Bob Arum is a promoter. As such, anything he says must be taken with a grain of salt. Hype and exaggeration are his stock in trade. So when he told the assembled media this week that Vasyl Lomachenko was the best technical fighter he has seen since “the early Muhammad Ali,” an eye roll is not out of line.
But the comparison is not entirely out of line. Lomachenko, like the young Ali, does things that at times defy belief. His ability to avoid an opponent’s punch and then give one back in return can look like something out of a video game. There is even a video on Youtube comparing Lomachenko to “The Matrix.”
Lomachenko has enjoyed unprecedented success so far in his career. As an amateur, he staked a claim to being the greatest of all time, posting an astonishing 396-1 record, with two Olympic gold medals. In his first seven professional fights, he has already won world titles in two divisions, featherweight and super featherweight. It seems inevitable that he will move up in weight, to pursue more titles.
On Saturday night, the Ukrainian sensation will face what could be the toughest fight of his career–certainly the hardest one he has had since his second fight, a rough and bruising loss to Orlando Salido.
Walters is an undefeated slugger, 26-0-1 with 21 KOs. The draw came last year against current WBA super featherweight title. It was a robbery. I watched the fight from press row. Nobody had it closer than eight rounds to two for Walters. I had the Axe Man winning all 10 frames.
Walters is also an imposing athlete with explosive punching. He has a significant reach advantage on Lomachenko. He should be able to apply the sort of pressure that prevents Lomachenko from making things look effortless.
I am already on record picking Lomachenko to win by late-round TKO. I think Walters leaves too many openings for a complete boxer like Lomo. But this is one of the best matchups of the year and should be a very entertaining fight.