OXNARD, California — While a proposed boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor would certainly promise a (lucrative) show, opinions differ on whether it would produce anything that actually resembles a compelling fight.
As the combat sports world speculates over that matchup, a different chapter in boxing vs. MMA took place recently just off the California coastline.
Junior lightweight world titleholder and two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs) and former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw (14-3) sparred for four, four-minute rounds last week inside World Boxing Gymnasium.
It was a marquee matchup to say the least. ESPN.com currently ranks Lomachenko and Dillashaw the No. 3 pound-for-pound fighters in their respective sports.
The sparring session was not for the sake of show — or money. It happened because both athletes felt it would be fun and, for Dillashaw, beneficial.
“I need to learn what’s up,” said Dillashaw, before stepping into the ring. “I’m always trying to expand my knowledge as a mixed martial artist. I’m such a big fan [of Lomachenko], I wouldn’t pass this opportunity up. Even if I get obliterated, it’s something I’ll remember forever.”
After four rounds, it was abundantly clear that Dillashaw had lost.
In his defense, it wasn’t a fair fight. In addition to enjoying the very obvious advantage of it being a boxing match, Lomachenko was in superb shape. He fights Jason Sosa next Saturday in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Dillashaw isn’t expected to fight until July, and he was visibly fatigued after the first round.
Afterwards, when asked if he felt he could have landed anything he wanted at any time, Lomachenko confidently responded, “Yes, I feel that. Yeah.”
He also gave Dillashaw credit, however, particularly for a few shots landed in the opening four minutes. About midway through the first round, Dillashaw swung over the top of Lomachenko’s head with a left hook, then pivoted to his left and connected a…