By Keith Idec
OXON HILL, Maryland – Nine rounds of Vasyl Lomachenko’s dominance was more than enough evidence for Raul Rivas.
Jason Sosa’s trainer didn’t want his brave boxer to take any more unnecessary punishment in a fight he clearly couldn’t win Saturday night. Thus he told referee Kenny Chevalier to stop the their one-sided, 130-pound title fight before the 10th round started.
By then, it was beyond obvious that Lomachenko’s speed, skill, power and athleticism were entirely too much for Sosa’s commendable courage and toughness in the main event of a seven-bout card at MGM National Harbor, a new casino & resort just outside Washington, D.C. The result of their HBO “World Championship Boxing” headliner was hardly surprising, considering Lomachenko went off as a 33-1 favorite Saturday night at the MGM Grand’s sports book in Las Vegas.
“I came in to do my job and show everybody the ‘Hi Tech,’ ” Lomachenko said. “I think I did my job really well.”
The 29-year-old Lomachenko made the second defense of the WBO world super featherweight title he won by knocking out Puerto Rico’s Rocky Martinez (29-3-3, 17 KOs) in the fifth round June 11 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. The two-time Olympic gold medalist was so dominant in his first title defense, he made Jamaica’s Nicholas Walters quit following seven stunningly one-sided rounds November 26 at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
Lomachenko landed numerous powerful punches to an exposed Sosa’s head and body in a completely one-sided eighth round. Sosa didn’t throw back any punches for an extended period of time, but Chevalier allowed the action to continue.
Sosa hit Lomachenko with a low blow later in the eighth, which made Chevalier temporarily stop the action.
As much as Sosa tried to bob and weave out of harm’s way in the seventh round, Lomachenko’s phenomenal footwork enabled him to get back in position to land hard head and body shots.
Lomachenko tried clowning Sosa at the beginning of the sixth round by waving his arms from side to side. An undeterred Sosa would have none of it and also attempted some showmanship.
Once the action resumed in the sixth, Lomachenko continued to open up to Sosa’s head and body, and built upon his lead.
Sosa connected with a left hook at the beginning of the fifth round, though Lomachenko took it well. Lomachenko unloaded a combination that knocked Sosa into the ropes later in the fifth.
A determined Sosa kept coming forward, but Lomachenko made him pay repeatedly as the fifth round continued. An animated Sosa got in Lomachenko’s face after the bell sounded to end the fifth round.
Sosa landed a solid straight right hand early in the fourth round, but Lomachenko came back to land a crisp combination near the middle of the ring. Lomachenko landed another combination near Sosa’s corner later in the fourth and yet another in the center of the ring that left Sosa holding before the fourth round concluded.
Swelling started to develop over Sosa’s left eye in the third round, which included several awkward exchanges in which Lomachenko wound up behind Sosa as they held each other.
Chevalier warned Sosa in the second round for hitting Lomachenko low. Lomachenko later knocked Sosa into the ropes with a left hand, just before the second round ended.
Sosa tried to get to Lomachenko’s body in a first round that didn’t result in much action, other than a body shot Lomachenko landed when Sosa’s back was against the ropes.
Lomachenko’s dominance halted an impressive stretch for the 29-year-old Sosa since December 2015.
The Camden, New Jersey, native drew with heavily favored former featherweight champion Nicholas Walters (26-1-1, 21 KOs) in Sosa’s HBO debut, a 10-rounder 15 months ago in Verona, New York.
Sosa won the WBA world super featherweight title in his following fight. Down on all three scorecards, he came back to stop the previously undefeated Javier Fortuna (31-1-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC) in the 11th round June 24 in Beijing.
Sosa defended his title once, when he beat England’s Stephen Smith (24-3, 14 KOs) by unanimous decision November 12 in Monte Carlo.
The WBA stripped Sosa of that version of its 130-pound title, though, when Sosa signed a contract in February to face Lomachenko. Panama’s Jezreel Corrales (21-1, 8 KOs, 1 NC) is the WBA’s super champion at 130 pounds.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.