Is Vasyl Lomachenko the pound-for-pound number one fighter in boxing right now? With only nine professional boxing bouts, the hype around Lomachenko is well deserved. He has dismantled the competition. Domination is nothing new for this Ukrainian boxer. Vasyl completely outclassed his opponents during his amateur career, racking up 396 wins to only one questionable defeat. Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko is a right-hand dominant southpaw boxer. Vasyl leaves fighters overwhelmed with his high-volume style. His signature footwork is so awe-inspiring that it seems out of this world. His favorite move is to establish lead-foot dominance by masking his movement with jabs and feints, and then rain a devastating series of hooks and straights from creative angles. His nickname is well-deserved, but to consider him number one pound-for-pound is premature.
Vasyl Lomachenko is super entertaining. Don’t believe me? Just reference his absolute massacre of Jason Sosa. The CompuBox stats calculated an averaged of 31 of 77 punches per round for Vasyl compared to Sosa’s eight of 32. Vasyl’s signature footwork had Sosa punching air. Lomachenko danced and threw as Sosa stood and absorbed until his corner stopped the fight in the ninth round. But how impressive was this victory really?
Jason Sosa is 20-2-4. A closer examination of his fights exposes some daunting flaws. Jason Sosa knocked Javier Fortuna out in the 11th round. He threw a straight right that set up a devastating left hook that completely shook the southpaw, Javier. Javier instinctively threw a lead right hook in retaliation. However, Sosa bobbed and weaved the counter to his left and landed a right hook that sent Javier to the canvas: end of fight. Interestingly though, according to BoxRec.com, all three judges’ scorecards had Javier winning the fight against Sosa.
Sosa’s fight against Nicholas Walters was ruled a draw, but should it have been? Walters out-landed Sosa in every round. The final punch count, according to CompuBox, favored Walters’ 281 of 622 over Sosa’s 168 of 873. These stats are super revealing. Sosa wasn’t an accurate puncher against Walters. What would make him capable of hitting Lomachenko?
Before his fight with Sosa, Vasyl fought Nicholas Walters for the WBO World super featherweight title. Hi-Tech demonstrated masterful skill, landing 80 punches to Walter’s 28 in rounds four through seven. Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters demanded the ref stop the fight after the seventh, as he wanted no more part of the slaughter. Vasyl is a great fighter. But p4p after only nine fights? I don’t think so.
What makes someone the top pound-for-pound boxer isn’t the hype that follows him or her into the ring. Continuously outperforming the various challengers who believe they’ve cracked the code makes a champion reign supreme. Floyd Mayweather, Jr dismantled 49 fight strategies to hold on to his undefeated streak. Mike Tyson started his professional career with 37 straight victories with 33 of those ending with brain-scattering knockouts; Tyson also held the WBC, WBA, and IBF heavyweight titles before his first loss. Muhammad Ali obtained 56 victories out of 61 fights; three of those five losses occurred in his last four bouts.
I’m not saying Vasyl can’t be the pound-for-pound king during his era, but the 29 year-old should not be placed above those continuously beating the test of time. Andre Ward is 32 and 0. Anthony Joshua has 19 knockouts in his 19 fights. Deontay Wilder is 38 and 0 with 37 fatality-style finishes. Mickey Garcia has 30 knockout wins in his undefeated 36-fight career. Tyson Fury is 25 and 0. Vasyl’s choice to remain an amateur for nearly 400 fights haunts his professional career in the big-boy leagues.
Styles not only make fights, but they also make legends. The Ali shuffle, Tyson’s death touch, Floyd’s evasiveness are all storied skills. Styles need to withstand the competition before they can be crowned superior. Boxing needs to stick to standards when determining this prized position. If not, then social media will constantly shift the ranks based on the latest highlight package; and that’s no way to bring back the integrity to the art of boxing that so many of us miss.