If boxing superstardom were based solely on talent, Vasyl Lomachenko would already be a high-end, crossover superstar.
The Ukraine native has one of the most entertaining ring styles in the sport at the moment– a fan-friendly style that mixes supreme athleticism and aggression with an eye-catching creative flair. And, in terms of boxing “street cred,” you couldn’t get much more respectable than his two Olympic gold medals and his two divisional world titles in just ten pro fights.
Lomachenko is NOT a superstar– yet. But there IS a road for him to get to that next level.
Vasyl Lomachenko odds for next fight show him to be a -470 betting favorite in his scheduled December 9 bout with master boxer, Guillermo Rigondeaux. And a win over the widely-respected Cuban pound-four-pound craftsman– who is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist– will go a long way towards getting Vasyl the kind of push he needs to reach true superstar status in boxing.
If he can add Rigondeaux’s name to a professional resume that already features victories over fighters like Gary Russell JR., Roman Martinez, and Nicholas Walters, he will finally be able to boast a level of accomplishment that ranks right up there with the very best of the best. Despite the fact that Rigondeux will be moving up two weight classes to meet the Lomachenko challenge, the Cuban is THAT good and his name carries THAT much weight– a win will remove any and all remaining doubt as to whether Vasyl truly is “for real.”
From there, the road to superstardom is fairly clear. A fight or two at his current weight of 130 against tough fellow world titlists Miguel Berchelt and Jezreel Corrales could be followed by challenges up in weight against lightweights Jorge Linares, Mikey Garcia, and/or Gervonta Davis. And assuming that he wins– and looks good winning– the rest is up to the personal tastes of the sometimes fickle fans, who may or may not embrace him as something other than a really good fighter.
The road to next-level stardom, though, is not easy in boxing– not in this current market and especially not for fighters who compete in the sport’s lower weight classes.
Smaller fighters don’t get featured on TV as much as larger-weight fighters and often have to accept the reality that there’s a lower ceiling for them when it comes to crossover appeal and that a limited earning potential will go hand-in-hand with that low ceiling.
Realistically, it’s a small miracle that Lomachenko, as someone competing in the featherweight and super featherweight divisions, has already gotten attention from HBO and ESPN, who have featured him on primetime telecasts.
That small miracle leads one to believe that maybe he CAN be the exception to the rule when it comes to little men and that he CAN fight his way to true stardom. After all, superstars Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were also, at one time, smaller fighters battling for recognition on the sport’s main stage.
Vasyl Lomachenko has a long way to go before becoming the next Mayweather or Pacquiao, but at least he’s on the road there, headed in that general direction.