LOMA LOWDOWN: Post-Win Chatter, Quitting the Job, Rigo, & More

He made a very good fighter look very ordinary and pushed that boxer off the edge mentally, made him surrender, and risk shaming and a stain on his rep rather than getting off the stool to face inevitable guillotining.


Vasyl Lomachenko implanted himself on more of the top pound for pound lists Saturday night in Las Vegas.  He snagged himself a bevy of new rooters on HBO, who saw him use a combination melding of footwork and hands-throwing which has old timers reaching back to the 1950s to find analogous talent.

The way 130 pound ace Loma took out Nicholas Walters was, arguably, maybe too efficient. Like a Floyd Mayweather and other superlative talents who fight in a smart-cautious fashion, the Ukrainian Loma against Walters made it look too easy. It diminished a level of drama which people seeking pugilistic entertainment crave. It can look like sparring when Floyd or Loma are dialed in, appearing pretty unhittable, unhurtable, landing just about anything at will. The talent gap looks so wide and thus, in absence of the drama provided by the collision of two talents with comparable assets, one is left to marvel at one man’s skill set.  He paints a solo masterpiece, making his foe a non sentient canvas, just an instrument to reflect the brilliance.

Walters for sure left the Las Vegas ring tarred with a broad brush. He quit, refusing to come out for round eight in a bout he was not winning but was not getting destroyed in.  For sure, momentum was building against the Jamaican. Most all who watched this Top Rank promotion had the sense that Loma in round seven had stepped it up, decided to press the pedal to the floor, accelerate his build to vanquishment.  In the ring after the decision to capitulate, Walters’ face was not excessively marked or swollen, and told Max Kellerman he’d been hurt in round seven, knew there’d be more of that in the eighth, and knew because he’d been off almost a year that his rusty tool belt couldn’t deal with Loma’s gleaming collection of attributes.

“It wasn’t about quitting, right,” said Walters to Max. “If you look at the last round he caught me with some pretty good shots, I was holding on just to survive the round. It would be stupid to come out after the last round.”

Time will have to pass and memories fade before fight fans will sign off on the Jamaican who lives in Panama getting another big fight or a hefty payday opportunity. Loma, not so. He’s the favorite in any clash he’d care to take at 126, or 130.

He was asked by Kellerman who he’d like to test himself against next and paused. “Jessie Vargas,” a Golden Boy boxer who holds a WBC 130 title, he said.

And maybe Manny Pacquiao, the HBO crew mentioned promoter Bob Arum had floated as a possible opponent, and trainer Freddie Roach wasn’t opposed.

In the Twittersphere, the name Guillermo Rigondeaux was floated. He and Loma had been paired by amateur matchmakers for a spell, and negotiating had occurred last year which brought that closer to fruition. I poked Rigo, the Cuban cutie, and asked him what he thought of Lomachenko-Walters and if that near fruition coupling could reach end stage.

“Loma is a very good fighter no question,” Rigo told me. “It is not for nothing we both have two gold medals.

“I am happy that Top Rank took such an interest on him. Too bad we are so far apart now on weight class. I think it would have been a great match between us at top 126. As far as Walters goes he quit, plain and simple.”

Now, Loma made 126 a year ago. One wonders, could he, would he revisit that territory if the right opportunity arose? I posed that to Loma handled by Egis Klimas, odds on favorite for 2016 manager of the year when BWAA voting occurs next month.  What’s likely to be next for Loma?

“Possible rematch with Salido,” said the deal maker, who also works for and with 175 master Sergey Kovalev.  “As well, looking to move to 135 pounds, and to fight for the title to become first ever three times world champion with the ten or less professional bouts…but definitely not going to 126 pounds to chase Rigo. We offered him a few times to fight when he had a chance. Right now he is not in our interest any more. He has no name or recognition. He did not move to 126 while Loma was in that weight class. Now, when Loma moved to 130, he wants to come to 126. Forget about him.”

Readers, weigh in. Who do you want to see Loma tangle with next? And Rigo? And, is Loma atop your pound for pound totem pole?



UPDATE: Check out the fight highlights!

Michael Woods
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Michael Woods. Host, TALKBOX podcast, powered by EVERLAST; 1st VP, Boxing Writers Association of America; is my site