firstname.lastname@example.org (Chris McKenna)
Vasiliy Lomachenko reckons we haven’t even seen the best of him yet.
That’s the man who has won two Olympic gold medals and two world amateur championships.
The fighter who became the fastest man to win world titles across three weights in the pro ranks.
Oh, and the one who has lost just twice – amateur and professional – since he started boxing in the port city of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi in Ukraine.
“I never showed my 100 per cent of my skill,” he said.
“Always there was some little problem.”
Quite the statement considering his achievements and what we have seen so far from the fighter who does things in the ring like no other.
In the early hours of tomorrow morning in Las Vegas, we may get to see the best of the WBA, WBO and WBC lightweight champion.
Lomachenko is facing rising American ace Teofimo Lopez in boxing’s best fight since the sport returned from the coronavirus lockdown in the summer.
There has been a growing feeling in some quarters that, at 32, Lomachenko may be on the slide.
The term clutching at straws comes to mind.
Evidence seems to be the fact Luke Campbell made some of the rounds in their clash 14 months ago very close and even won a few.
That’s an Olympic gold medalist and one of the best in Britain. He wasn’t facing some no hoper.
Oh, and he still won quite comfortably. Even if he wasn’t overly satisfied with his own performance.
There is no doubt that Lomachenko is at a weight above where his body probably belongs.
But far from out of his depth, he is still the best in these waters.
Now he must prove it by dealing with the power of the ultra-confident Lopez, a thrilling prospect who is 15-0 and has stopped 12 of his previous opponents.
Lopez will have a big size advantage over Lomachenko, which those who are predicting an upset believe will be the key.
Even Lomachenko seemed taken aback on one of the pre-fight behind-the-scenes shows at the size of Lopez’s arms in comparison to his own.
Lopez, the Brooklyn-born boxer of Honduran heritage, is trained by his father Teofimo Sr, who has tried to unsettle Lomachenko since a bust-up in a New York hotel lobby in 2018 even to go as far as say his son will “break his neck”.
But claims by Lopez’s team that the man nicknamed by some as ‘The Matrix’ is shook may be pushing it a bit far.
Though expect to see a more switched on Lomachenko, who can find angles no boxer has dared to even try in the past.
He will know Lopez’s power could swing the bout at any moment which is why this is such a tantalising tussle.
But, much like one of Lomachenko’s best skills, timing is everything.
And it feels like this fight has fallen just right for the former world featherweight and super-featherweight title holder, who is nine years older than the IBF champion.
There is an easy comparison to make with Floyd Mayweather Jnr’s 2013 clash with Canelo Alvarez.
Lomachenko, like Mayweather Jnr, will have to use his experience and guile to help ensure he remains the master while Lopez, like Canelo, will learn so much in the early hours of Sunday that will add to his ability even if he remains the apprentice.
Unfortunately for Rio 2016 Olympian Lopez, he is a little more green than Alvarez was back then so the challenge here is even greater as he looks to take the crown of the best lightweight in the world.
There is a debate to be had by some if the WBC title is on the line or not but this column isn’t going down the road of explaining the lunacy of that so just accept the winner is the king at 9st 9lb.
And if Lomachenko says the best is yet to come from him then it is hard to see beyond a 15th win and another title in the collection of one of the most remarkable boxers to ever step in a ring.