Lomachenko Defends Title to Start PPV
WBO featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko made his second defense of WBO featherweight title by knocking out Gamalier Rodriguez to begin the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view. “…I don’t agree that I am top 5 pound for pound, because I have to beat some of the best out there to earn that.” said Lomachenko after his knockout victory commenting to Max Kellerman about a comment Roy Jones Jr. made saying Lomachenko is already a top 5 pound for pound talent.
In the first round, Lomachenko sat back and looked what Rodriguez had as he mostly just assessed the punches and skills of Rodriguez, seemingly giving away the first round. The second round saw Lomachenko begin to open up with a few combination punches to the body, but still a bit timid after Rodriguez continued to invest in the body but was unable to control the action. The third was when the fight began to sway in favor of Lomachenko who was able to use footwork to create angles and becoming more accurate with shots all though never truly looking comfortable in the ring.
“I like to first feel out my opponents before I see what I can do.” said Lomachenko as Lomachenko explained his cerebral nature.
The fourth round saw Lomachenko take over the fight as he cut Rodriguez over his left eye and began to land six to ten punch combinations on Rodriguez who stood helpless in the middle of the ring with little head movement. Rodriguez’s corner offered little help telling him “…make it a street war” rather than advice he could use in the fight. The fifth saw Rodriguez lose a point for low blows which didn’t help his cause as he continued to absorb punishment from the talented boxer from the Ukraine.
The middle of the fight saw Lomachenko listen to his corner which advised him to box and not look for the knockout as he focused on just landing on Rodriguez and constantly keeping him of balance and turning Rodriguez to the left. In the seventh round a left hook to the body and then a straight left to the body forced Lomachenko to take a knee from the shots to the solar plexus, but Rodriguez was able to survive. The eighth saw Rodriguez lose another point for low blows and continue to get beat upon.
Lomachenko landed a thudding right hook in the ninth round that forced Rodriguez to take another knee, but this time referee Robert Byrd didn’t allow him to get back to his feet. For Lomachenko, this was a solid performance as the opponent was clearly not on his level so it functioned as a proper showcase fight. The knockout came with 59 seconds into the ninth round.