Saturday’s light-weight combat between Vasyl Lomachenko and Jamaine Ortiz ought to be one for the boxing purists, writes Elliot Worsell
GIVEN his undoubted expertise, Vasyl Lomachenko ought to, in 2022, in all probability be headlining Madison Sq. Backyard towards a fellow pound-for-pound famous person for the precise to say dominance within the newest of the quite a few weight lessons by which he has dipped his toes.
As an alternative, although, he fights this Saturday (October 29) on the Madison Sq. Backyard Theatre towards Jamaine Ortiz, an unbeaten however largely untested prospect from Worcester, Massachusetts. This, Lomachenko’s nineteenth as a professional, will not be a foul combat essentially, nor one with out intrigue, but it’s nonetheless honest to say Lomachenko deserves and maybe wants higher at this level, particularly given his age (34).
By no means a vastly marketable attraction even at the most effective of occasions, the wheels of the Lomachenko bus began to gradual in 2020, shortly after Teofimo Lopez outhustled him to take his world light-weight title. That was thought of an enchanting combat moving into, however most believed Lomachenko’s higher expertise and all-round skillset can be sufficient to show to Lopez the chance had come a bit quickly for him. That this didn’t occur was not solely a shock to most, however it additionally derailed Lomachenko considerably, no less than when it comes to him being a pound-for-pound star. Since then, he has fought a few occasions, stopping Masayoshi Nakatani in 9 rounds and outpointing Richard Commey over 12, but when ever there was a fighter in want of a revamp subsequent yr it’s the southpaw from Ukraine.
Certainly, this upcoming combat with Ortiz can be Lomachenko’s first of 2022, arriving virtually an entire yr after his win towards Commey. That’s not excellent for any boxer, not to mention a light-weight of 34, and, furthermore, it’s a disgrace extra isn’t being product of a top quality operator who’s undoubtedly some of the aesthetically pleasing we’ve got within the sport immediately. We might solely come to understand this – Lomachenko’s brilliance – as soon as his profession is over, sadly.
Nonetheless, for now he embarks on one other title run, which may solely be factor, and his subsequent opponent, Ortiz, ought to carry out the most effective in him, too. Often known as “The Technician”, a nickname virtually blasphemous when used within the firm of Lomachenko, Ortiz is a promising, well-schooled light-weight who can function as both an orthodox boxer or southpaw. He used each these stances to good impact towards Jamel Herring, a former WBO belt-holder at super-featherweight, in Might, a 10-rounder Ortiz gained through choice. That outcome alerted others to his potential and was additionally his second win of this yr, following sizzling on the heels of one other choice, this time towards Nahir Albright, in February.
In addition to extra energetic than Lomachenko, Ortiz is eight years his junior at 26 and may be very a lot having fun with the fruits of momentum proper now, with the one blip on his 17-fight professional report a majority draw he recorded towards Joseph Adorno in April 2021. Ortiz was dropped twice that evening, as soon as within the second spherical and once more within the seventh, however battled again effectively to make sure he remained undefeated.
Clearly, nonetheless, regardless of Ortiz’s potential and his latest type, there’s a gulf at school and expertise between him and Lomachenko, 16-2 (11), one thing most will count on to see demonstrated on Saturday evening. In truth, one may even go as far as to argue that Ortiz, whereas nonetheless unproven, ranks pretty low down on the record of opponents Lomachenko has thus far confronted and overcome in his profession. That probably says extra about Lomachenko’s stage than it does Ortiz’s, however, both means, it’s exhausting to see something apart from a large Lomachenko victory, in all probability on the playing cards, when the 2 evaluate their respective methods this weekend.
Supporting Lomachenko and Ortiz on the MSG Theatre is a featherweight combat between gifted Cuban Robeisy Ramírez and Argentina’s Jose Matias Romero,who changed Jessie Magdaleno, Ramírez’s authentic opponent, when Magdaleno withdrew on account of a hand harm.
This ought to be a simple sufficient task for Ramírez, 10-1 (6), who, like Lomachenko, is among the most expert boxers on the planet, with little on Romero’s report suggesting he’ll supply a lot in the way in which of upset potential. At 26-2 (9), he’s each skilled and sturdy – by no means stopped – however clearly lacks the punch energy to threaten most opponents, particularly these of a good grade, and has additionally come up brief in two earlier journeys to the US. The primary man to beat Romero was Isaac Cruz, who outpointed him over 12 in March 2021, then seven months after that Michel Rivera did the identical, this time over 10 rounds.
These journeys to America served to focus on Romero’s limitations and, with this in thoughts, it’s powerful to see how Ramírez, a fighter superior to each Cruz and Rivera, struggles to do one thing related, if not higher, this weekend. He’s on a roll proper now, too, Ramírez, with eye-catching stoppages of Eric Donovan and Abraham Nova already scored this yr, and one would again him to turn into the primary man to cease Romero ought to he discover himself impressed to proceed this run of knockouts in New York.