Lomachenko – The ‘Matrix’ reloaded

After dropping to Teofimo Lopez, there have been allegations that the judges and the boxing world had been towards him. Now the mud has settled, Lomachenko is concentrating solely on restoring his fame, writes Thomas Gerbasi

WASILIY LOMACHENKO does not converse. No less than not for everybody within the run-up to his Saturday assembly with Masayoshi Nakatani in Las Vegas. It is a comeback battle for the previous three-division belt provider and that is two phrases – comeback and earlier – many believed they’d by no means be related to the Ukrainian champion boxer within the years after his first profession loss to Orlando develop into Salido in 2014.

That was the second battle in Lomachenko’s skilled boxing profession, and from then till the evening of October 17, 2020 it was about wins, title fights and a outstanding place on the pound-for-pound listing.

Then got here Teofimo Lopez, and after two years chasing Loma and his belts, he hit the bull’s eye and gained a unanimous choice that made him the world light-weight champion. As for Lomachenko, the aura of invincibility that had developed round him within the years following the Salido battle has been destroyed.

As well as, questions popped up, questioning if Lomachenko was nearly as good as we had all assumed. Positive, it was referred to as “The Matrix”, however was all of it a mirage? No, this might not be; We had the video to show it, together with wins over Roman Martinez, Nicholas Walters, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Jorge Linares and Anthony Crolla, which reminded us of why boxing was referred to as “The Candy Science”.

However in Las Vegas towards the undefeated Lopez, Lomachenko wasn’t simply human; he seemed like a fighter who did not wish to be within the ring that evening, and a few would say he wasn’t there, at the very least not within the first half of the battle when he barely made a punch when Lopez constructed a giant lead.

By the point he determined to run a run on the New Yorker it was too late and the judges returned 116-112, 117-111, and 119-109 in Lopez’s favor. It was a judgment that didn’t go down nicely with the native Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi.

“I mentioned I would not be able to touch upon the battle with out seeing it first,” Lomachenko mentioned on December 18 on his personal social media. “And I mentioned I assumed I did not lose the battle. And I can repeat it right now. I did not lose the battle. “

Few agreed with this evaluation, though some believed that Lomachenko may need drawn a draw if he had acquired a constructive score in shut rounds. Even in response to his personal account, former champion Kobelkov declared his rating on the battle after seeing it.

“His win displays the bias towards myself,” mentioned Lomachenko. “If we had been to strictly depend the scores in response to the guide, the scorecard could be completely different. I took one spherical for the primary half of the battle and 5 rounds for the second, rounds seven by way of 11. Now we have six to 6, which is a tie. And if it is a tie, we apply the unstated rule of boxing. We’re rounds 10-12 and I’ve gained two of them. It is 2: 1. Even when I gained three rounds within the first half of the battle, I would not win the battle on the scorecards. What does it say It isn’t about bias, it is about being bribed. There was nothing about sincere judgment. “

5 days later, Lomachenko went again on these inflammatory feedback and advised Joe Santoliquito of The Ring, “I did not say the judges had been bribed, I mentioned they weren’t goal and biased, they weren’t goal in my private opinion. After seeing the scorecards, I knew the judges had been towards me. “

That fireplace, which was extinguished, nonetheless did not cowl Lomachenko’s insistence that his efficiency was largely attributable to a shoulder harm he did not reveal earlier than the battle, and which made him arise regardless of his father (and coach) Anatoly insistence that he pull himself out withdraws from the battle. “If I had postponed the battle, it could not have been identified when the following one would happen,” he mentioned of the battle that was fought in Las Vegas within the prime “Bubble” rating because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “And if it ever occurred.”

“I counsel everybody to see it from my standpoint,” defined Lomachenko. “Are you able to imagine that you’ve this opportunity? And the prospect is right now. You don’t have any concept what is going to occur on the earth tomorrow. What if the pandemic worsens and every part is closed for the following yr or two? No one is aware of what is going to occur subsequent. In addition to, an excessive amount of is at stake. An excessive amount of has been mentioned on his half. The MRI did not present a serious drawback; it confirmed bursitis. It is extremely frequent. I made injections to deal with bursitis but it surely did not assist. My father mentioned I ought to postpone the battle. However I believed that every part could be nice. “

It wasn’t, however a disappointing outcome may have turned Lomachenko into a possibility to come back again stronger and compensate in a rematch with Lopez and construct his fan base whereas they get on board for his return. As an alternative, the loss become a bitter grape case, portraying him as a sore loser at greatest and a insanity at worst.

Lomachenko had surgical procedure on his labrum after the battle and he withdrew his declarations of corruption, however as a substitute of explaining that his loss had causes somewhat than excuses, he largely went offline.

There was the interview late final yr, a number of remoted conversations with reporters right here and there since then, however even after the Nakatani battle was introduced, he was fairly calm and apparently selected to let his fame do the speaking for the battle and his efficiency . “I do interviews with individuals who perceive boxing and individuals who wouldn’t mutilate my phrases,” Lomachenko mentioned final December, feeling evident from followers and media that Lopez and his at all times quotable father Teofimo Snr.

As for “The Takeover,” he seems to have moved away from the person he was following with an obsessive depth. A battle with George Kambosos Jnr. was postponed for August, and after that he talked about switching to 140 kilos to search out one other set of belts. Whereas Lopez holds out a bit longer at 135 kilos or switches forwards and backwards between weight courses, the horny headline is about Lopez being 1 / 4 of a brand new 4 Kings sequence together with Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia.

No speak of Loma wanting a rematch with Lopez however not essentially anticipating one.

“You understand he cannot battle me,” Lomachenko advised Kobelkov. “He made it to the highest. He obtained fortunate. He does not wish to battle me as a result of he will lose his belt. They’re going to do trash speak, they will make circumstances. And in spite of everything, they will not battle. “

However Lomachenko will hold combating, Lopez or no Lopez. At 33, he is younger sufficient on paper so as to add extra titles to his résumé and have huge fights, however after his ultimate battle he’ll need to show himself towards Japanese Nakatani, whose solely professional loss is the present light-weight champion. Nakatani gave Lopez some issues of their battle at instances, and at 5ft 11½ to Lomachenko’s 5ft 7 he was capable of give the Ukrainian a troublesome strive too. And Lomachenko does not want a tough do this weekend. He wants the type of battle that can deliver him again to the Victory Column in order that battle followers aren’t speaking about what occurred final October, however what is going to occur this October.

What will not occur is Lopez-Lomachenko II or a swap again to 130 kilos or 140. These are just about certainties as Lopez will not be out there when he fights in August and Lomachenko is not sufficiently big to be tremendous mild . As for the return to tremendous featherweight, it is extra a matter of stubbornness.

“I will not come again to 50 kilos till I am finished right here,” mentioned Lomachenko final December, decided to recapture his light-weight titles. Perhaps it will likely be Lopez, possibly Haney, or possibly another person will step in and develop into champions when the titles are vacated. Regardless of the case, Lomachenko plans to be there, regain his crown and regain his standing as one of many elite in boxing.

If he completes his mission, he actually will not have something extra to speak about as a result of I believe that is what children name a microphone case lately.

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