Watching Vasiliy Lomachenko on Saturday night, you got the feeling that he was waiting for the right time to really let loose on Jose Pedraza. But you also might have wondered if that opportunity would ever come.

Through 10 rounds, the WBA lightweight champion and arguably pound-for-pound boxing king’s offense had been relatively bottled up, unable to truly manufacture flurries of punches. And any time, “Hi Tech” was able to piece together a flurry of punches, he was met with counterpunch combos from Pedraza, as the Puerto Rican boxer was able to get back outside and pepper Lomachenko with the jab, using every bit of his nearly six-inch reach advantage.

But then the 11th round came and all that changed. Lomachenko stunned Pedraza with a left hook, sparking an onslaught of punches that ended in the “Sniper” taking a knee. Lomachenko smelled blood. Seconds after Pedraza rose off the canvas, Lomachenko rushed him, sending him back down following an unforgiving right hand. That round paved the way for Lomachenko to score a unanimous decision, unifying his WBA lightweight title with the WBO championship that he just won. In the aftermath of his victory, Lomachenko’s 11th-round blitz and the damage that he was able to produce was downright staggering.

But just as reeling was Lomachenko’s real-time patience and poise to remain committed to his game plan. After his victory, Lomachenko revealed that strategy to a pool of reporters.

“My strategy was I had to do something for Pedraza [so he] was kind of already thinking, ‘I could win this fight,’” Lomachenko said. “That’s why I didn’t throw so many punches [before the 11th round], where he can think to himself where he could beat me and that was my strategy.”

That strategy involved taking scattered punishment — via Pedraza’s jab — for the fight’s first 10 rounds, before deciding that it was time to mash the dash and unleash the 42-punch barrage that a sold-out crowd at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden and many more on ESPN witnessed.

And that onslaught wouldn’t have been possible if Lomachenko didn’t master his restraint and poise.

When Sporting News asked Lomachenko about the patience he had to have before that explosion in the 11th round, the 30-year-old Ukrainian was as efficient with his answer as he was in the ring with his fists.

Loma pins Jose Pedraza down the canvas
Loma pins Jose Pedraza down the canvas
“I had to wait until he was slowing down,” he said, “and after that, I can do my job.”

And a job he did, flexing his real-time fight IQ just as impressively as his lightning-quick punches and smooth footwork. Lomachenko’s patience is one of the traits that make him great. His patience is also a quality that should put boxing on further notice that “Hi Tech” can turn it on just like that and end a fight.

“I think people who love boxing like this fight,” Lomachenko said.

When one member of the press asked Lomachenko if he would entertain a rematch with Pedraza, he felt insulted.

“Rematch? For what? For who?” Loma fired back. “It’s not too close (of a) fight. For me, not interesting.”

He’s right. And if you’re familiar with Lomachenko’s career, you know that every fight must be meaningful. It’s why he asked Top Rank’s Bob Arum for a title shot for his very first pro fight back in 2013, with the veteran promoter delivering the opportunity his second bout — a March 2014 loss to Orlando Salido, the only blemish on his 12-1 (9 KOs) record.

Following his victory Saturday night, Lomachenko didn’t waste time, making his next intentions clear.

“I want two more belts and maybe next year we can make a fight with Mikey Garcia,” he said in the ring during his post-fight press conference about further unifying the lightweight titles.

Garcia holds the WBC lightweight strap and is moving up two weight classes to face welterweight champ Errol Spence on March 16. Regardless of how Garcia fares daring to be great in that bout, Lomachenko wants a fight with him for the opportunity to get one step closer to becoming undisputed lightweight king.

That won’t be an easy task to set up, considering the frigid relationship with Top Rank, which Lomachenko fights under, and Premier Boxing Champions, which touts Garcia as one of its many stars.

Yet, Lomachenko is going to push for it. After all, his patience is only exhibited in the ring during fights; not while booking bouts.

Source: Mark Lelinwalla