How Vasyl Lomachenko makes fighters quit

Justin Faux Columnist

By Justin Faux, Justin Faux is a Roar Expert

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    Vasyl Lomachenko quipped that he should change his name to ‘No-Mas-Chenko’ after forcing yet another fighter to quit at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

    The once-beaten Ukrainian fighter is, of course, referring to the classic 1980 bout between ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran which saw the fearsome Duran quit mid-fight, reportedly by shouting “No Mas! No Mas!”

    Lomachenko faced fellow two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux in New York this past weekend in an appetizing champion-versus-champion bout.

    Rigondeaux, the 122-pound champion, was moving up two weight classes to chase the WBO junior lightweight crown.

    ‘Rigo’ was the most credentialed fighter Lomachenko had met as a pro, but even a blind man could see that he was no match for ‘Loma’.

    In an absolute masterclass, Lomachenko outclassed and outworked his Cuban rival, who was too old and too small to bother the third-ranked pound-for-pound fighter, according to The Ring Magazine.

    Rigondeaux never landed more than three punches in a round and wore that frustration on his face all fight.

    The 39-year-old, who had not lost since 2003 as an amateur, simply had nothing for Lomachenko – and he knew it.

    By the end of the sixth, he trailed 60-53, 59-54 and 59-54 on the judges’ scorecards when he refused to get off his stool for another round, citing a hand injury.

    “I injured the top of my left hand in the second round,” he said post-fight, eliciting a chorus of boos from the unforgiving New Yorkers.

    “He’s a very technical fighter. He’s explosive. I’m gonna come back because that’s what I do. The weight was not a factor in this fight. It was the injury to my hand.”

    Rigondeaux is now the fourth Lomachenko victim in a row to commit boxing’s cardinal sin: quit.

    Vasyl Lomachenko evades a punch

    (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

    Jamaican puncher Nicholas Walters blamed his self-enforced 11-month layoff for his poor performance against Lomachenko, later admitting “it would be stupid” to get off the stool for another round.

    Jason Sosa withstood nine frames of being played with like a cat would a mouse before his trainer threw in the towel.

    Miguel Marriaga was thoroughly dominated and knocked off his feet twice before his corner intervened, preventing their fighter from taking further damage.

    “Listen, the only thing I can say is you guys are seeing something really special,” Lomachenko’s promoter, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told the press post-fight.

    “The body of work from this kid is something that is virtually incredible. I’ve never seen anything like this. I never have. He gets these guys, he frustrates them, it looks like he’s gonna knock them out, and they quit because they can’t answer back. This is something really unique. Rigondeaux goes in with Lomachenko, and he is totally bewildered. He can’t hit him with anything.”

    Arum, as a typical promoter, usually soaks every statement in a thick coat of hyperbole but, for once, there isn’t a hint of exaggeration in that quote.

    Lomachenko doesn’t just hurt an opponent’s face with his non-stop attack of lefts and rights, he also hurts their prime and their ego, following the blueprint laid by Leonard against Duran almost four decades ago.

    In 1980, Leonard clowned the raging bull from Panama. He pandered to the crowd with the Ali shuffle. He danced away from punches. The Olympic gold medallist even poked out his chin and dared Duran to hit him.

    He couldn’t.

    Leonard didn’t beat the tar out of Duran until he quit, he clowned the most feared fighter in the world and embarrassed him in front of millions.

    Lomachenko has taken Leonard’s unforgettable performance and pushed it to another level.

    Watching Lomachenko fight, it feels like he possesses an unfair advantage, as if he’s playing the game with all the cheat codes turned on.

    Rigondeaux is a top-of-the-food-chain fighter, who was prominently featured on every respectable top ten pound-for-pound list, and he achieved almost nothing after 18 minutes in the ring with Lomachenko.

    When he loaded up with his best shots, he hit nothing but air. And before he could even think about his next action, a picture-perfect jab was pumped in his face.

    Plain and simply, it’s a demeaning experience to fight the great Lomachenko.

    When asked post-fight by Fight Hype whether he mentally or physically breaks opponents, the 29-year-old prodigy smiled and said “both.” It’s hard to disagree with that.

    Justin Faux
    Justin Faux

    Justin Faux is a seasoned combat sports scribe. Covering mixed martial arts and boxing since 2007, Justin has been published on NineMSN Australia, Fox Sports, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and dozens of other outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @justinfauxmma.

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    The Crowd Says (3)

    • Roar Guru

      December 12th 2017 @ 11:40am
      BigJ said | December 12th 2017 @ 11:40am | ! Report

      Hey Justin, How are you mate? Are you going to do an article on Horn’s fight tomorrow night? Also I have read that Mundine is taking on Tommy Browne next month for a top ten WBO Middleweight ranking and wants to go after Billy Joe Saunders for his WBO title, any thoughts?

    • Columnist

      December 12th 2017 @ 3:22pm
      Justin Faux said | December 12th 2017 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

      Thanks for the read, mate.

      Horn-Corcoran piece will drop tomorrow 🙂

      As for Mundine. It will be tough for him to lure someone like Billy Joe Saunders to fight in Australia. He is not an international star and BJS wants to chase a payday against the GGG-Canelo winner if he beats Lemieux.

      If he loses, maybe he could get that fight. But if he wins, I say there’s no chance.

      If I’m laying bets, Choc fights Horn, Green (or both) before calling it quits.

      • Roar Guru

        December 14th 2017 @ 6:31am
        Bones506 said | December 14th 2017 @ 6:31am | ! Report

        I am an Aussie that has lived in New York for the last 3 years.

        I am a big boxing/UFC/BJJ fan that fortunately gets to go to a lot of these events.

        Mundine is a COMPLETE UNKNOWN in the USA. He is never talked about or mentioned. The likes of Loma and GG have only just started to really gain solid followings as they are not American or Mexican. Mundine talks about these big names but they are not talking about him.

        To be a known name you need to be living and constantly fighting in the USA.

        Horn got a small amount of coverage over the Pacman fight but zero news on his solid win last night.

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