By Keith Idec

LAS VEGAS – Bob Arum came to the media section following Vasyl Lomachenko’s knockout of Rocky Martinez five months ago with a message.

He wasn’t “bullsh*tting” us, as Arum playfully acknowledged he is known to do sometimes. He really believes Lomachenko is the most talented boxer he has seen since a young Muhammad Ali.

That’s a narrative Arum, who promotes Lomachenko and promoted Ali, has repeated numerous times, particularly recently. When the Hall-of-Fame promoter came to ringside Saturday night, he didn’t need to sell anyone on anything.

Lomachenko had lived up to all the pressure placed on him by Arum and others by dominating previously unbeaten Nicholas Walters. The 28-year-old Ukrainian southpaw patiently, precisely picked apart a dangerous puncher who knocked out Nonito Donaire two years earlier in a seven-round fight that was every bit as one-sided as Vegas handicappers had suggested it would be (Lomachenko: -900; Walters: +600 in the week before they fought).

By the time Lomachenko literally made Walters quit prior to the start of the eighth round at The Cosmopolitan, it was clear that a two-time Olympic gold medalist who lost to Mexican veteran Orlando Salido in his second professional fight had entered boxing’s mythical pound-for-pound debate.

“He’s brilliant,” Arum said. “I could watch him perform every week. I mean, if you love boxing and you follow boxing, you have to love that kind of performer. Because it’s not just a technical guy that’s making somebody miss, and not doing anything. He’s setting the guy up for a kill while he’s avoiding the punches and figuring the guy out.”

Arum added that by the third round he realized the powerful Walters (26-1-1, 21 KOs) wouldn’t be able to land punches against the elusive, intelligent Lomanchenko (7-1, 5 KOs) with any consistency.

“In the next couple years, he’s really gonna make a punctuation point,” Arum said. “I’ve never seen anybody since – and you guys remember Ali sometimes as a fairly plodding guy after the 3½-year [layoff]. But the Ali before that had tricks and could do like this kid. Since Ali, and don’t say I’m comparing him to Ali, because I’m not. But since Ali, that first Ali, there’s nobody like Lomachenko, including Mayweather – who’s a great, great technical fighter, tremendous – but nobody has the whole package of skills and balance like Lomachenko.

“You know, I kept saying this before this fight and people would say it’s hyperbole. But it isn’t. I’ve never seen anything like this. And if you guys watched what was happening in that ring, you’ve never seen anything like this. I mean, this is a real magician. This is somebody special. I mean, you don’t win all those amateur fights and have that amateur career without being special, particularly with all the crooked judges in the amateurs.”

Arum also clarified what he considered a misrepresentation of how he has discussed Lomachenko, a two-division champion just eight fights into his professional career, and the late Ali in the same sentence.

“I said that since Muhammad Ali, he’s the greatest technical fighter that I’ve seen,” Arum said. “I’m not comparing them. They’re totally different. Ali’s technique was totally different. And the Ali I was talking about was the Ali before the draft situation.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.