San Diego, Calif., April 12, 2019 – Ten thousand fans spent their Friday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to see the world’s best pound for pound boxers put on a show the equal of “La La Land.” Unified lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko of Ukraine (13-1, 10 KOs) danced right through Anthony Crolla of Great Britain (34-7-3, 13 KOs).
Crolla looked beaten mentally by the end of the first round. Lomachenko made Crolla work so hard trying to follow his feints driven by his nimble footwork and angles, it disoriented him.
Lomachenko started laying into Crolla with serious intentions in round two, landing multiple body and head shots in combination, from angles Crolla and the Los Angeles fans hadn’t ever seen. The barrage continued in round three. It was only a matter of time. Referee Jack Reiss called a knockdown in the final minute of round three as Crolla took punishment from Lomachenko while being held up by the ropes. A confused Lomachenko thought Reiss called the fight, but Crolla beat the count and made it back to the corner to end the round.
Crolla goes out on his shield
Crolla didn’t quit on his chair like Marriaga, Walters, or Rigondeaux, you can give him credit there. He went out on his shield. Lomachenko led with a left jab, then drilled Crolla with a hard right hook everyone sitting in the Staples Center could hear, dropping the British boxer to the floor face first. The fight was finally over at 58 seconds of the fourth round.
The knockout punch answered any remaining questions about the health of Lomachenko’s repaired shoulder. The first person he thanked in his post fight remarks was his physician. “My doctor made my shoulder 100 percent.”
Crolla took the fight in lieu of Richard Commey, who had suffered his own injury. Commey isn’t likely to be ready right away. Who would Lomachenko like next? “I don’t know, I want Mikey Garcia, but I don’t know. I stay at 135, as long as it is possible. I want to unify all titles.”
Young sensation Teofimo Lopez watched the fight ringside. Lopez and his trainer father say they’d like a shot at Lomachenko. The champion has laughed off the young man’s ambitions for now.
Claiming pound for pound status? Terence Crawford might disagree
Lomachenko made a strong case for claiming number one pound for pound status, pending the performance of Terence Crawford against Amir Khan next week in New York. He utterly demoralizes his opponents, strips them of their dignity and renders any skills or strategy useless. This is why many simply quit. At least Crolla did not back down, forcing Lomachenko to stop him.
Top Rank promter Bob Arum said, “I’ve been doing this for well over 50 years, and I’ve never seen anything like that guy. He’s almost breathtaking.” Bear in mind Arum also promotes Terence Crawford.
Gilberto Ramirez lights it up in light heavyweight debut
WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (40-0, 26 KOs) made a good decision moving up to light heavyweight for the first time as a professional, puttinig on one of his strongest performance in several years against veteran Tommy Karpency (29-7-1, 18 KOs). Ramirez won by third round stoppage after Karpency was unable to come out for the fourth round.
Move up he certainly did. Ramirez reportedly weighted 196 pounds at the time of the fight. The weight emboldened Ramirez, who came out firing from the start of the fight. He landed 16 solid body punches on the tough Karpency in the first two rounds. Ramirez showed a more active work rate, and he seemed completely comfortable at the new weight.
Karpency has always been willing to take shots to land one, but he didn’t have much to offer against Ramirez. Even when Ramirez left himself open, Karpency couldn’t hurt him. Ramirez delivered serious damage with the body shots and the active work rate.
“In the first 30 seconds of the first round, Gilberto hit me to the side and It dictated the rest of the fight, He’s equal to the guys I fought. Hats off to him for landing the body shot early,” said Karpency.
After the third round, Karpency turned to his father and trainer Tommy Karpency Sr., and said, “my ribs are broken.” When referee Ray Corona asked Karpency if he wanted to continue, Karpency and his father said he was finished.
Ramirez could make history at light heavyweight
Working with new head trainer Julian Chua, Ramirez said the body attack was the plan. “All day, all day long, body body, and body head, up and down, down and up. It was a really interesting fight for me because I did well,” said Ramirez, thanking the Staples fans for coming out.
“I feel a lot of power, a lot of power. I feel more comfortable at 175,” said Ramirez. “I think I want to look for titles at 175. Not yet, but all the champions, I want all the best. I want to be a pound for pound fighter, and I will for sure,” said Ramirez.
Zurdo is off to a great start, but he’ll need to step it up to challenge the likes of Kovalev, Bivol, Beterbiev, Browne, and Gvozdyk in one of boxing’s most competitive divisions. He could make history as the first Mexican light heavyweight champion, a noble goal.
A star is born: Arnold Barboza Jr. takes out Mike Alvarado
Undefeated Arnold Barboza Jr. of Los Angeles (21-0, 8 KOs) thrilled his hometown family and friends on hand at the Staples Center, sending former world champion Mike “Mile High” Alvarado of Denver (40-5, 28 KOs) into the canvas and a likely retirement with a third round knockout win.
Fans hoped for a classic barnburner fight from Alvarado and the younger man, but the 38 year old didn’t have much to offer. Barboza Jr.’s punches all seemed to catch Alvarado by surprise. Was it bad vision, or poor reflexes? Whatever the cause, the former world champion couldn’t see them and fend them off. Barboza Jr. seized the opportunity, and in the opening minute of the third round, Barboza Jr. took it to Alvarado, who fell forward from a combination of head shots to both sides. He struggled to his feet, and referee Thomas Taylor made a wise call to stop the fight.
Barboza Jr. says he wants to take a belt from either Jose Ramirez or Maurice Hooker. Who wouldn’t love a Fresno vs. Los Angeles showdown?
Alvarado has delivered a lot of entertainment to fans. He has overcome personal struggles with addiction and brushes with law. He needs to focus on himself again and it starts with retiring from the ring, with the good wishes of everyone who’s enjoyed his fights.
Additional undercard results: Alimkhaanuly, Vianello win
Janibek Alimkhanuly of Kazakhstan (6-0, 2 KOs) delivered a 10 round unanimous decision a single round short of a shutout over Cristian Olivas of San Diego (16-5, 13KOs). “Qazaq Style” retains his WBO Global and WBC Continental Americas middleweight titles. Alimkhanuly has the solid fundamentals and clean punching delivery. The longer he trains alongside the likes of Lomachenko and company at The Boxing Laboratory, the more fans he’ll gain as he delivers flashier performances.
Guido Vianello (3-0, 3 KOs) delivered a knockout victory in 49 seconds against Lawrence Gabriel of Syracuse, New York (3-1-1, 2 KOs). The young Italian heavyweight nicknamed “Gladiator” moved right in against Gabriel. He began by landing a few opening jabs, adding in a left hook, and then driving Gabriel back to the ropes where a lead left and right hook finished the night in style. It’s a little early to get the heavyweight hype train rolling. So far Vianello, age 24, has delivered on his early promise and merits watching.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalism covering the Sweet Science for Communities Digital News. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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