Vasyl Lomachenko will fight Miguel Marriaga at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles this Saturday night. Following on from the Pacquiao-Horn bout last month, ESPN will televise. They will also televise Terence Crawford’s upcoming world title unification clash against Julius Indongo. Lomachenko is a human matrix, bringing sublime moves, skills and footwork to the table, while defending his WBO super-featherweight strap.
Colombia’s Marriaga is a rugged operator who will come to fight (unlike Lomachenko’s
last-but-one opponent Nicholas Walters who effectively quit after being unable to figure out Loma) and look to force the action. Lomachenko’s most recent victim, Jason Sosa, also tried, to his credit, to take it to the champion but was on the end of plenty
of punishment for the duration of the bout. Expect Marriaga to suffer the same fate for as long as this fight lasts. Marriaga has only lost twice. The first came to the aforementioned Jamaican Walters and the second to WBO featherweight king Oscar Valdez.
Meanwhile, Mikey Garcia’s trainer Robert Garcia has added some fuel to the fire ahead
of a possible clash between his man and Lomachenko by criticising Marriaga as an opponent.
“He says he’s going to move up. When is he going to move up?” Garcia asked on Fighthype.com.
“Lomachenko always says he wants to fight the best. Marriaga’s not good for him, [he] just got beat by a featherweight.”
The fact that Marriaga lost recently to Oscar Valdez down at featherweight does make
this little more than a marking time fight for the supremely-talented Ukrainian.
After enjoying a peerless run as an amateur, punctuated by an unbeaten stint in the World
Series of Boxing, Lomachenko turned pro with Bob Arum’s Top Rank outfit in 2013 and debuted straight away against a contender, in the shape of Jose Ramirez. In only his second contest, Lomachenko stepped up to fight for a world title against Orlando Salido.
It was an unprecedented move but Salido was just too savvy (and some would say dirty) for the starlet and ground out a split decision win. Lomachenko remained undeterred, however, and fought the excellent Gary Russell Jr in only his third bout, winning a majority
decision. Three wins later he starched Roman Martinez in brutal fashion before befuddling Walters in only his eighth contest. Now sporting an 8-1 slate with six knockouts, Lomachenko’s achievements so far have been little short of phenomenal.
His 30-year-old opponent on August 5 boasts a 25-2 slate with 21 knockouts and as his
record suggests, Marriaga can punch a bit. The visitor built his record on the Colombian domestic scene with plenty of stoppages and a couple of ventures over to Mexico. As with many of these big-punching Colombians it’s hard to gauge what they are capable
of until they step up to the big time and test their power against the American-based elite. In 2014 Marriaga showed that he had something about him by crushing the reasonable Chris Martin in the sixth round and two fights later Bob Arum used him as a test
for Nicholas Walters. Game, crude and physically strong ‘The Scorpion’ pushed Walters hard but the Jamaican’s height, reach and superior skills garnered him a wide, unanimous decision victory. Marriaga hung around in America for long enough to grab a second
opportunity, against Valdez, and now Arum is using him for a third time.
I actually don’t expect Marriaga to get stopped by Lomachenko but as the bout progresses
I can see the Eastern European toying with his prey. Using unorthodox movements, outrageous angles and his wide array of punches to confuse, bemuse and control the brave but outgunned South American en route to a wide decision win.