By Peter Wells
Lomachenko Loses Close World Title Bid Incredibly In Only 2nd Bout!
It seemed ominous that boxing history would be made last night at the Alamodome in Texas. Heavily favoured Vasyl Lomachenko – one of if not the greatest amateur of all time – looked to become a world champion in the fewest amount of fights as he challenged Orlando Salido in just his 2nd outing.
But it was not to be as Lomachenko failed to find the flow that many thought would make him a huge success without the head guard. Salido – who lost his WBO Featherweight title on the scales – won a split decision after an interesting but action-less fight.
Many including myself were sceptical about Lomachenko deserving a world title shot in only his 2nd fight on merit of his amateur pedigree. Even the exceptional Guillermo Rigondeaux – who has taken to the pro game like a duck to water – had to wait till fight number 9 for a full world title shot. The way in which he fought for most of the 12 rounder highly suggests he wasn’t quite ready for the challenge in front of him.
Despite that he pushed Salido to a split decision, as his presence alone negated Orlando to an unusually slow tempo. And while 80% of the rounds were 50/50, it was Salido who would get the nod for this greater activity. Lomachenko was far too precise and didn’t use his speed of hand and foot to its greatest effect.
With Rigondeaux and Lomachenko having many similarities; it would be wise for Vasyl to take some notes on how the Cuban is so utterly dominant when exerting so little energy. While Rigo often waits for opportunities he is light on his feet and sharp with his hands when under pressure and often feints to bring his opponents to leave themselves exposed. One also can imagine that Rigo has far more spiteful power than many give him credit for. Lomachenko also seems to possess that spiteful pop in his shots.
So while Lomachenko must work on his game, so must his whole team who went about everything in the worst way possible. Sending their 1-0(1) man in with one of the most experienced world champions in boxing was mistake number one, and then add to that the tactics for the fight, which were poor to say the least. Then the fact that they were happy to allow Salido to come in overweight and then not even trying to cut down to the Featherweight limit. This resulted in Salido weighing 147lbs on fight night. Finally during the fight the corner didn’t ever seem to make referee Laurence Cole – who had a terrible night – more aware of Salido’s blows that strayed south of Lomachenko’s belt. Lomachenko’s corner should have made sure that Cole would be looking out for the veteran’s moves, but that does not take away from a poor display on Cole’s part.
The Ukrainian came to life in the final 2 rounds, and looked on the verge of an amazing stoppage in the 12th when he shook Salido to his boots. But Salido 41-12-2(28) made it to the final bell and received a split win with scores of 115-113 Lomachenko, 116-112 and 115-113 Salido.
The Main Event – Chavez Jr vs Vera
In the main event, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr put to bed his controversial win over Brian Vera with a convincing 12 round points victory.
Chavez fought from range early in the contest before walking down the smaller and less powerful Vera. In their first fight Vera was able to outwork Chavez, but this time around Chavez worked with Vera as they took turns in throwing combinations, Chavez’s having more zip in them.
Vera was shaken on more than a few occasions but the tough Texan just smiled through the punches and carried on where he left off.
Chavez will know this performance was much needed after previous concerns about his dedication to the sport, the scorecards read 117-110(twice) and 114-113 all for Chavez 48-1-1(32). Vera fell to 23-8(14).
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