Crolla facing Lomachenko will be as shocking a mis-match as Alvarez’s demolition of Fielding

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THE idea that Anthony Crolla can beat Vasyl Lomachenko is about as fanciful as Jeremy Corbyn applying to be an Israeli citizen.

It was confirmed this week Crolla will fight Lomachenko for his WBA and WBO lightweight world titles at Staples Center, Los Angeles, on April 12.

Anthony Crolla insists he knows what he is doing in facing Vasyl Lomachenko

And that is about as disastrous a scenario  as sending Anthony off to climb Mount Everest without an oxygen mask.

In December, Scouser Rocky Fielding was presented as a Christmas toy for Canelo Alvarez to play with at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

It was bound to be an embarrassing encounter — the worst world-championship mismatch of 2018.

Inevitably, Rocky, despite his bravery, was floored four times in less than nine minutes before being stopped by the merciless Mexican — who didn’t shed a drop of sweat.

Vasyl Lomachenko will be overwhelming favourite to retain his WBA and WBO titles against Anthony Crolla
Ukrainian legend Vasyl Lomachenko will be overwhelming favourite to retain his WBA and WBO titles against Anthony Crolla
Getty Images – Getty
Anthony Crolla might not be smiling after he has faced pound-for-pound king Vasyl Lomachenko
Anthony Crolla might not be smiling after he has faced pound-for-pound king Vasyl Lomachenko at Staples Center, Los Angeles, on April 12

I’m afraid Crolla against Lomachenko, considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today, is just about as competitive.

Not surprisingly, the unrivalled Ukrainian is red-hot favourite and light years ahead of Crolla in all departments.

There are those who support such one-sided fights due to the financial rewards on offer.

Manchester's Anthony Crolla could get a battering but insists he is not'stupid or delusional'
Manchester’s Anthony Crolla could get a battering but insists he is not ‘stupid’
Getty Images – Getty

My view has always been that no amount of money is worth going into a world-title battle for — knowing deep down there is only a painful hiding to look forward to.

In 1959 Jim Wicks, Sir Henry Cooper’s wise and wily manager, turned down the opportunity for the British heavyweight champ to go to America to meet Floyd Patterson for the world title.

Wicks knew Cooper was out of his depth. And he was right because seven years later, Patterson — having long before lost his title and way past his best — came to Wembley and knocked Cooper out in the fourth round.

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I have every respect for Anthony but I believe he has let pride over-ride his common sense.

Crolla said: “I’m not stupid or delusional — I will need a career-best performance.

“But if I pull it off, it will be the biggest upset in British boxing history.”

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Crolla is blessed with more than his fair share of courage.

Five years ago, he ended up in hospital with a fractured ankle and skull after being hit over the head with a lump of concrete while tackling burglars raiding his neighbours’ house.

His boxing days seemed over.

But not only was he back in the ring 12 months later, he was crowned WBA world champion. Yet now at 32 — and after 43 fights — he is in the twilight of his career.


Those closest to him, however he protested, should have persuaded him to leave Lomachenko well alone.

The only consolation is the thought that Crolla’s highly respected and experienced trainer, Joe Gallagher, will have the compassion to pull him out if Lomachenko is putting too much on him.

If Anthony needs proof that you can mistakenly take one fight too many, he only has to watch the shadow of James DeGale being outpointed by Chris Eubank Jr last weekend.

Barry McGuigan has said many times: “A fighter is always first to know when to quit — and the last to admit it.”

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