LAS VEGAS – A fight can change a lot in boxing, a sport where it’s not uncommon to fight only twice a year. In the case of Vasiliy Lomachenko, even six rounds can change a lot.
Seven months ago, Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) was a unified lightweight champion and a universal staple of boxing Pound for pound list pound. As he prepares to face Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs) in Las Vegas this weekend without a belt on the line, he wonders if he’s still the same at 33 .
If there were tomorrow – as if by an impossible miracle – a four-man tournament to determine the best lightweight in the world, it would be conceivable that Lomachenko would not even be invited. This is the ground he recently lost to his undefeated peers Teofimo Lopez, Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney.
The Ukrainian Lomachenko already lost his size in the division due to the 23-year-old Lopez in October – but as is so often the case in boxing, the result is in small print. Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) won the fight fair and square, but the first six rounds were puzzling to say the least.
Lomachenko had a remarkably low performance in the first half of that fight. According to Compubox, Lomachenko threw the following number of strokes in the first six frames: 4, 12, 11, 9, 9, 13. In the last six rounds he threw the following: 22, 38, 38, 44, 62, 59.
Following Lopez’s win, which made him a lucrative payday against George Kambosos Jr., the Triller promotion is now tentatively slated for August 14th. Lomachenko’s team announced that the fighter entered the competition with an injured shoulder – the culprit behind his strangely low number of hits early on. Unsurprisingly, Lopez dismissed that statement as posing and basically said he’ll never give Lomachenko a rematch because the former champion didn’t give him enough respect before they first met.
Everything is at stake for Lomachenko on Saturday. If he’s impressive against Nakatani, it sets the stage for a Lopez rematch. A second fight between them would be massive for both of them and the top rank. Lomachenko’s shoulder injury casts doubt on the first result. A thorn in the side of this tale, however, is that when the chips were down and the 12th round result was in doubt, it was Lopez who took the opportunity and put an exclamation mark on his victory.
A second fight would have drama, story, and a real impact on future negotiations with the other big lightweight names. But to make sure of that, Lomachenko has to go out on Saturday and prove he’s still there Loma. If he doesn’t, his report on what happened in October sounds more like an excuse than an explanation. – Okamoto
What can Lomachenko get out of the fight against Nakatani?
Vasiliy Lomachenko returns to the ring for the first time since then loses his easy world champion unification battle to Teofimo Lopez in October 2020. He appears determined to fight his way back to a rematch with Lopez, even though Lopez has expressed disinterest in such a fight.
So what can Lomachenko expect against Masayoshi Nakatani? And can he find a way to get Lopez to change his mind about a rematch?
According to the numbers
Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) vs. Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs), 12 rounds, lightweights
Rob Brant (26-2, 18 KOs) vs. Janibek Alimkhanuly (9-0, 5 KOs), 10 rounds, middleweight
Giovani Santillan (26-0, 15 KOs) vs. Cecil McCalla (23-4, 10 KOs), 8 or 10 rounds, world weights
Robert Rodriguez (9-0-1, 5 KOs) vs. Luis Fernando Saavedra (8-6, 3 KOs), 6 rounds, bantam weights
Floyd Diaz (1-0, 0 KOs) vs. Jaime Jasso (2-0, 0 KOs), 4 rounds, bantam weights
Guido Vianello (7-0-1, 7 KOs) vs. Marlon Williams (6-1, 3 KOs), 4 rounds, heavyweights
Subaru Murata (professional debut) vs. Keven Monroy (1-1, 1 KO), 4 rounds, junior featherweight
DeMichael Harris (3-0, 3 KOs) vs. Jonatan Hernan Godoy (5-8, 0 KOs), 4 rounds, lightweights
Gervonta Davis “sits alone”
Gervonta Davis was going through the movements during an interview in May when a sentence caught his attention.
Davis is one of the young and emerging stars of boxing in the lightweight class. When it was claimed that he wasn’t the best performing among the group of formidable 135-pounder youngsters that included Teofimo Lopez, Ryan Garcia, and Devin Haney, Davis stopped looking down, raised his head and threw in.
“I am the top [feature] that group, “Davis told ESPN.” They are in their own small group. I’m sitting alone. “
Barrios ready to spoil Davis’ plans
When entering the biggest fight of his career, Mario Barrios has no prediction.
The undefeated WBC junior welterweight title holder certainly envisions winning against the punchy Gervonta “Tank” Davis, but he’s not sure how exactly it will play out in Atlanta on Saturday.
“I know we both go in there with bad intentions,” Barrios told ESPN. “We know it’s explosive. I only have one fight with 140 that has covered the full distance, and even in that one fight I got my opponent on screen twice and I’m as dangerous as a puncher as him. “
Barrios (26-0, 17 KOs) has a 4½-inch height advantage over Davis, who jumps two weight classes from his last fight for the junior welterweight title. Barrios, a native of San Antonio, Texas, has held the “regular” junior welterweight title of the WBA since September 2019.
Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) delivered a vicious uppercut knockout against Leo Santa Cruz in his last fight in October, but this next move could be his greatest challenge.
“I want to spoil the plans 100 percent,” said Barrios. “Ultimately, he is fighting for what is mine, which I have worked so hard for, and he has a very difficult task ahead of him when it comes to facing me. That’s why I do whatever” I can to make sure I’m prepared. He does the same thing, so there is no way to predict this fight. I just know it’ll be fireworks. “ – Lumberyard
According to the numbers
Title fight: Mario Barrios (26-0, 17 KOs) vs. Gervonta Davis (24-0, 23 KOs), 12 rounds, for Barrios’ WBA “regular” junior welterweight title
Erickson Lubin (23-1, 16 KOs) vs. Jeison Rosario (20-2-1, 14 KOs), 12 rounds, WBC Junior Middleweight Title Eliminator
Batyr Akhmedov (8-1, 7 KOs) vs. Algenis Mendez (25-6-3, 12 KOs), 12 rounds, junior welterweight
Carlos Adames (19-1, 15 KOs) vs. Alexis Salazar (23-3, 9 KOs), 10 rounds, junior middleweight division
Leduan Barthelemy (16-1-1, 8 KOs) vs. Viktor Slavinskyi (12-0-1, 6 KOs), 8 rounds, junior lightweights
Andres Gutierrez (38-2-1, 25 KOs) vs. Angel Hernandez (17-16-2, 11 KOs), 8 rounds, junior welterweight
Dalton Bodie (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Trever Bradshaw (1-0, 1 KO), 4 rounds, super middleweight
Stacey Selby (2-0, 2 KOs) vs. William Parra Smith (3-6-1, 3 KOs), 4 rounds, Junior Welterweight