Max Warren goes mythical for Maxboxing: Floyd Mayweather vs. Vasyl Lomachenko
Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko defeated British lightweight Luke Campbell recently by unanimous decision in a bout where despite a dominant showing by Lomachenko, ended up being more difficult than anticipated for Lomachenko. He had to work hard to get inside, and took more punches than usual. Nevertheless, he continues to mesmerize fans with footwork that might be the best in all of sports. He is such a difficult fighter to time since he is constantly moving, and his punches come from unique angles. The one fighter that fans and experts think have a shot at defeating Lomachneko is Mikey Garcia, but it’s becoming increasingly less likely that the two end up fighting each other. Garcia expressed his desire to fight the big names at welterweight, creating further doubt of a prospective matchup. Just as we wish we would have seen Lomacheko vs. Garcia, a fantasy lightweight contest featuring “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather vs. Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko is a fight that spikes fans’ curiosity.
Many believe that Lomachenko’s invincibility is wearing off now that he is campaigning at lightweight, but several of Mayweather’s most difficult and enduring fights also took place at 135. “Pretty Boy’s” hardest lightweight fights were against Jose Luis Castillo and DeMarcus Corley.
Mayweather’s first fight versus Castillo is typically the one fans turn to and mention that he shouldn’t have been awarded the decision. Castillo landed more punches, landing 203 to Mayweather’s 157. Also, Castillo connected on 40% of his punches, while Mayweather had a 35% connect rate. Interestingly, HBO’s Harold Lederman scored it 115-111 for Castillo. Punchstats can tell a lot about a fight, but there are many more components than just that when it comes to scoring every individual round and tallying up the totals. For example, Keith Thurman landed more punches than Manny Pacquiao and connected at a higher rate in their July bout, but very few dispute the judges’ verdict in favor of Pacquiao. Mayweather vs. Castillo had a couple of swing rounds that could have gone either way, but the unanimous decision win for Mayweather wasn’t a robbery by any means. It was a close fight, and Mayweather collected data from the first match-up and proceeded to defeat Castillo decisively in the rematch.
Against DeMarcus Corley, Mayweather fought toe-to-toe, and they traded leather throughout their twelve-round fight. “Pretty Boy” was hurt by a big right hook in the 4th, and Corley took Mayweather to the ropes and landed a barrage of his own hooks. Later in the round, Floyd came back and hurt Corley with a right hand, and Corley almost fell to the canvas. Mayweather went on to score two knockdowns and won a wide decision in a hard-fought battle.
Vasyl Lomachenko is a master at confusing opponents, spinning them around, switching range, and using feints. These abilities contribute to a large part of his success. He flusters opponents, as some have no clue how to react to his volatile approach. His two challenging lightweight fights were against Jorge Linares and Luke Campbell. Both fighters stunned Lomachenko, and Linares was able to drop “Hi-Tech” with a counter right in the sixth. Despite it still being impressive, Lomachenko’s footwork seems to slow down just a little when the fight extends, and he’s easier to catch. He rarely gets caught with anything during the opening stages of his fights, but it’s hard to maintain constant feinting, footwork, and head movement at a consistent pace. And now at lightweight, he always has to work his way inside, which leaves him susceptible to getting hit on the way in. He is a small lightweight, and it’s difficult for a fighter to push their way inside when they aren’t as physically strong as the opponent. He has had a constant reach disadvantage in his fights so far at 135. Since Lomachenko is as talented as he is, he has been able to get inside and land punches from obscure angles well.
Now lies the question of how Mayweather and Lomachenko would fare against each other at lightweight. Just as Lomachenko earned the nickname “No-Mas-Chenko” for stopping several opponents in a row, Mayweather was also an offensive force in his own right when he fought at lightweight. Mayweather would be the physically stronger fighter in the clinches and he would possess the ability to control range with the longer reach. These are two key advantages, especially when two master technicians are squaring off.
Lomachenko’s success would depend on how well he could confuse Mayweather with the use of angles. Manny Pacquiao’s punching angles are as difficult to time as any figher’s, but Pacquiao failed many times to get inside and land his left hand against Mayweather. Mayweather would do everything in his power to prevent Lomachenko’s punching angles from giving him trouble. The lightweight version of Mayweather would smother Loma’s punches on the inside and keep the Ukrainian at bay by using well-timed jabs.
Lomachenko wants to always come forward, which is something you don’t always see from a genius technician like him. On the other hand, Mayweather lures his opponents to come forward in order to time them on their way in. Many believe that Lomachenko would give Mayweather major issues due to his high punching volume, yet that is what so many other opponents tried and failed to accomplish against Mayweather.
The mythical match-up begins as a chess match for the opening two rounds, but the fight heats up soon afterward because Lomachenko needs to throw with volume in order to win the fight. Although many believe this to be strictly a tactical match-up, the lightweight version of Mayweather went toe-to-toe on many occasions. Mayweather pot-shots Lomachenko on his way in, and goes to the body often. Lomachenko lands some nice jabs, and sneaks his left hand through Mayweather’s guard by spinning him around during the opening rounds, but the successes are too few and far between. The two fight at close range in the middle rounds, as Lomachenko needs to close the gap from earlier in the match. Mayweather is timing Lomachenko well with the jab, and he lands the left hook sharply during exchanges. At times, Lomachenko lands his right hook over Mayweather’s left shoulder and goes to the body.
The fight is competitive heading into the ninth round, but Lomachenko is forced to press, and he can’t use his lateral movement as much as he would like to. Instead, he heads straight in and it’s easier for Mayweather to set the tone with the jab. “Pretty Boy” pot shots with the right hand, and goes to the body when Lomachenko sneaks into range. In rounds 11 and 12, Lomachenko settles down again and reverts back to what makes him most successful, which is the lateral movement. Mayweather can’t time Lomachenko as easily in the 11th, and Lomachenko lands a few nice straight lefts that earn him the round. Going into the 12th, Lomachenko might need a knockdown to win the fight, but he chooses to not go all in, electing to fight more strategically. The 12th round is a toss up. Mayweather isn’t trying to take many risks, and Lomachenko doesn’t punch at a high volume since he and his corner believe the fight may be close enough. Lomachenko lands to the body nicely and utilizes the jab, and Mayweather connects on a few quality check left hooks over Lomachenko’s jab.
Mayweather wins a unanimous decision, with the judges scoring the bout 115-113, 116-112, and 117-111 in favor of “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather. Loma’s footwork wasn’t as quick through the later rounds, and Mayweather’s excellent timing and precision prove to be a key factor in earning the victory. Floyd Mayweather’s advantages in strength and reach are too much to handle.