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Vasyl Lomachenko is the TSS Fighter of the Year

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  • Vasyl Lomachenko is the TSS Fighter of the Year

    Click image for larger version  Name:	DP0RoPnUIAAuEGW-1024x1024.jpg Views:	1 Size:	74.8 KB ID:	5549

    BY BERNARD FERNANDEZ

    Forget, at least for a moment, all those comparisons to Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali. As far as the 2017 boxing awards season is concerned, Vasyl “High-Tech” Lomachenko would rather channel his inner Marlon Brando, George C. Scott and, for those really familiar with United States history, William Tecumseh Sherman.

    Widely hailed as a strong candidate for 2017 Fighter of the Year by various boxing entities after his ridiculously easy conquest of the previously undefeated Guillermo Rigondeaux, who did not come out for the seventh- round on Dec. 9 – the fourth straight Loma opponent to quit on his stool, which has to be some kind of record – the Ukrainian southpaw with marvelous skills and machine-like efficiency was asked if he now considered himself the favorite to sweep all the FOY awards. His response must have seemed startling to those familiar with the relentless quest of egocentric athletes and actors to validate themselves with official acknowledgments of their finest performances.

    “So what?” said Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) after he retained his WBO super featherweight championship before a sellout crowd at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. “Not three big wins (a reference to his other two make-’em-quit victories in 2017, over Jason Sosa and Miguel Marriaga). “It’s not my weight, not my size. (Rigondeaux was coming up from the 122-pound weight class.) It’s not big for me. Maybe it’s big for people who love boxing, but not for me.”

    It was a kind-of disavowal that called to mind Brando and Scott, who claimed they didn’t want Best Actor Oscars but won them anyway, and Gen. Sherman, the Civil War’s torcher of Atlanta, who in 1884, when considered a possible Republican candidate for the presidency, said, “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”

    Contrast that with the statement from the man widely considered to be Lomachenko’s chief competition for FOY honors, undisputed junior welterweight titlist Terence Crawford, who attended the Loma-Rigo bout and, when asked the same question said, “It’s already won. I won it already. Why wouldn’t I have?”

    Like Brando and Scott, who won their Academy Awards despite their protestations, the 29-year-old Lomachenko’s big year – but not one as significant as those he envisions for himself going forward – did not dissuade The Sweet Science electorate, which nonetheless has named him, deservedly so, its Fighter of the Year. But don’t think for a minute that Loma, whose enormous self-confidence is somewhat masked by the lack of an external sheen of bravado and braggadocio, isn’t thinking about his place in ring history. It’s just that, well, he wants more – much more – than recognition in a particular calendar year. He is peering far into the future to a larger, more lasting goal, of a sort that he hopes will eventually move him past such accomplished and boastful practitioners of the pugilistic arts as the forever-sweet Robinson, Ali (the G.O.A.T., for “Greatest of All time”) and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (“TBE,” for “The Best Ever”).

    Like Sinatra sang, he wants to be king of the hill, A-No. 1, a master of his craft so accomplished that his claim to be best of the best can hardly be challenged.

    “History. If, in 10 years, or 20 or 30 years, you sit down with your friends and talk about boxing, you need to remember my name,” Lomachenko told writer Mark Kriegel. It is a wish destined to become reality, if all the superfights Loma and his promoter, Bob Arum, can be procured and end in the expected manner.

    But that is something that must be worked out as the continuation of a grand plan conceived and orchestrated by Lomachenko’s obsessively driven father-trainer, Anatoly, who first put a pair of boxing gloves on his infant son when he was just three days old. Maybe, perhaps even probably, there will be better professional years for Lomachenko than 2017, but it still was a wondrous period to behold. So many fighters speak of how they’d rather die inside the ropes than to lose, and if they do lose they’d want to go out on their shield rather than suffer the ignominy of quitting. Loma has rendered such valorous pledges by a succession of outclassed rivals almost irrelevant.

    Rigondeaux, for instance, said he surrendered because of the pain in his left (power) hand in the second round, which eventually obliged him to call it a night. But X-rays revealed that the Cuban’s hand had not been broken but merely bruised, discrediting, at least in part, his excuse to stop fighting on. Now consider this: Lomachenko retained his WBO featherweight title on a 12-round unanimous decision over Thailand’s Suriya Tataljim on Nov. 23, 2014, in Macao, China, while fighting from the third round on with a broken (confirmed) hand.

    True excellence, in any field, is almost always the result of two components – natural talent and a preternatural work ethic. It is diminishment of the latter that often drives the highly accomplished into retirement or another line of work; tennis legend Bjorn Borg, for instance, laid down his racket at 26 because of burnout. To date, that has not been a problem for Loma, whose intense workouts call to mind such energizer bunnies as football greats Walter Payton and Jerry Rice, and whose development was shaped in no small part by unconventional means. For four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, the wild card was ballet instruction; for Loma it was training in Ukrainian folk dance, which has been instrumental in his attainment of the kind of footwork that Fred Astaire or Michael Jackson no doubt would have appreciated.

    So while Loma might not feel that 2017 was that big a deal, TSS respectfully disagrees. He is our Fighter of the Year, and it would be unwise to bet against him adding one or more such notices as fulfills a destiny that is coming together like fitted pieces in a jigsaw puzzle.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.

  • #2
    I have such a hard time with this one....beating Sosa, Marriaga moving up in weight off a loss and Rigo moving up two divisions is fighter of the year??? No other fighter would get such a pass with doing that!

    Comment


    • #3
      Love the photo, so cool.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by GlovedFist View Post
        I have such a hard time with this one....beating Sosa, Marriaga moving up in weight off a loss and Rigo moving up two divisions is fighter of the year??? No other fighter would get such a pass with doing that!
        Aww, poor baby. Deal with it. Loma rules. hahahahahahahahaha

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        • #5
          I did have Lomachenko ultimately for FOY after Melindo lost on December 31st. It was not just the opponents but how dominant Lomachenko looked in all his performances. Crawford to me was a very close second though the argument can really be made for either.

          Golokvin kind of got forgotten about in all this but he also deserved some serious consideration. The "draw" with Canelo that should have gone his way and a win against a very formidable Jacobs. And of course Joshua for his win against Klitschko and then follow up performance against Takam.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Kid Blast View Post

            Aww, poor baby. Deal with it. Loma rules. hahahahahahahahaha
            Loma rules? What is this 4th Grade?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by oubobcat View Post
              I did have Lomachenko ultimately for FOY after Melindo lost on December 31st. It was not just the opponents but how dominant Lomachenko looked in all his performances. Crawford to me was a very close second though the argument can really be made for either.

              Golokvin kind of got forgotten about in all this but he also deserved some serious consideration. The "draw" with Canelo that should have gone his way and a win against a very formidable Jacobs. And of course Joshua for his win against Klitschko and then follow up performance against Takam.
              Matt? Come on, there were two or three guys more deserving!! Marriaga off a loss....Rigo two divisions beneath him....meaning Sosa was his best win? THAT's FOTY worthy?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by GlovedFist View Post

                Matt? Come on, there were two or three guys more deserving!! Marriaga off a loss....Rigo two divisions beneath him....meaning Sosa was his best win? THAT's FOTY worthy?
                Gary Russell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by oubobcat View Post
                  I did have Lomachenko ultimately for FOY after Melindo lost on December 31st. It was not just the opponents but how dominant Lomachenko looked in all his performances. Crawford to me was a very close second though the argument can really be made for either.

                  Golokvin kind of got forgotten about in all this but he also deserved some serious consideration. The "draw" with Canelo that should have gone his way and a win against a very formidable Jacobs. And of course Joshua for his win against Klitschko and then follow up performance against Takam.
                  All good. I agree.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by GlovedFist View Post

                    Loma rules? What is this 4th Grade?
                    No but something close

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                    • #11
                      Boxing needs a new category to reflect economic success.

                      Most assses put in seats.

                      AJ wins 2017 with....drum roll please...168 thousand!

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                      • #12
                        As good as he is . . . . . .

                        There is no way Lomachenko deserves fighter of the year for the competition he faced in 2017.


                        Even Triple deserves it more.

                        Both Jacobs and Alvarez were 2 tough fights.

                        Most guys would not have taken on such a tough preliminary (as Jacobs was for Gennady Golovkin) to Saul.


                        Within the context of “fighter of the year competition faced”; it’s almost shameful to consider Rigondeaux as a worthy opponent for Loma.

                        Rigondeaux was almost 2 divisions out of his weight and hardly in active condition.

                        Sure, Loma did what he had to do; but fighting Rigo doesn’t place you in contention for fighter of the year when doing so also comes along with all those constraints/conditions.

                        The fight was effectively Top Rank payback for Rigo not doing as Arum wanted (when he was in the TR stable) and supposedly screwing them around.

                        For anyone disagreeing; going into the fight, what advantage was it that Loma didn’t have?


                        As written elsewhere in this forum, prior to fighting Loma, Marriaga lost to Valdez.

                        He then moved up a division to become an opponent (with a built in vulnerability) for Loma.

                        So, (Within the context of “fighter of the year competition faced”) that removes two thirds of Loma’s 2017 opponents.

                        As Rigo and Marriaga were cherry picked opponents for Loma; of the sort (if not worse) that - had Loma been Mayweather - Queens would be swinging from the chandeliers crying (about the cherry picking) by now.


                        Furthermore, even if we say Jason Sosa was not caught at the correct tangent of his declining career’s trajectectory curve by Top Rank’s matchmakers . . . .

                        It in no way means Loma is fighter of the year.


                        Even though, Vasyl Lomachenko is undeniably one of the better operators out there.

                        Let’s see Vasyl step up a division or two (as Rigo did for him) and see him take on Garcia or Crawford.

                        That then would get my tick of approval for a fight of his to be meaning fully considered as a fighter of the year candidate.


                        But as it is, for Vasyl Lomachenko, Rigo and Marriaga were both opponents where the outcome was a foregone conclusion.


                        Actually, Jeff Horn deserves “fighter of the year” more.

                        Not many people (me included) saw his win coming; and - save for one, maybe (at most) two rounds - Pacquaio was rendered almost completely ineffective in that fight.

                        So much so that Atlas - whom could not process the loss objectively and without embarrassment - threw the bike in the bush, pulled the panties off, and then went on to complain to world about all the sand in his mangina that resulted from the pounding he took.


                        Saunder’s dominating win was good and it elevated his fans; which is good too.

                        But (whilst I love a cocky Gypsy that can fight, the fact remains that) fighting/beating Lemieux doesn’t deserve fighter of the year; not for a guy like BJS.

                        As, (Saunders and the entire Ingle gym knew that) David simply can’t box at (contention or) championship level.

                        This is why Saunders was so confident.


                        Had he not been been by Triple prior to fighting Errol, I would have probably nominated Spence for fighter of the year.

                        He should be able to beat Crawford and Thurman, and (if not for weight/strength) he probably would give Triple a run for his money too.

                        Next year will be a big year for him if he can get the fights he needs.




                        Storm.



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                        • #13
                          Storm...I'm too ADD to read a long post...but you covered it in the first sentence......there's not a single case to be made for Lomachenko FOTY......not a one.......you detailed it great from the jumping around I did reading your post. It's a joke that anyone could say it in jest!!!

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                          • #14
                            GF . . .

                            You had better pretend to not read this long post too then.





                            Bernard is probably one of the better writers out there.

                            Well, that’s my opinion anyway.

                            With this piece he seems to have pushed aside the facts related to competition faced and employed a bit of poetic license.

                            As a result (for some) the dish runs away with the spoon; fairytale style.



                            It’s OK I guess, because. . . . . .

                            I think Loma probably “bedazzled” and/or “impressed” more writers, fans, and speculators (not spectators) in 2017, than most other boxers did.



                            However, (to borrow and change a phrase that Roger Mayweather often uses) a lot of people do not really know what they’re looking at.

                            It’s kind of like how men often see a beautiful woman at a night club and then just become stunned at gynocentricity of it all; praising and/or deifying every move she makes without regard to how intoxicated they may be.

                            What you see is not always what you get because appearances can be deceiving.



                            To make the point clearer, I’m going to use both Pacquaio and Mayweather as references in this post.



                            Even though Loma has a better pedigree and style than Manny; there are many similarities with Loma and (the early version of) Pacquaio.

                            Promotional house included.

                            Pacquaio - perhaps not with the same degree of dexterity and fluidity - used deft footwork and fast hands to move around to the sides of opponents, and baffle/hit them from that safe position, too.

                            Just like Loma does.

                            Pacquaio’s speed blew guys out and also factored into most of his wins, too.

                            Just like Lomachenko.

                            Pacquaio’s speed was arguably better than Loma’s too.

                            Pacquaio’s southpaw stance combined with his overall mobility and speed was a big component of most of his wins, too.

                            Just like Lomachenko.



                            However . . . .

                            Unlike Pacquaio, Vasyl, probably has a better repertoire of complex moves (with intricate dependencies upon ~attributes that are not always reliable) to call on.

                            As Pacquaio became quite predictable after a while.



                            For anyone doubting Storm and/or his insights . . . . . .

                            Recall; everyone can remember the received push back - a couple of years back - from claiming Floyd would beat Triple.

                            That push back was as immense as it was subjective.

                            And like Storm's prediction for Mayweather V Pacquaio, we can now see (from Canelo V Triple) just how reasonable such claims were.

                            Particularly considering how easily Floyd dominated and flogged Canelo.


                            OK, sales pitch is over . . . .



                            There are probably a handful of guys out there capable of practicing (in competition) all of the fundamental aspects of boxing.

                            Vasyl Lomachenko is definitely one of them.

                            Rigondeaux, Beterbiev, Canelo (sometimes), and a few other others also can be included on that list.



                            However, that does not mean anyone capable of practicing (in competition) all of the fundamental aspects of boxing, does not also - at the same time - make mistakes and/or have overt vulnerabilities.

                            Please note also the difference between mistakes and vulnerabilities; and what I said ~above.

                            Often, when people see fighters capable of practicing all of the fundamental aspects of boxing in competition, their vulnerabilities are overlooked.

                            And that’s because their full suite of skills “bedazzle” and/or “impress”; just like the above-mentioned pretty girl at the night club.



                            This is what happened with Pacquaio.

                            No one could be told he was vulnerable in ways that could be capitalized on.

                            Even though Pacquaio’s matchmaking and other habits told an entirely different story.



                            And, for these very reasons, I think Loma probably won fighter of the year.

                            Even though Lomachenko’s (or should I say {Pacquaio’s} Top Rank’s) matchmaking told an entirely different story.

                            The story simply became larger than the facts related to competition faced.

                            Because Vasyl’s full suite of skills “bedazzled” and/or “impressed” more writers, fans, and speculators (not spectators) in 2017, than most other boxers did.



                            Don’t get me wrong here, I think Loma is probably one of the best boxers in the sport right now.

                            I say that even though I have witnessed similarly complete skill sets previously in other boxers.

                            I deeply respect Lomachenko and consider him exceptional.



                            But, it’s because I have witnessed similarly complete skill sets previously in other boxers that I can apply a context to observations.

                            Ensuring they don’t become unnecessarily subjective.



                            So, ~above I wrote . . . .

                            Unlike Pacquaio, Vasyl, probably has a better repertoire of complex moves (with intricate dependencies upon ~attributes that are not always reliable) to call on”.



                            What does that mean?



                            Rigondeaux (when he is prime), Mayweather (retired) and perhaps a few others, are the only modern day boxers I have seen that (when in shape and the opposition/contract is reasonable) are capable of practicing (in competition) all of the fundamental aspects of boxing in both;

                            A) Competition.


                            B) A fashion that does not create observable mistakes and predictable vulnerabilities that can be easily capitalized upon.




                            Point “B” is the ~differentiator*.

                            Even though Lomachenko’s Olympic awards represent a higher achievement than Mayweather obtained and even though Vasyl’s first few pro fights were probably against better opposition than Floyd took on at the same career point too; the fact remains that Loma’s skills are still not as good as Mayweather was.

                            One quick look at (the skills on display within) their Olympic bouts and early professional career substantiates that.



                            Above I employed Pacquaio to orient this post’s claims, and here I use Mayweather as a reference point; mostly because many are familiar with and dislike Floyd.



                            The above reasons - particularly the *differentiation between the selection of rare guys out there capable of practicing (in competition) all of the fundamental aspects of boxing, and those that (are even more unique that) can do so without exhibiting predictable/observable vulnerabilities that can be easily capitalized upon - also constitute why Top Rank allowed Lomachenko to fight Rigondeaux whilst Guillermo held almost none of the many advantages available to Vasyl.

                            Had Guillermo and Vasyl both been the same weight and enjoyed the same level of recent activity, the above-mentioned *differentiation would have probably dictated a different result.



                            Even if Arum didn’t have an axe to grind with Guillermo; surely no-one here is prone to thinking Arum would risk his investment in someone with potential like Lomachencko - to a guy (equally, if not better, skilled) like Rigondeaux.



                            Still, the fact that Lomachenko beat Rigondeaux is not why I disagree with anyone claiming Vasyl deserves fighter of the year.

                            It’s more the advantages Vasyl had going into that and the other fights he had last year.



                            Sure, you can award a boxer fighter of the year because his suite of skills “bedazzles” and “impresses” more than other boxers.

                            But in my opinion I don’t know how you justify that when that same fighter “bedazzles” and “impresses” more than other boxers - but does so against competition of which the majority was questionably selected to deliver the projected outcome.

                            Rigondeaux was easily Lomachencko’s biggest (most spectacular) win last year.

                            But, (the way it was contracted with significant advantages meant) it stunk the joint out - way past Rigondeaux’s questionable reason for quitting.

                            It’s not entirely Loma’s fault either.



                            Funny thing is, even though I stand by all the above, I also believe that Vasyl is capable of winning fighter of the year legitimately.

                            But that didn’t happen in 2017.



                            Cheers,

                            Storm.







                            ​​​​​​​
                             

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I wondered where you got to, Storm.

                              Can't argue with any of that. It's a shame Rigondeaux went out like that against Lomachenko. Funny I saw a couple of odd things in Rigo, such as bending at the waist a lot, and a couple of wins from cheap/questionable blows. However, I never picked up on his possible bafflement at the hands of a fellow adept southpaw, as someone else alluded (not sure if it was F. Lotierzo?), Lomachenko's size or other advantages notwithstanding.

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