The current situation of Vasiliy Lomachenko is the perfect example of how cutthroat this sport can be. Only last year the birthday boy was the head honcho of his weight class and the talk of the town but is now barely included in the conversation of the elite boxers in the lighter divisions.

With a seemingly career defining loss last October and now with another year on the clock, at 33-years-old can the ‘hi-tech’ boxer rebuild his legacy stained by Teofimo Lopez? And, if yes, then how?

When Loma first came into the pro game, fans knew that they were in for a technical treat. He subverted the famous cliche of ‘you don’t play boxing’ by toying with most of his opponents and gave live audiences a first-class display of the sweet science.

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Loma’s unrivaled ability to create openings with his feet and exploit them with his accurate hands made him nearly unbeatable in his natural weight classes. Remember, this is not lost on the Ukrainian and he is still dangerous with this arsenal but fighting bigger opponents who could use their size to impose themselves against him made this skill set less effective.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist famously experienced how ineffective he can be on a judge’s scoreboard last October by losing to now-unified champ Lopez and has been out of the limelight since. Despite the threat that the former champion has to offer any lightweight, the boxing world instead chooses to focus on the exciting, young quartet of Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney, Gervonta Davis and Lopez- It seems that the ageing southpaw still has some respect to gain.

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Time is of the essence to gain this respect too, Lomachenko turns 33 today so every step must be forward, and every fight must be big if he wants to re-establish himself from what seems to have been a major setback. While some believe dropping down to the weight classes that he performed outrageously in is his path back to success, others feel that avenging his loss to Lopez would once again make him the superlative boxer at 135lbs.

It seems that Loma’s promoter, Bob Arum has an alternative idea that will get his career back on track. The 89-year-old told iFLTV that he wants his star man to face Masayoshi Nakatani as early as the summer in an event that would host fans. Nakatani has also suffered a decision loss to Lopez in his career but has recently knocked out Puerto Rican Felix Verdejo- one of the 396 men to have lost to Lomachenko in the amateur days.

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The Japanese boxer would have the height and reach advantage if this match-up were to be made, but that has been the case with every foe Lomachenko has fought against at 135lbs. If Nakatani can assert himself early on and make the Ukrainian cautious of his power, then it could prove another hard night at the office for the latter.

Regardless of who his next battle is against, I think it will tell us if his second career loss was only a slight taint to a legacy or if it shot down a whole career.

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