Anthony Crolla came to Los Angeles for last night’s fight with Vasiliy Lomachenko feeling in the best shape of his career, and in all honesty, the Manchester fighter looked it on the scales Thursday, and in the ring on Friday.
But it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t close to enough. Lomachenko dominated the fight and knocked Crolla out in the fourth round, winning just as easily as oddsmakers and fight fans and fight media and, well, basically everyone thought he would.
Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KO) said after the fight that he was disappointed, even though he knows he lost to a great fighter:
“My pride is a bit hurt, my team put so much effort in with me. I’m a bit gutted. I lost to a special fighter, I just wanted to give a better account of myself, but he hit me with a great shot. It’s the first time I’ve been hit like that. As I went down I knew as frustrating as it was, I wasn’t going to beat the 10 count, my senses went everywhere.”
Lomachenko’s future is pretty clear: he wants to unify the lightweight division, maintain his standing up top in the pound-for-pound rankings; basically, go on being great.
As for Crolla’s future, he’s saying he may have one more fight left:
“I wouldn’t really want to go out like that but I’ve banged on about staying in boxing too long. I love this sport, it’s a big part of my life but I’ve not got much left now, so we’ll see whether we’ve got one more later in the year. ... I don’t want to go out like that but the end is near.”
At 32, Crolla, a former WBA titleholder, has realistically probably done all he’s going to do in boxing, but that’s an outsider’s take on it. Yes, Lomachenko thrashed him, but Lomachenko is not the average lightweight, not the average lightweight contender, not even the average lightweight titleholder. There is no shame in losing to Loma, even that one-sided.
He’s not old yet, and you have to keep in mind, too, that Crolla is speaking from an emotional place here. He’ll take time, regroup, and figure out what’s next later on.
But more and more, fighters at least try to make their money and get out before the game conquers them, which is a good thing. If Crolla is at a place where he can retire before taking unnecessary punishment just hanging around in the sport, that’s really the ideal. He’s had a good career, he’s won a world title, he’s been in with top fighters. There’s really no more to do that he hasn’t already done.