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Vasyl Lomachenko: Boxing's Unicorn
Did You See That?
Vasyl Lomachenko is a made for "TiVo" fighter and a darling of DVR cable box owners everywhere. He has so many 'rewind that' moments in the ring, it makes it worth the extra fee. Now, I'm no Howard Cossell, but I've watched enough boxing at all weights, to where I can safely say that I've seen him do things in the ring that are unprecedented. It sounds comical, but at times it seems that he breaks the space-time continuum (normal human beings don't move like that). The nickname "High-Tech" is fitting because nothing about Lomachenko's skill-set is primitive. He's such a tough code to crack, that the last four of his opponents just simply gave up. When reminded of this during his latest post fight interview, Vasyl responded,"I should change my name to No-Mas-chenko." This of course in reference to the infamous words uttered by Roberto Duran when he fought Sugar Ray Leonard for a second time. In this particular fight, he was so humiliated and frustrated by his opponent that he wanted "no more". The same can be said for "High-Tech's" recent opposition.
Lomachenko's meteoric rise to the top of the professional ranks comes as no surprise to those that followed his amateur career, even from afar. His astounding record of 396-1 with two captured gold medals, puts him in the conversation for "greatest amateur of all-time". Matchmakers were sure of what they had in the skilled Ukrainian and decided to make history by letting him fight for a world title in his very first bout! Lomachenko was expected to do great things but there's a world of difference between the amateur and pro ranks and some questioned whether or not his amateur point-fighting style may affect how judges score and fans react. As it turned out, the transition to the next level was seamless, and he currently sits at number two, on the majority of pound for pound lists (after only eleven fights).
It's not only his stance that's unorthodox, it's also his approach to the sport. From doing brain teasers, playing Jenga, or striking a tennis ball tethered to a baseball cap for timing; if it's out of the ordinary and will help him prepare, Vasyl will try almost anything. He's not your average pug which is a big reason why his celebrity's on the rise. The fact that he pursued this life is puzzling to many as well, because he doesn't come from a poor background that forced him to fight--to provide. This is the impetus for which a majority of fighters lace up gloves. Clearly, he fights because he enjoys it. If you ever watch him train and fight, there's a certain fun and excitement he exhibits that's palpable. Rare do you see boxers that are almost gleeful in their approach to such a serious and brutal sport. This is why his cache and popularity will increase in due time, because perfection is hard to ignore, and he's the closest thing to a perfect fighter I've ever seen.
What Makes Him So Special?
What makes him so special is that he has no holes in his game. The majority of fighters have either an Achilles heel or an eventual opponent who can out-strategize them. Lomanchenko has neither. You may as well give up on outsmarting a guy who's had 397 fights as an amateur losing only one. That extensive amateur background gives Lomachenko the edge in ring generalship, every time. As far as an Achilles Heel? I can't think of any. He has hand and foot speed, impeccable timing, impenetrable defense, endless stamina, and good finishing ability. The most intriguing part of the Ukrainian boxer's set of skills, however, is his innate ability to get out of dodge by mere millimeters. His cat-like reflexes allow him to move in and out, landing shot after shot whilst avoiding any return fire. Combine that with the training methods he employs and the dedication and passion he has for boxing, and you're left with one of the more complete packages in the sports recent memory.
The sky's the limit for "High-Tech" and I'm watching his career closely. His career has thus far been a father/son joint venture and if it stays that way I predict more of the same winning results. They've already discovered the ingredients to a championship formula, and why change anything at all? Even if you find the sport of boxing appalling I would implore you to watch Vasyl Lomachenko do his thing. It's akin to a great piece of art, literature, or music. A maestro conducting an orchestra...in complete control. A Michelin Star chef prepare a meal...with exact perfection. I'm usually not one for hyperbole, but in the case of Vasyl Lomachenko?...I only speak the truth.