Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Gary Russell Jr.-Vasyl Lomachenko: Post-Report Card

by Cliff Rold

It looked like the speed of Gary Russell might be a problem for Vasyl Lomachenko.

That look lasted about ninety seconds. 

That’s about how soon into the first round one could begin to see the former two-time Olympic Gold Medalist time the quicker man.  In one of the better coin flip matches in some time, no one could be certain of what they were getting.  As noted in the pre-fight report card, one guy hadn’t fought anybody and the other had only two fights.

On that basis, the question should have reverted to who was the better man at foundation.  Lomachenko was the better amateur, by a lot, and with little to develop either man since, that gap remained.  

Let’s go the report cards.

Grades
Pre-Fight: Speed – Russell A; Lomachenko A-/Post: A+; A-
Pre-Fight: Power – Russell B; Lomachenko B+/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Defense – Russell B+; Lomachenko B/Post: B-; A
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Russell B; Lomachenko B+/Post: B; A-

The first thing to say is let’s not get too carried away.  Lomachenko was impressive Saturday night but, one fight past, he let a fight with Orlando Salido get away.  The Ukrainian is a superlative talent but there is still room for development.  That was evident in some of the rounds he lost (two by this scribe’s count), and some of closer rounds that made two final scores of 116-112 understandable. 

Lomachenko is still adjusting to twelve round fights and there are spots where his offense slows down as he attempts to pace himself.  It’s not a big knock, and it’s something that he will iron out as he adjusts.  He also can push his straight left sometimes.  That can also be improved. 

Everything else was on point.  There were spots where he was nearly unhittable, leaving Russell flailing and grunting and with little to show for it.  It was a fight where punch stats were probably inaccurate as, really, how much did Russell land of meaning all night?

The same couldn’t be said for Lomachenko.  His body attack was vicious and he landed some pretty counters to the head throughout.  Lomachenko is fun to watch on offense, his punch selection diverse enough to keep anyone guessing without ever departing from picturesque fundamentals.  There’s a reason he almost never lost in the unpaid ranks.

It showed on Saturday.

Already with a belt, it’s unlikely his road will get any lighter.  Promoted by Top Rank, he is in the enviable position where he has three other titlists as possible foes (Evgeny Gradovich, Nicholas Walters, and Nonito Donaire).  Of the three, the biggest money might eventually be in a Donaire fight.  In terms of adding hardware while keeping an eye towards continued development, Gradovich is the perfect opponent.  If the Golden Boy/Top Rank hugfest going on gets anywhere, a crack at Jhonny Gonzalez would also be a good match for Lomachenko.

Oh, and he’s still only 2-1 (depending on how one views his World Series of Fighting bouts and that argument is valid both ways). 

The other name to mention is 122 lb. titlist Guillermo Rigondeaux.  Given they were the two best amateurs of recent memory, there might be some interest in that fight from pockets of the “Cult of Rigo” in particular.  If that is going to happen, the sooner the better for the Cuban’s chances.  Rigondeaux isn’t a very big Jr. Featherweight.  Lomachenko is a big Featherweight who may eventually grow into Jr. Welterweight.  When Lomachenko really gets settled as a pro, that size will mean a lot.  It might mean less now.

Not that Top Rank will be looking for that fight anyways.

For Russell, this is the latest example of a hole in the Al Haymon machine.  Haymon is great at getting fighters shots, seems to have incredible luck with at least one judge no matter what’s going on in the ring, and works well in keeping established talent happy.  However, there is something not all there in the way fighters who sign with him early are developed.  Andre Berto and Adrien Broner are two recent examples of fighters who got to title shots while doing little of note. 

They both won belts, but they had much less to deal with than Russell did Saturday in picking up initial vacant straps.  When they were confronted with serious opposition, they were in big trouble.  It seems sometimes to be a development model based on overly avoiding risk until titles open up, and that’s not all wrong but there has to be some risk along the way.  How else does a fighter learn?

Gary Russell basically fought the same level of opposition from 2011 to Lomachenko.  Lomachenko fought that level in his first, Salido in his second, and was more prepared for Russell in less than a year than Russell was for him in five.  Salido wasn’t blessed with half the physical gifts of Russell and it’s not like Russell didn’t have his own amateur foundation.  This should have been a better fight than it was (and Lomachenko may always just be better).  That it wasn’t speaks to Russell not being pushed to maximize his talents before he got there.

At 26, there is still time to correct course and give him the seasoning he lacks.  Russell’s speed and reflexes are uncommon but speed is not a skill.  Speed is a talent granted.  Skill is earned through the refinement of talent.

If Gary Russell’s next fight is someone equivalent to the Jr. Welterweight version of Carlos Molina, take it for granted the lesson wasn’t learned.            

Report Card Picks 2014: 29-13 (including staff prediction for Alexander-Soto Karass)
 
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Boxing Goat on 06-24-2014

[QUOTE=Freedom2014;14689935]They weighed the same at the weigh-in (125.5) as well as on fight night (138). Weights the day before and the day of the fight are here: [url]https://twitter.com/stotheb97[/url] Being a bit taller does not necessarily make someone bigger. David Tua…

Comment by crold1 on 06-23-2014

[QUOTE=ShoulderRoll;14689894]I might be in the minority but I don't think Russell's quality of opposition (or lack thereof) had anything to do with this. Lomachenko is just plain bigger and stronger than him. And he has skills on top of that…

Comment by The Hammer on 06-23-2014

[QUOTE=ShoulderRoll;14689894]I might be in the minority but I don't think Russell's quality of opposition (or lack thereof) had anything to do with this. Lomachenko is just plain bigger and stronger than him. And he has skills on top of that…

Comment by [email protected] on 06-23-2014

[QUOTE=WilkinsOlajuwon;14689434]Chuck Giampa is the chairman of the ring rankings committee. He creates its p4p list. He was a judge for like 30 years and his wife has been one for awhile too. No shenanigans she just blew it. He doesnt…

Comment by deanrw on 06-23-2014

[QUOTE=ShoulderRoll;14689894]I might be in the minority but I don't think Russell's quality of opposition (or lack thereof) had anything to do with this. Lomachenko is just plain bigger and stronger than him. And he has skills on top of that…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (16)
Top Headlines Diaz: Gary Russell in For a 'Rude Awakening Come Fight Night' Sulecki: Danny Jacobs Won't Ever Repeat Golovkin Performance Vanes: I'll Test Golovkin's Chin, Not Run Like a 'Bad Steak' Guy! Parker Promoter Wants Him to Fight Bellew vs. Haye Winner Frank Warren on Frampton's Future, Tete's Lack of Fireworks Peter McDonagh Back From Ban, May 12 In Bolton De La Hoya: Canelo Will Wail on Golovkin For That Bullsh*t Ad! Vanes: My Wife's Fav Fighter is GGG - Now I Have To Beat His Ass Wilder To Serve as Honorary Pace Car Driver at GEICO 500 Jacobs Reflects on Charlo Confrontation, Building Superstar Run Carlos Cuadras Enters Rehab To Deal With Drug Issues Loeffler's Hollywood Fight Night Series Returns on May 22 Photos: Lomachenko Putting in Work For Linares Showdown Keith Thurman Explains Why He Vacated The WBC World Title Chocolatito Appears Unlikely For Golovkin-Vanes Card Jessie Vargas Would Fight Broner in Texas - Rejects Idea of Ohio Saunders: Even if Canelo Beats GGG - He's Still a Cheat To Me News: Matias vs. Estrella Set, Zuhayr Al-Qahtani, Castillo, Villa Photos: Gary Russell, Joseph Diaz - Go Face To Face at Presser Mikey Garcia vs. Robert Easter Unification Next, Says Sulaiman Keith Thurman Vacates WBC Title, Garcia-Porter Ordered Luis Ortiz vs. Dillian Whyte - WBC Final Eliminator Ordered Hearn: Daniel Jacobs Likes The Jermall Charlo Fight Golovkin: 'We'll See' About Having Canelo Rematch in September Adonis Stevenson: I Look Forward To Knocking Badou Jack Out! Broner-Vargas Telecast Peaked at 891,000 Viewers on Showtime Murray: Warren Does My Head In, Must Stop GGG-Saunders Talk Lewis Ritson vs. Paul Hyland, Josh Kelly vs. Kris George - June 16 Claressa Shields vs. Hanna Gabriels Set For June 22, Showtime Dmitry Bivol's Future Plans are Detailed By His Manager Malignaggi Definitely Wants To See a Broner-Vargas Rematch Charlo Wants to Test Himself Against Golovkin 'On the Way Out' Jessie Vargas-Adrien Broner: Afterthoughts Bellew: I'm Ready For War, Ready To Beat David Haye at All Costs Liam Cameron Warns Jenman That He's in For a Real Hard Night Joseph Parker Ready To Face Dillian Whyte To Get Back on Top Horn's Promoter Rips Top Rank For Approaching Crawford-Khan Bellew Fears That it May Take a Death For Boxing To Tackle PEDs Adrien Broner's Post-Fight Antics Create Yet Another Black Cloud GGG Promoter: We Feel Vanes Has Better Credentials Than Spike
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement