HBO boxing preview: Roman Martinez vs. Vasiliy / Vasyl Lomachenko full fight VIDEO, replay, result, recap. Vasyl Lomachenko looks to become a two-division titleholder in his seventh pro fight when he faces Roman Martinez on Saturday night.
This Saturday night on HBO (10 p.m. ET), Roman “Rocky” Martinez will defend his WBO super featherweight title in the main event against Vasyl Lomachenko, with Felix Verdejo in the co-feature against Juan Jose Martinez.
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Here’s a look at the matchups.
Roman Martinez vs Vasyl Lomachenko Full Fight Recap
Vasyl Lomachenko imploded Rocky Martinez’s chin with a highlight-reel right hand in the fifth round to capture the WBO Super Featherweight Championship by knockout on Saturday night at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KO) is now the fastest fighter in boxing history to capture world championships in multiple weight classes, and it came easy against an opponent known for his grit and toughness.
The Ukrainian fighter was clearly the better boxer from the opening bell. He used impressive footwork and movement to consistently circle his foe and create openings for wide-open shots.
Record: 29-2-3 (17 KO) … Streak: D1 … Last 5: 3-1-1 … Last 10: 6-2-2 … Stance: Orthodox … Height/Reach: 5’8″ / 67″ … Age: 33
Thoughts: A good fighter, a three-time titleholder, and perhaps overmatched here, even though he’s a top super featherweight. Puerto Rico’s “Rocky” Martinez is one of many fighters who are good but not elite.
If you look at Martinez’s best opponents, he’s done OK, but has never totally separated himself from the pack. He won his first world title in 2009 against Nicky Cook, who was a decent fighter but a pretty weak titleholder. He defended against Feider Viloria and Gonzalo Munguia, not exactly top contenders, before he was upset in Glasgow by Ricky Burns in 2010. With the benefit of hindsight and more knowledge about the fighters, it wasn’t as big an upset as it seemed then.
Martinez got that belt back by beating Miguel Beltran Jr in 2012, a solid win, and went to a draw with Juan Carlos Burgos in his first defense. He beat Diego Magdaleno, then lost the belt to Mikey Garcia in 2013. Last year, he beat Orlando Salido in Puerto Rico to again regain that belt, and drew with Salido in a September rematch.
His best opponents have been Burns, Garcia, and Salido. He’s 1-2-1 in four fights against those opponents. His best win is the first fight with Salido, quite clearly, and after that you’re talking Beltran and Magdaleno.
He’s a good, solid B-grade fighter. The one time he was matched up against someone with true A skills, he was knocked out by Garcia. He did drop Garcia with a counter right in the second round, but other than that he was pretty sorely outclassed.
And that’s more the level of matchup he has here. Styles make fights, and whereas Martinez is well-equipped to bang and battle with Salido, Garcia, a fighter with superior craft and skill, gave him fits and put him away in eight. Lomachenko is far closer to Garcia than he is to Salido.
Record: 5-1 (3 KO) … Streak: W4 … Last 5: 4-1 … Last 10: 5-1 … Stance: Southpaw … Height/Reach: 5’7″ / 65½” … Age: 28
Thoughts: The sometimes outlandish fawning over Lomachenko can be a bit tiresome, at least to me. But I do not argue with the fact that he’s a supremely skilled boxer, with excellent footwork, remarkable instincts, and an intelligence that, to me, is natural — obviously, he’s had to learn the things he knows, but the ability to learn the way he has is unusual. Few fighters have that capacity.
But there have been many savants in boxing history, none of them unbeatable, even #TBE himself, another fighter I consider someone who just has the capacity to learn and apply knowledge and technique that even most with the physical ability to do similar things just don’t possess. Lomachenko got a rude welcome to the pro game in his second fight, roughed up and edged out by hardscrabble veteran Orlando Salido.
That was Lomachenko daring to be great, though. A close loss to someone like Salido in your second professional fight is not evidence that you’re short of great; trying to beat him and nearly doing so in your second pro fight is evidence you probably are. And in his third fight, he outboxed Gary Russell Jr over 12 rounds to win the WBO featherweight title.
Since then, Lomachenko has coasted against Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (UD-12), Gamalier Rodriguez (KO-9), and Romulo Koasicha (KO-10). None of those opponents were near Lomachenko’s level, and it showed, as he handled each with ease. An offer was made to Nicholas Walters, who wanted more money than Top Rank was willing to give him. So Lomachenko, still wanting to be great, moves up to 130 to face Rocky Martinez.
On paper, there isn’t much that Martinez does better than Lomachenko, if anything. He’s not even really a better puncher, and Lomachenko isn’t exactly a powerhouse slugger, either. But Martinez has the high-level experience that nobody else on Lomachenko’s record other than Salido has possessed, including Russell and all his physical gifts.