By Allan Cerf
April 8, at the Theater at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, televised on HBO World Championship Boxing, it’s Vasyl “High-Tech” Lomachenko vs. Jason, “El Canito” Sosa.
Background: Vasyl Lomachenko is a fighter so ridiculously skilled that folks who don’t normally take note- say my Father, would be inclined to give the Ukrainian his ‘wow’ props if he tuned in. Loma defeats speed, he defeats athleticism, he defeats power and he defeats movement. His boxing IQ is Einstein level and he’s tough as a Kiev winter with the requisite mean streak.
Jason Sosa left pizza-making and turned all-round athleticism into considerable success in the world’s toughest sport. However, he started boxing at 20 and states he’s still learning.
We in the USA used to insist on the “best vs. the best.”
Today, the world is fine with mismatches. Lomachenko certainly feels that any man with 2 hands has a shot and will train accordingly. There is zero chance that a fighter with 396 amateur wins and an incredible professional career (his BS loss is a scar on the sport) will overlook Sosa.
Scorecards: (Speed, Power, Defense, Reach, Age, Stamina, Experience)
Vasyl Lomachenko: A, B+ A, B B+, A, A (Average of all) A-
Jason Sosa: C, B-, C, B, B, B, C (Average of all) C+
Reality Check: It’s high-time this writer face reality - boxing, a primeval test, is now a mirror of our world: controlled by the politics of money, informed by fake news. Where “Shoot for the Stars” is replaced by “Reach in and Grab.”
However, unlike the Kardashians, in boxing, talent remains. Blows still hurt and virtuosos like Lomachenko exist. There is a price for failure - and even though losing boxers - today REFUSE to lose (“in my mind I’m a winner”) the truth is (usually) there for all to see.
Sosa has decent power, fair side-to-side movement, but below-average speed. The question: will Loma seek and destroy, or simply box his head off? With the greatest respect, this isn’t even Trump vs. Hilary odds. Barring lightning or injury, Jason has no chance.
Personal: Both fighters are gentlemen and family men. Lomachenko was apparently chased relentlessly by babes from the old Soviet Block before settling down.
Fight and prediction: In the 70’s, when Ali fought Foreman, we who couldn’t drive downtown for the closed-circuit broadcast, huddled around a radio for 30 second ‘recreations’ of rounds. Gut-wrenching; we could only pray Ali wasn’t dead, much less defeated. The whole family almost passed out in relief when Muhammad won. The pity is that Lomachenko is in that rare universe of extraordinary talent - but without appropriate opponents, whereas great fighters once took on and received, every challenge. No, Dad WON’T tune in because the result is virtually known in advance.
With the greatest respect to Sosa, a former high school ‘jock,’ excellent at every sport and with considerable power - will be dazzled by Lomachenko and stopped in round nine.