing star does not automatically translate to “all-time great” or even a “hall of famer.” Let the kid face a live body before we make definitive statements about his potential.