A myriad of emotions spring to the fore at the prospect of some fights or a particular fighter; indifference, ambivalence, excitement, anger, pride, resentment, you name it. There can also be "must-see" anticipation, typically reserved for boxing's hierarchy, the best of the very best. Friday, April 12th will be such an occasion as one of the game's absolute elite, Vasyl Lomachenko, makes his first appearance of 2019. He'll be facing rugged Brit, Anthony Crolla live from Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, broadcast exclusively on ESPN+ (10PM CST).
Arguably the best fighter in the world, weight classes be damned, Vasyl Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KO’s) added the WBO lightweight title December of last year with a unanimous decision over Jose Pedraza. The 2-time Olympic gold medalist was already in possession of the WBO strap at 135-pounds as well. But fresh off right shoulder surgery, Lomachenko failed to shock and amaze for one of the few times in his pro career. Pedraza was defeated soundly but not spectacularly and in that way, Lomachenko has become a victim of his own stellar performances.
Like any man with two hands who dares to climb into a boxing ring, Anthony Crolla (34-6-3, 13 KO’s) is worthy of respect, he’s just not special in any particular regard. A former WBA 135-pound titlist himself, Crolla has wins over Gavin Rees, Ricky Burns and Darlys Perez to his credit. Crolla’s brief run as world champion was ended by Jorge Linares, who Lomachenko unseated May of last year.
It’s a bit of a risky fight for ESPN+, but Loma's Nielsen ratings and peak views for his “Top Rank Boxing on ESPN” bouts were ridiculous. Bordering on 2mil for Linares and eclipsing 2mil in the case of Pedraza. To the degree a promoter has to test his sheer watchability on an alternate platform; let's see what it really is.
Anthony Crolla won’t beat or even challenge Vasyl Lomachenko; based on Crolla’s knockout percentage, even the proverbial “puncher’s chance” doesn’t exist here. When you’re supposed to win and you’re regarded as one of if not the best in the world at what you do, there’s added pressure to not only perform, but to impress. Back to back lukewarm showings wouldn’t be a good look and Loma’s undoubtedly aware of this. Crolla’s only been stopped once, roughly seven years ago, but Pugilism Company fully expects Lomachenko to finish him inside of 12 one-sided rounds. Not a one punch KO, but an accumulation of punches over a multitude of rounds, finally forcing the referee or Crolla’s corner to spare him further punishment in an unwinnable situation.