Martinez on Loss: Fast Hands not Expected • Latino Sports

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Martinez on Loss: Fast Hands not Expected

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New York, NY – Vasyl Lomachenko the undefeated junior lightweight from the Ukraine made boxing history Saturday night at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden becoming  a two-time champion and the quickest fighter in boxing history to have that achievement.

Moving up to the 130-pound division also means a possible return bout with Orlando Salido.

Yes, Salido who was in the fight of the year last week in gaining a draw against 130-pound champion Francisco Vargas last week and put the lone loss on Lomachenko in 2014.   A devastating fifth round knockout over Roman “Rocky” Martinez  left no doubt that the Olympian in seven pro bouts is destined to meet Salido again.

“ Line up all the fighters in 130 and see who the best fighter is,” Lomachenko said. “ I came to do my job and came to do it very well.”  He has proved that fighting the top competitors as an amateur prepared for this moment, and there is no difference because, boxing is boxing.

Top Rank has Lomachenko under contract. Bob Arum, the promoter was at ringside after spending the day before in Louisville attending the funeral for Muhammad Ali.  Arum was quick to say at ringside, “Lomachenko is the Greatest,” and it was not meant as a pun as the legendary career of Ali was celebrated on screens in the theatre prior to the Martinez-Lomachenko fight.

Greatness may now be the label for the now two-time champion. He has power and quick hand speed. Martinez saw a quick left uppercut  and right hand combination that put him on the canvas.

Said Lomachenko: “ I decicate this victory tonight to the greatest man who laced up gloves Muhammad Ali.”

“I knew he had quick hands but not like that,” Martinez said when he got off the canvas. Boxing history was achieved and Arum was quick to answer that there would no hesitation having a Lomachenko rematch, and putting that fight together soon in New York.

Lomachenko, in such a brief time span has become a fan favorite and a draw. Though the announced crowd of 4,555 was short of a sellout in the theatre, a good many of Ukraine descent were loud and dominated the cheers of the annual Top Rank card at the Garden on the eve of the National Puerto Rican Day parade that is held in New York City.

Lomachenko won’t be at the parade, and he wasn’t expected to be. Martinez may still be recovering from a fight that he was never in from the beginning. And the talk was about putting that fight together with Salido, who watched the fight up close a few rows from ringside.

“Hey Salido, I’m ready to fight you any time,” Lomachenko said. The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist was dominant with the hands and with his feet.  “Before the Vargas fight, I told him to win the fight but I never told him I wasn’t going to fight him if he didn’t, so let’s do it.”

Madison Square Garden would be the perfect venue, if and when the contract is signed. However, there a bill pending with the state of New York and the Athletic Commission that could prevent Arum or competing promoters from staging boxing shows in New York.

The NYSAC is in support of legislation that would request promoters to provide insurance, a million dollar bond to each fighter, Arum has stated that boxing will be done in New York for Top Rank and all promoters of the sport, and prior to the Top Rank event Saturday night there was a closed door meeting with the NYSAC and officials at Top Rank to lobby against the bill that is pending.

In the meantime, Lomachenko can celebrate his moment in boxing history. And there certainly is no argument to the fact that he is “The Greatest” becoming a two time champion as a professional with seven pro fights under his belt.

Verdejo stops Martinez at the Garden with TKO: Felix Verdejo, the Top Rank lightweight who is making it a tradition to fight in New York City on the eve of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade had an easy night and stopped Juan Jose Martinez (25-3, 17 K0’s) at 2:40 of the fifth round at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden.

Verdejo,  of San Juan Puerto Rico retained the WBO Latino championship lightweight title and used a barrage of punches before referee Michael Ortega put an end to the fight. It was a resounding win for Verdejo who kept his undefeated streak in tact at 22-0 with 15 K0’s.

He had control of the fight from the first round and the win ended speculation about Verdejo not having the ability to finish off opponents. His last two fights at the Garden, including a unanimous 12-round decision last June, also on the eve of the parade, left many doubts as to where he would stand among the top contenders in the division.

Martinez missed and could not land most of his punches as Verdejo took control in the first two rounds.

“I knew my career was on the line,” said Verdejo, “That’s why I worked so hard in camp and that’s why this win is so important.”

About Rich Mancuso

Established sports journalist and educator. Contact Rich at [email protected]

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