Any rumors of former pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko's demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Lomachenko (16-0, 11 KOs), a former three-division champion, reminded anyone in need of convincing just how close to his physical prime at age 33 he remains. The two-time Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine succeeded last Saturday in so thoroughly dominating former 135-pound champion Richard Commey that Lomachenko was pleading to the referee to stop the fight.
The victory was the second straight for Lomachenko since his 2020 upset loss to Teofimo Lopez Jr., a fight in which hindsight might tell us Lopez overachieved on the same night Lomachenko took a bit too long to make his second-half adjustment. Lopez's recent shocking defeat at the hands of upstart George Kambosos Jr. turned the power structure upside down at 135 pounds, making Lomachenko as dangerous a threat as ever to unifying titles.
Lomachenko was crisp and brilliant against Commey, which the oddsmakers expected in making him a big favorite. But it was the swagger Lomachenko employed and his commitment toward being more physical in the clinch that provided a nasty edge to the process.
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This was Lomachenko activating his former persona of "NoMasChenko" for the first time in more than two years. Although Commey ultimately finished the fight in a wide decision defeat, Lomachenko's demeanor suggested he was looking to make a point.
Lomachenko's shift towards presenting a bigger presence on the inside could be the genius tactician doing his best to offset his inevitable physical decline considering his style is so dependent upon speed and reaction time.
Should he be unable to draw title bouts against Kambosos or WBC titleholder Devin Haney, Lomachenko just might find himself with an opportunity one division lower against unbeaten junior lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson. Both fighters are promoted by Bob Arum and Top Rank.
| 1. Canelo Alvarez||57-1-2, 38 KOs||Undisputed super middleweight champion||--|
|The best in the world somehow keeps getting better. Alvarez became the first undisputed king at 168 pounds by stopping unbeaten Caleb Plant. The Mexican superstar is weighing his options between light heavyweight and cruiserweight regarding his spring return.|
|2. Terence Crawford||37-0, 27 KOs||WBO welterweight champion||--|
|No longer can Crawford's critics claim he has yet to face an elite fighter in the 147-pound division. "Bud" made an incredible series of adjustments to slow down and finish Shawn Porter in their November pay-per-view clash. As he enters promotional free agency, it's time for Crawford to secure the fights that will cement his legacy. |
|3. Naoya Inoue||19-0, 17 KOs||Unified bantamweight champion||--|
|Inoue, the Japanese "Monster," closed off 2021 with a stay-busy knockout in his native country. The 28-year-old slugger can do it all and has yet to find his ceiling as to how high up in weight he can carry his power.|
|4. Errol Spence Jr.||27-0, 21 KOs||Unified welterweight champion||--|
|Surgery on a detached retina forced Spence out of a PPV date against Manny Pacquiao in August and has raised concerns over the 31-year-old's future. When active, Spence has the making to be a generational talent, but injuries have slowed his progress.|
|5. Vasiliy Lomachenko||16-2, 11 KOs||Lightweight|
|At 33, Lomachenko spent his time in 2021 reminding fans of his greatness despite an upset loss to Teofimo Lopez Jr. the previous year. With the recent upheaval atop the division, Lomachenko is dangerous as anyone to the undisputed crown. |
|6. Tyson Fury||31-0-1, 23 KOs||WBC heavyweight champion|
|"The Gypsy King" returned from a near two-year absence to rise from the canvas twice in a thrilling 11th-round knockout of Deontay Wilder in their trilogy bout. Although Fury's hope of becoming undisputed champion in 2021 failed to happen, he remains the face of the division.|
|7. Oleksandr Usyk||19-0, 13 KOs||Unified heavyweight champion|
|The former undisputed cruiserweight champ upset the apple cart at heavyweight by convincingly outpointing Anthony Joshua in London. A contractually obligated rematch is up next, likely early in 2022, as Usyk continues his takeover of a second division.|
|8. Josh Taylor||18-0, 13 KOs||Undisputed junior welterweight champion||--|
|"The Tartan Tornado" made a resounding statement in May when he dropped and outpointed unbeaten Jose Ramirez to unify all four titles at 140 pounds. Next up is a mandatory defense in February against Jack Catterall.|
|9. Shakur Stevenson||17-0, 9 KOs ||Junior lightweight champion||--|
|The two-division champion produced the breakthrough performance his talent had regularly teased when he stopped Jamel Herring in October to claim a 130-pound title. At just 24, the southpaw is already being compared to a young Floyd Mayweather.|
|10. Gervonta Davis||25-0, 24 KOs||Secondary lightweight champion||--|
|"Tank" battled through an injured hand to outpoint a determined Isaac Cruz in their December pay-per-view bout. Davis appears focused on campaigning at lightweight for the near future where a number of big-fight opportunities await him.|
Dropped out: Teofimo Lopez Jr.
Honorable mention: Juan Francisco Estrada, Artur Beterbiev, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Yordenis Ugas, Roman Gonzalez