I always consider it the mark of a great fighter that he can beat good fighters with ease. By that standard, Vasyl Lomachenko marked himself as a great fighter on Saturday night, when he took apart Roman Martinez and stopped him in Round 5, to become a two-division world champion, in just his seventh professional fight.
While Martinez isn’t an elite talent, he has been one of the top 130-pound fighters in the world for over half a decade. He first became a world champion in 2009, when he claimed the WBO super featherweight title by defeating Nicky Cook by Round 4 TKO. He’s beat world-class fighters such as Miguel Beltran Jr. and Diego Magdaleno. I thought he deserved to lose his draw against Orlando Salido last September, but he cleanly beat Salido the first time they faced off in April 2015.
Against Lomachenko, Martinez was badly overmatched, more so, even than when he was stopped by Mikey Garcia in November 2013. Garcia was a rare talent. To be mentioned in the same breath marks Lomachenko as a potential pound-for-pound talent.
The Ukrainian’s work against Martinez was truly artful in its swift brutality. The final punch combination was a jolting left uppercut that perfect set up a tight and compact right hook.
The logical next fight for Lomachenko is a rematch with Salido, who defeated him in his first title attempt, in his second professional fight. In his entire amateur career, Lomachenko lost just once in 397 fights. He avenged that loss twice. He’s got to be hungry to avenge things against Salido.
It will be a very interesting bout. Salido gave him a crash course in the Hard Knocks School of Professional Boxing, but Lomachenko adjusted very well and nearly stopped Salido late.
It’s tempting to think that Lomachenko’s handling of Martinez means he has matured enough to take Salido with ease now, too. It will be interesting to see if that’s true. At the same time, Salido is a different fighter than Martinez. He’s a much more physical and mauling fighter. A return bout will let us all see just how far Lomachenko has truly progressed in his very brief professional career.