Roberto Duran vs Vasyl Lomachenko – Who Would Win?
Since the beginning of human existence we have engaged in hand-to-hand combat. Fighting is a universal language all cultures and nationalities understand. Boxing, in particular, has been an Olympic sport since 688 BC when it was performed in ancient Greece. About 300-500 years ago boxing evolved from its origins into prize fighting. After the creation of the London Prize Ring Rules, the sport evolved into the more popularly known Queensbury Rules system. Throughout the sport’s history there have been a plethora of greats in every decade and every century of the sport’s existence.
A prevailing question throughout time as been, “Can fighter ‘X’ beat fighter ‘Y’ in each of their prime?” This is the third entry in the series where we will take a look at two of the best lightweights in history with Roberto Duran battling one of today’s pound for pound greats, Vasyl Lomachenko. If you missed previous entries, click them below to see what you have missed so far in the series.
Roberto Duran (1970’s to early 1980’s) vs Vasyl Lomachenko (mid 2010’s-Present)
Roberto Duran-Brief Glance
“Hands of Stone” Roberto Duran (103-16, 70KOs) is considered by many today as the greatest lightweight boxer of all time. His career lasted throughout five decades, marking on the second boxer in history to that time to compete that task. The first to do so was heavyweight legend Jack Johnson. After beginning his career at the age of 16, Duran would go on a winning streak spanning four years and 31 bouts. This loss came to the hands of Esteban de Jesus, in which the two would invoke in a trilogy with Duran winning the last two bouts.
Streak Leading to Welterweight
Duran began another impressive winning streak, this time for eight years. The streak covered 41 bouts including two wins over de Jesus and a welterweight title victory over Sugar Ray Leonard in Quebec, Canada on June 20, 1980. With this win Duran won the WBC, The Ring, and the lineal welterweight championships.
Considered by many the greatest lightweight of all time, there are many accolades on the shelf of Duran. In 2002 The Ring Magazine “80 Greatest Boxers of the Last 80 Years,” Duran was ranked fifth. He is also a 2006 inductee into into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and a 2007 inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. In 1989 Duran won The Ring’s Fight of the Year for 1989 along with Iran Barkley in which Duran won a split decision, walking away with the WBC middleweight title. Duran won the 1983 and 1989 The Ring Comeback Fighter of the Year award as well for his resurgences in his already illustrious career.
The nickname “Hands of Stone” is not given to Duran for no reason. Duran was infamously known for his high pressure style and brutalizing punching strength. Much of Duran’s devastating damage comes from his close quarter strikes. A bit of intel into the mind of Duran from his own view, Duran once stated, ““I am not an animal in my personal life,” said Duran. “But in the ring there is an animal inside me. Sometimes it roars when the first bell rings.” Duran even earned a knockout at the age of 45 when he defeated Mike Culbert in September 1996. His style of boxing also earned him his last title (NBA super-middleweight title) at age 49 when he defeated Pat Lawlor in June 2000. This bout marked the fifth decade in a row in which Duran competed professionally.
Punching power alone will not give you a career that can span five decades. Duran knew better than to engage in all-out fire fights. He would counter strikes and use slips and rolls to setup his opponent for the devastating shot. A great defense is a key factor to a great offense.
Vasyl Lomachenko-Brief Glance
It’s rare for a boxer to be crowned as the current pound for pound best. However, that’s what Vasyl Lomachenko (14-1) has done. A lot of that has to do with his stellar amateur career which saw him earn an impressive 396-1 record. His lone amateur loss came at the 2007 world championships losing to the favorite, Albert Selimov. Lomachenko would exact his revenge defeating Selimov twice and one of those for the 2008 Olympic gold metal. Loma earned a second gold medal, again as a featherweight, in the 2012 Olympic games.
The 5’7″ Southpaw’s lone professional loss came in his second professional bout when he suffered a split decision loss to Orlando Salido for the WBO featherweight title. Salido was stripped of the title for missing weight and had a record of 42-12-2 entering the matchp. A master craftsman in the ring, he’s known for amazing speed, timing, accuracy, defense, and footwork. Loma lived up to his early hype winning the WBO featherweight title in third pro fight. He tied a mark set by Saensak Muangsurin for shortest time needed to win a world title. Muangsurin was a two-time winner of the WBC super lightweight title with eight title defenses.
Lomachenko joins a handful of about 15 boxers in history with multiple Olympic gold medals. On top of that, his amateur career is chalk full of World Championships gold as well as European Championships, Junior World Championships gold, and Caded European Championships golds.
In his first professional bout, Lomachenko earned a fourth round knockout of Jose Ramirez to win the WBO International featherweight title in October 2013. All 15 bouts of his professional career thus far have been for championships.
The Ring and ESPN both named Lomachenko Prospect of the Year in 2013 upon turning professional. CBS Sports named him Boxer of the Year in 2016 as well as HBO Sports naming him Boxer of the Year in 2016 and in 2017. Boxing Writers Association of America and The Ring named him Fighter of the Year in 2017. Continuing to rack up accolades so early in his career, Lomachenko walked away with the WBO’s 2019 Fighter of the Year.
With great reason, many consider Lomachenko the top of the pound for pound list in boxing today. He has unbelievable speed and his defense is as amazing has his offense. Lomachenko can strike while pressuring or countering. In an interview with Fight Hub TV, Mike Tyson has given Lomachenko his seal of approval when asked about who Tyson picks as his favorite fighter. Tyson stated, ““I think the best fighter in the world right now is a guy from the Ukraine called Lomachenko. He always does really well.” An indorsement from Mike Tyson can only say your talents in the ring are top level and world class. The thing that has to be remembered is Lomachenko is still very early in his professional career and his style will continue to evolve and change.
In the early history of this series, so far this is the hardest matchup to judge. Lomachenko is still very early in his professional career compared to any other boxer we will see or have seen thus far in the series. We don’t know what his peak performance will look like. He’s yet to really fight the top of the boxing world on a consistent basis yet. In comparison, Duran has shown us his ability spanning over five decades. He has won multiple world titles in multiple weight divisions. Lomachenko has yet to fight anyone near the level of Duran. Right now I have to go with Duran scoring the victory. Maybe if this matchup is re-evaluated a decade down the road, the prediction may be significantly different. Let us know what you think!