Senior Boxing Journalist @JamesDielhenn
Lomachenko vs Campbell: Vasiliy Lomachenko has brawn but it is his brain that separates him from the rest
Last Updated: 02/09/19 6:17am
The fluorescent feet of Vasiliy Lomachenko did not stop flickering for the 36 minutes that he so majestically fought Luke Campbell.
Fought? It seems such an ugly word to describe what Lomachenko does in a boxing ring. He glides, slides, prances, dances. This great man wins giant portions of boxing matches without actually throwing a punch.
The magic in his boots allows him to do that. They nip across the canvas in a totally unique way that nobody else on the planet can replicate. Fail to follow the footsteps of this brutal waltz and Lomachenko will punch you from places that you are not aware of, a fate that many previous victims have succumbed to. Follow his footsteps, as Campbell so gamely did for the majority of Saturday's meeting, and he drains your legs of their energy and your brain of its concentration.
Pick your poison.
To box Lomachenko must be to like to play chess grand master Garry Kasparov without knowing every way your king can move. Opponents find themselves just trying to keep up, trying to stay afloat.
We were warned beforehand by Jason Sosa, one of Lomachenko's former foes: "His IQ? He can do whatever he wants in that ring, and he has fun doing it."
Sam Maxwell boxed him as an amateur and remembered: "I realised in that first minute how special he was because he was winning the round without even throwing punches. His footwork, his feints, they come together to wear you down and that's something you don't expect."
It is fair to consider Lomachenko as refined rather than a ruffian inside the ring, but don't ever overlook his vicious side. It is tempting to think of boxers as either KO artists or 12-round merchants, but part of Lomachenko's excellence is that he can do both.
He is a natural featherweight (126lbs) or super-featherweight (130lbs) but is dropping Olympic gold medal winners at lightweight (130lbs). He stopped Jorge Linares to the body and would have done the same to Campbell in the fifth round had the bell not interrupted.
When he was briefly stung himself, Lomachenko knew how to fight fire with fire and he ended a potentially difficult seventh round in control. He won't be out-gunned or out-thought.
The Ukrainian, for whom London must be becoming a favourite tourist destination after adding a win over Campbell to his gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, regretfully said pre-fight that he cannot be a superstar because of his limited grasp of the English language. He would merely have to settle for being the world's best boxer.
He is wrong.
The roar that filled York Hall, a venue where if the walls could talk they would tell some incredible boxing tales, last Wednesday was for Lomachenko. The public work-outs offered him a chance to mingle and the reception was like The Rolling Stones might expect in a foreign land where they had not toured for decades.
The guy is a star and perhaps does not know it, one of the many endearing things about him.
Boxing is in the midst of a glorious generation where Lomachenko is not alone at the top of the mountain, looking down upon the mere mortals. There is plenty of argument that he is not even the world's best boxer at the moment.
Terence Crawford has raw aggression and an ability to fight in several ways and, like Lomachenko, is a three-weight world champion. So is Naoya Inoue the tiny man with the massive punch who has needed a combined four rounds to beat three former world champions.
Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez has won championships in three divisions and his CV includes a win over Gennadiy Golovkin. Oleksandr Usyk cleaned out the cruiserweight division to become undisputed by beating champions in their back yards.
Errol Spence Jr, Mikey Garcia? Manny Pacquiao is still going.
But there is just something different about Lomachenko, the yellow and blue tornado of limbs. Each of these boxers are brilliant in their own right but Lomachenko relies on brain not brawn in the most macho of sports - he has thought and strategised his way to the top and that is what makes him a modern genius worth revelling in.