By JOHN GATLING.
“I can stop him. He looks sensational with less quality opponents. When he stepped up against Linares it wasn’t easy. He got dropped. He’s not invincible. He’s not this ‘out of this world’ phenomenon people make him out to be.”
There’s an established Mount Rushmore in the “sweet science” that’s a little different in virtually each state depending on who you talk to in a barbershop (or, maybe the beauty salon to even shit out for either gender). I’m from Jersey, and somewhere in the mountains of the “Gahd’n State”, my own has just three faces with room for a fourth: Ali, Robinson and Duran. Luminaries like Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Louis, Mike Tyson, Rocky Marciano, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao… pick a legend or an era and put em up there and you haven’t committed an error– that’s your business and someone can still take pleasure in what they see on your mountain, for they all had tough hills to climb and did it. I just don’t understand Mikey Garcia putting Vasyl Lomachenko and “less quality” in the same sentence.
However, Mikey would be the very best quality that the great Lomachenko could possibly face at lightweight to cement a legacy that will be carved in stone by historians for the ages. There has never been a fighter like Vasyl Lomachenko, and only a bout with Mikey Garcia will forever let us know just how special this extraordinary athlete is. We knew all we needed to know about Sugar Ray after gunning down “The Hitman”, and the iconic portrait of Marciano’s Machiavellian shot on Walcott can hang in any Italian restaurant to give it class. Loma Vs Mikey would deserve to be crystalized at Tiffany’s.
Can Mikey Garcia stop him? Yes. Will he? Probably not. Not because of anything that has to do with him or Loma, but because the modern business of boxing has no regard for the tournament tradition. It doesn’t care about the purist who still drags his ass out to the driveway in an ugly robe while scratching his balls to pick up the morning paper. If its up to Bob Arum, the greatest sports promoter of all-time, its as easy as Tony Soprano tipping a pretty girl in the G-string at “Bada-Bing!”. You don’t wait until 2009 to see if the New York Giants can beat the 2007 New England Patriots. You do that when you want to fuck up history. What Mikey is saying is he wants to find out. Loma, upon eyeing those words, could be making his way over to Garcia’s front lawn as you’re reading this. The buzz on this superfight is super hot NOW, and there’s no better encore to what we just saw in Lomachenko Vs Linares at Madison Square Garden, then Lomachenko Vs. Garcia at The World’s Most Famous Arena.
No one has ever demonstrated such majestic dominance as a professional in a shorter period of time than Lomachenko. That he’s done it both with demand and on it, is a testament to a never-before-seen athletic arrogance that’s been backed up by excellence. The thing is, he would literally be backed up by the exact same thing in confronting Mikey Garcia. In Loma, this is a very polished and sublime Nicolino Locche with elements of Manny Pacquiao. In Mikey, we’re witnessing a more subdued Roberto Duran with the brains and mechanics of Juan Manuel Marquez. Garcia is the bigger fighter; who, if he hasn’t faced better opposition, has faced physically stronger competition. Mikey is the more experienced pro, but Loma is already more accomplished, simply because he’s done so much more with less. They both fight with tremendous pride and possess an aversion to even the thought of defeat, but Loma would beat Mikey – most likely by KO, and here’s why.
Certain fighters just have an aura about themselves that transcends their opponent. A 7th gear when pitted against the very finest 6-speed. If Mayweather Vs. Pacquiao broke a promise to redefine Duran Vs. Leonard, Loma Vs. Mikey would not. Without the Linares fight, Loma’s arrogance does get him stopped by Garcia, but now he’s been refined to be an immortal on any Mount Rushmore. This is Sergey Lipinets, or an erratic Mayweather fax machine named Adrien Broner. The speed, the tenacity and the will of Vasyl Lomachenko, would eventually overcome some rough seas and a near drowning event to sink Mikey Garcia via dramatic 12th round stoppage on Bob Arum’s birthday.