Joe Gallagher has worked with former lightweight titleholder Anthony Crolla for a very long time now, and the two of them have achieved some big things. In a few days, though, Crolla is being asked to take on the man who may be the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing, Vasiliy Lomachenko.
The fight card streams live this Friday on ESPN+.
Gallagher notes that he’s been in this sort of position before, pointing out the Andre Ward-Paul Smith and Canelo Alvarez-Liam Smith fights, where he trained the underdogs. Of course, they both lost quite clearly.
But Gallagher says that Crolla (34-6-3, 13 KO) can be expected to give everything he’s got, whatever happens:
“This is just part of the business, when you’re going in against guys at the absolute highest level of the sport, and I know for an absolute fact that whatever the result when Crolla takes on Lomachenko, he’ll give it his all, and he won’t disgrace himself, either.”
I don’t think anyone doubts Crolla will put in the best effort he can, it’s simply a matter of levels. As we discussed elsewhere, Crolla is a good fighter. Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KO) is an elite talent.
The fight, which will take place at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, will also be Crolla’s first in the United States since 2011, when he came over for a deep undercard spot on the Mayweather-Ortiz pay-per-view. He was unimpressive that night, beating club fighter Juan Montiel via split decision over eight rounds. He was British lightweight champ at the time, but just didn’t have one of his best performances, to say the least.
Crolla has gone on to win a world title and become a legitimate player in the division. He lost a couple fights to Jorge Linares, but he’s won three straight. I think if nothing else, we can all agree that Crolla will be there to win, no matter the odds. But the odds are certainly and dramatically against him.