Tag Archives: Vasyl Lomachenko

When Boxing Goes Rogue~Amateur vs Professional

Now, this starts off somewhat confusing as befits the way pro and amateur boxing organizes itself. The “International Boxing Association” was formerly organized as “Internationale de Boxe Amateur” before changing their name, yet still colloquially referred to as the AIBA. Such are responsible for developing and sanctioning international amateur “Olympic style” boxing that funnels like clockwork every 4 years into the Olympic games.

In an horrendously bad hair day at their office, the AIBA recently decided in their collective idiocy to allow pro boxers to compete in the Olympics with amateurs. Fortunately the decision won’t much impact the 2016 Olympics being held in Rio de Janeiro this year because of the tardiness of the announcement. Boxers need to go through qualifiers, most of which have pretty much been completed by now. Of course the International community invading Rio will still have to deal with the mosquito borne Zika virus that has become the latest tabloid epidemic scare of the year, not to mention that many aquatic events are being held in natural waters that are barely fit to flush these days. Oh, and conveniently the gangs that the Brazilians displaced to scrub up the area so as to look civilized, well, they’re no dummies. The gangs have been laying low just waiting for new opportunities to pounce on the hordes of besotted and unaware travelers, so thus the murder rate has been slowly amping up in what is likely paybacks for the recent population displacements or turf wars over who gets the choicest area to terrorize and loot.

Oh the irony of the American ABC and the British BBB of C pro boxing overseers speaking out against the inherent unfairness of turning highly experienced pros lose on amateurs, many of whom are just teens. Pro boxing has it’s own poor history in providing safe, fairly officiated boxing for the combatants as we shall see later.

However, in this case they happen to be correct, but since the issue is not within their jurisdiction, perhaps they can get to work on their own horribly run messes. They talk a good game, but to often don’t deliver. If they were boxers, they’d be the proverbial “looks like Tarzan and punches like Jane” types.

Gonna say it like many of us have known for many years now, The Olympics have outlived their usefulness. Few of the athletes can be considered amateurs anyway except by a maddening maze of various technical regulations written up by lawyers for lawyers like most laws. The International Olympic Committee that founded the “modern” games in 1894 may have had all the best intentions, but these positions soon became political appointees of the rich and powerful nations with all their associated ills. It’s a huge, dirty construction industry empowered by eminent domain that creates population and infrastructural upheavals followed by a gargantuan tourist spike to further paralyze the hosting community. International Cities “compete” against each other for what boils down to promotional “Look at me” bragging rights. By modern press reports, the overseers are constantly involved in bribery and kickback schemes that sweeten whatever decision they make, which sure ain’t amateur, but rather pro crookery at it’s finest.

When the games end, the community often find themselves considerably poorer and filled with many specialized structures needing maintenance that serve few community needs, yet take up space that they used to be able to use. Terrible upheavals can follow as in Yugoslavia and Greece, countries not stable enough to withstand all the gargantuan pressure and backlash these games bring.  Enough big shots make plenty of money setting up these Olympic games that keeps their operation going, so take a deep breath and hold your nose, here we go again. Too few really care to actually clean up boxing, enough that might return it to a brief golden period as the most noble sport.

We already saw what happened when legendary amateur, Vasyl Lomachenko, unranked at the time with a 1-0 pro record, fought a longtime contender and champ under pro sanctioning, Orlando Salido, 41-12-2, ranked #2 by Ring at the time. The bauble was the WBO featherweight title, and one of the sorriest referees operating today, Laurence Cole, with a dirty assist by Salido, they surely did a bangup job of turning pro boxing into a farcical disgrace.  Pro boxing is utterly shameless in how it stages their little charades anytime they have a mind to. Salido kicked every thing off by not bothering to come close to the 126 lb limit weight, all the better to set him up for his massive rehydration weight gain, reportedly over 140 lbs If those weren’t enough advantages for him, he fought one of the dirtiest fights I’ve ever seen with every other punch being either a low blow, rabbit punch, hitting on the break, head butting, all allowed by Cole with scarcely a warning, and all designed not to allow this “rank amateur” to embarrass pro boxing by winning to set new boxing records for the earliest fighter to win a title. Most every pro fighter today would have either collapsed in a heap taking that kind of punishment, or responded in kind to create an anarchy in the ring that even dirty refs like Cole hate to see. Lomachenko didn’t seem to have a corner willing to object, so he quietly soaked the fouls up as he continued to blast Salido with crisp, straight shots that resembled paint strokes of a great artist they were so masterfully delivered, and guess who was holding on by the end for dear life? The cheat Orlando had finally met his match, but wait, we ain’t done tromping through the sewage of this fight yet. Incredibly Salido was given the split decision win thanks to more skulduggery by two of the three judges.

All expressly staged to protect pro boxing from being humiliated by a rank amateur, just pitiful, but oh so typical of pro boxing.

Salido jumping in with a nifty headbutt and low blow combo…only in boxing…

 

Lomachenko ended up tying the fastest record to win the WBO featherweight title in his 3rd bout with a win over Gary Russell, Jr.. He defended it thrice before moving up to challenge current WBO junior lightweight champ Román Martínez this Saturday, June 11th at Madison Square Garden on Puerto Rico Day festivities. The Puerto Rican native Martinez, 29-2-3, 17 KOs, is a very experienced and rugged type of fighter, not to mention a lot cleaner than Salido. Gonna be a tough battle to wrest the title, but if Lomachenko pulls it off, he’ll set the record for the fastest to a 2nd title, this being his 7th pro bout.

In that modern vein of a natural animosity that Amateur and Pro boxing have for each, the amateurs will surely get their revenge in the Olympics. Most of the lesser pros will be sent packing in Rio de Janeiro thanks to dirty amateur officiating, but still, what can be next, women fighting men? The transgendered fighting men and women, or worse, little kids? There is no limit in how much lower boxing could further sink until some greater moral and organizing oversight emerges from the ranks, probably an outsider because the gene pool inside the boxing community is closer to den of thieves than that of great leaders…only in boxing.

 

And Here’s Jhonny~~Gonzalez vs Gary Russell Jr

This bout is potentially an excellent match up and definitely must see from at least a technical viewpoint as Jhonny Gonzalez gloves it up against Gary Russell Jr for Jhonny’s WBC feather belt.

Some Jhonny Medicine

Some Jhonny Medicine

Russell as quick as they come in foot/hand/reflexes, but well down on high level experience that Gonzo has been waging almost from his rough inception into Mexican boxing, now bilingual in Vegas as well as many other ports of call over these many years. I cringe over the potential judging and referee outrages since Russell is a long time protected/padded out Al Haymon fighter. The best fighter Russell ever faced he scarcely showed up for, losing comprehensively to basically an amateur with only 2 pro fights, Vasyl Lomachenko. Gonzo’s one of the few still with Golden Boy as far as I know, so it remains to be seen how much influence Golden Boy has on officiating if Russell is able to run his way to a decision. I understand the judges are supposed to be moving to hand held smarty type tablets which make it easier to offer up horrible decisions as they are used to. Whether that is for this fight or later remains to be seen.

One thing is always certain, Jhonny Gonzalez remains one of the most exciting fighters in boxing, so there it is, April 28th at Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas for any interested…

 

Amateur Legend Vasyl Lomachenko Fights 2nd WBO Challenge vs Gary Russell Jr

Ukrainian amateur legend Vasyl Lomachenko battles American Gary Russell Jr for the vacant WBO Featherweight belt at the Stubbhub Center in Carson, California Saturday, June 21st. This is the 2nd consecutive such WBO challenge for Lomachenko who lost his first challenge by split decision against the shamelessly fouling and grossly overweight beltholder Orlando Salido only a few months before.

This will be only Lomachenko’s 3rd pro fight, his official record being 1-1, 1 KO, yet somehow Boxrec’s incomprehensible rankings system pegs him at 19th best featherweight compared to 5 year pro Russell’s 24-0, 14 KO ranking of 28th. Never mind that they probably got it right, how on God’s green earth did they ever come up with the mathematical equations to luck into that result without tweaking the system? Well, it happens that Russell’s last opponent currently only has a rating of 300+ with precious few of his other TBA opponents rated much better, so there you go. This will be a huge step up in class for him, yet for Lomachenko it will be a step down after he beat up and otherwise made the powerful Orlando Salido very uncomfortable in their battle. Salido was also quite fortunate to last the distance thanks to his proven chin and experience, something that Russell will likely wish for the first time he gets hit clean by Lomachenko.

This fight action is likely the physical reversal of the recent Ruslan Provodnikov/Chris Algieri fight and controversial result. Russell is a very short fighter, only listed at 5-4 and probably shorter, and incredibly his reach considerably shorter than that. Lomachenko is listed in the 5-7 range and will be the more powerful hunter looking to track down the fast retreating Russel who has shown no evidence any power at the elite level because he never fought at that level. As such matches go, too often the lessor “home” fighter cops the decision and most assuredly Lomachenko is the threatening outsider that “boxing” abhors. Fortunately for now he has Top Rank on his side, but unfortunately this is a Golden Boy card in California, the fight coming about only because of WBO orders that left opportunities that neither party could turn down.

Lomachenko is likely be the betting favorite, but if it goes the distance with Russell taking a very controversial decision, well, it’s gonna be another mess boxing created for itself. Of course if Russell turns out to be brilliant, most fans will warm to him, but he needs to improve in leaps and bounds over his previous efforts for that to happen. He’s never been tested and what a shame a fighter with a 1-1 record will be the one to test the ever livin’ hell out of him.

It’s a more interesting fight because of the boxing politics than it will be in the ring, not that it couldn’t turn out to be a ring classic. Gotta fight first for that to happen, so let it be…

 

 

 

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr vs Brian Vera~Rematch in the Alamodome

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr was the favorite posterboy of former WBC Honcho For Life Jose Suleiman, R.I.P. He is also the favorite target of wrathful fans still furious over him being named after his legendary father, but now Junior looks to right his wrongs of his last bout against former Contender star Brian Vera with their rematch in the San Antone Alamodome on the first day of March 2014.

The First Time Around...

The First Time Around…

Junior was coming off a long suspension for marijuana use, way longer and infinitely more expensive than that handed down by the derided NSAC who slapped Floyd Mayweather promoted Mickey Bey with a bare 3 month suspension/$1000 fine after testing 30x over allowable “normal” testosterone levels. There’s no use in looking for justice in Nevada whose honchos were also quoted as saying they would no long rubber stamp fights after emasculated howls of Mayweather fans shook up Nevada big shots over the Saul Alvarez results.

So out with the old Nevada honchos and in with the new Nevada honchos with fresh, shiny faces and redesigned teflon rubberstamps.

Junior was so overweight in his return from suspension that the Vera fight was hopelessly lost unless Vera allowed enough leeway for Junior to squeeze in at 172.5 lbs. The usual flood of vitriol followed even before his disputed win, the public outrage being such that the Vera rematch was the best lucrative option as Top Rank struggled with what division the ever growing Junior will end up in.

Junior was also heavily disparaged during the most acclaimed moment of his career when he nearly pulled off a stunning knockout of reigning middleweight champ Sergio Martinez as time was running out. A chip off his ol’man’s block he looked as he damn near reprised the storied Meldrick Taylor knockout in a bout of legend that still gets folks grills broiling over the officiating “controversy.”

It just so happens that San Antone is a great place for an all action mano a mano fight that the rematch guarantees to be. Junior “promises” to be better prepared at the reported 168 lb contract weight, still well over Vera’s optimum weight, but  the Texas born and bred Vera must be feeling good about the rematch which is netting him a large purse and more recognition than he’s had in his solid career thus far. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the WBC add a bauble for them to scrap over, like an Interim Diamond Doodle Belt or an Inaugaral Platinum Poodle Belt, whatever fecundity they can come up with to tickle the WBC coffers.

As such this will be a moment of truth for both fighters. Vera needs to put on another good showing that might well land him a middleweight title shot down the road since I can’t see him really contesting against top super middleweights. Junior’s future is more uncertain in that he can no longer squeeze into the middleweight division and may well have problems making 168 lbs. He has so overgrown his natural big fight rivals, Saul Alvarez and Sergio Martinez, that the WBC went and rated him as mandatory to aging WBC 168 lb champion Sika Biko, a fight Junior could well win if he shows he can squeeze under the 168 lb trip wire. Andre Ward and Carl Froch have been making noises about easy money fights against him, but I doubt his sugar daddy Bob Arum would sacrifice him just yet when Junior could possibly have a successful run of WBC super middleweight title fights against the usual suspects.

The undercard features a fascinating bout for the simon purist guaranteed to be a grave insult to other ranked fighters and boxing critics. The highly acclaimed two time Olympic Gold Medalist southpaw Vasyl Lomachenko with a 396-1 amateur record that is likely the best in history, he challenges current WBO feather champ Orlando Salido, 40-12-2, 28 KO. The just turned 26 year old Lomachenko has only a single recognized pro fight against journeyman Jose Ramirez, a dubious bout that looked like a weak set up for the WBO International featherweight bauble  that Ramirez had only won the fight before. Salido may have some heavy use miles at 33 yrs of age and 358 rounds of war, but he’s still as hard a fighter as can be found in boxing who utterly destroyed the much touted P4P Puerto Rican phenom Juan Manuel Lopez, blasting him out twice for good measure. Poor Lopez has yet to recover his form.

Why the sudden push of Lomachenko to a title is likely to be found in the money HBO will be offering for the spectacle they expect to make out of it. I have nothing good to say about the bout given the shaky circumstances of Lomachenko’s first fight, but he’s the latest promotional darling and money fighter so look for the ref and the judges to give him all the breaks as they nickle and dime Salido in the ring and on the cards. I waive any further comments until I have a chance to review the fight for “relevancy,” but if waged legitimately and Lomachenko indeed turns out to be “the one,” well of course it would be good for boxing. Unfortunately more promoters will be looking to bum rush willing novice fighters into the limelight of a title as the panic over the impending retirement of aging PPV stars with nobody to replace them spreads.

Perhaps with near 400 amateur ama bouts plus a reported half dozen fights under the auspices of the AIBA organized World Series of Boxing that he won, Lomachenko may not be boxing’s virginal, fresh faced cherub, but the step up in conditioning alone is huge at the championship pro level not to mention the power and variety of punches and stratagies used.

We’ll see soon enough what the refs, judges, and antisocial media ninnies have to say about this promotion which seems almost guaranteed to kick off the year in controversy.

167.5 lbs X 2

167.5 lbs X 2

Lomachenko 125.25~Salido 128.25 loses title on the scales

Lomachenko 125.25~Salido 128.25 loses title on the scales