Promoter Bob Arum has likened WBA and WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko to the late, great Muhammad Ali.
The Top Rank boss also praised Lomachenko’s father and trainer Anatoliy, calling him the best coach in the world.
Lomachenko 14-1 (10) will face IBF counterpart Teofimo ‘El Brooklyn’ Lopez 15-0 (12) at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.
“People don’t remember because they weren’t born then, but when Ali was in his prime, before the three and a half years when he couldn’t fight, he was an incredible technical fighter,” said Arum on Loma Official TV on YouTube.
“He had control over distance and how to move in the ring that nobody had ever seen before. Lomachenko has those kinds of skills and more.
“Lomachenko is the best fighter technically that I’ve seen since that early Ali. He is blessed with that one weapon that nobody else in the world has, and that’s his trainer, his father.
“Anatoliy is, in my opinion, the best trainer in the world. The way he trains Vasiliy, the discipline, and what they do in training is something that, unfortunately, that you don’t see in boxing.
“That is a weapon. When he goes into a fight, he has a game plan of how he will deal with his opponent’s aggression. [Floyd] Mayweather did that, and he was a great defensive fighter.
“But unlike Mayweather, Loma is always looking for a way to destroy his opponents. He doesn’t want an easy fight and to win a decision. He wants a win destroying his opponent and that’s something that makes him very, very fan-friendly.
“Anatoliy takes down notes from every training session that Loma has so that he can refer back to the notes. He’s a consummate professional trainer.
“I wish I could hire him to teach these other guys what a trainer should do and how he should act and what type of knowledge he should have because he could do a great service for the sport of boxing by imparting his knowledge to these young guys who are now trying to train fighters.
“He’s a lovely guy, and he knows how I respect his ability and everything about him. He devotes himself, and he wants to devote himself to his son, and that’s really his focus of all his attention.
“And he doesn’t want to spread out. He had the opportunity to train [Oleksandr] Gvozdyk, and he didn’t want to do it. I know [Oleksandr] Usyk calls because Usyk and Lomachenko are like brothers, he calls Anatoliy for help in that tournament, cruiserweight tournament.
“Anatoliy makes an exception for Usyk. He has no ambition to do anything else other than to train his son.”
Mark Kriegel of ESPN also cited Anatoliy as a key to Lomachenko’s success.
“The level of risk for Lomachenko keeps upping itself,” he said. “He’s still to me 126 pounds, and the physical dimensions are not in his favour in this division and yet this is all the dad’s plan.
“They keep upping the risk. I asked him, ‘Do you know the story of Icarus?’ His dad gives him wings, and he flies too close to the sun, and boom, he goes down.
“He [Lomachenko] said, ‘Yes, I know the story, but if I were Icarus, my dad would get a pair of wings and fly up there with me.’ He has complete faith in what his dad tells him, which is not always the case on the other side with Teofimo. Their conflict is more out there and more palpable.
“Your wings can get burnt by the son, that’s for sure, but Teofimo’s dad’s son doesn’t have the height and the reach that Luke Campbell had or Jorge Linares, who had the height and the reach and the straight right hands that seemed to bother Lomachenko as he moved up.”