NEW YORK -- It's 2 a.m. and Vasiliy Lomachenko is sitting at a corner table on the second floor of Jack Doyle's, a popular Irish pub two blocks north of Madison Square Garden. His father and trainer, Anatoly, is sitting to his left, and his manager, Egis Klimas, is sitting in front of him. As guests at his after-party hand him tickets, scarfs and gloves to sign, he rarely breaks a smile.
Despite walking to the pub after a dominating victory over Guillermo Rigondeaux, one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the world, Lomachenko isn't happy. As guests shower him with compliments and praise for his performance, he simply nods his head and says, "Yes" as if it was nothing more than a fait accompli.
"It's not a big win," Lomachenko said after arguably the biggest win of his career. "It's not my weight. It's not my size. It's not a big win for me. Maybe it is for people who love boxing but not me."
As Lomachenko walks around the second floor of the pub, he doesn't look like he has just been through a six-round boxing match in front of a sold-out crowd at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. There isn't a single blemish on his face or a limp in his step. Truth be told, he doesn't really look like a boxer at all.
He looks like he could take over for Daniel Craig and be the next James Bond or at least Bond's Ukrainian archenemy in the next Bond film. He breaks a smile for the occasional selfie with a guest and waves down at fans packing the bar below him, but he wants more than this.
"I want big fights, I want big names," Lomachenko said. "I'm ready."
It's hard to be a casual fan of boxing and truly appreciate what Lomachenko was able to do Saturday night and what he has done over his past four fights.
Rigondeaux had won all 17 of his professional fights and was unbeaten in the ring since 2003 going into Saturday. He was, like Lomachenko, a double Olympic Gold medal-winner and had a staggering 463-12 record as an amateur. He was undisputedly one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers on the planet, and Lomachenko completely outclassed him and forced him to be the fourth consecutive opponent to retire in the corner between rounds. Rigondeaux claims he injured his hand and felt some discomfort beginning in the second round, but he knew the fight was over as he sat in his corner after the sixth round.
It was the same helpless feeling Miguel Marriaga, Jason Sosa and Nicholas Walters felt when their fights were stopped because of a corner retirement.
Stephen A. fired up by Rigondeaux quitting
Stephen A. Smith is disappointed in how Guillermo Rigondeaux quit against Vasyl Lomachenko but Teddy Atlas says it was just a bad matchup for the Cuban.
While many casual fans tuned into Saturday's card after the Heisman Trophy ceremony hoping to watch a knockout, what they saw was far more impressive. It was like watching boxing's version of that scene in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" where the sacrifice victim gets his heart ripped out of his body. That's basically what Lomachenko did to Rigondeaux on national television.
Boxers don't quit. It's simply not their DNA. They might get knocked out or they might lose by lopsided unanimous decision, but they don't quit no matter how much they're outmatched. Over his past four fights, however, Lomachenko has been able to snatch the heart and soul of his opponent and crush it in front of their faces in a way we've never really seen another fighter do before.
"You're not dealing with a regular boxer here," said Hall of Fame boxing promoter Bob Arum, who must now find Lomachenko's next opponent. "You're dealing with a guy who is almost like a scientist when it comes to boxing. Who's going to beat this guy? This is really something special."
Lomachenko: My new nickname is 'No Mas-chenko'
Vasyl Lomachenko reacts to retaining the WBO Junior Lightweight Title by TKO after Guillermo Rigondeaux gave up after round 6.
Lomachenko's penchant for making his opponents quit has earned him a new nickname that will likely replace "Hi-Tech" and "The Matrix." After Saturday's win he said, "Maybe I change my [last] name. My name is now No Mas Chenko."
For 37 years, "No mas" in boxing has been associated with Roberto Duran quitting during the eighth round of his fight against "Sugar" Ray Leonard in 1980. It is one of the most famous moments in boxing history, but "No Mas Chenko" is almost making it routine when he steps into the ring.
We've never seen anyone quite like Lomachenko. It's as hard to compare him to someone as it was to find an appropriate comparison to LeBron James. Every now and again in sports, someone comes along and breaks the mold. They look different, train differently and compete differently before making their opponents wilt before them in a way they've never done before. If this was a traditional sport, where he was putting up big numbers and blowing out his opponents, he would be talked about as a star, but in boxing, casual fans want to be entertained. They don't want to watch someone getting demoralized to the point where they quit. Lomachenko would love to see that as well. He can't understand why anyone would ever throw in the towel.
"I fought with one hand in Macau (against Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo in 2014)," Lomachenko said. "It depends on you. If you want to win, if you want to fight, you're willing to die in the ring."
As Lomachenko's big night in New York bled into the next morning, he took one last look at the highlights of his win over Rigondeaux playing in the bar. It was a solid performance but not enough. It never is.
"I want more," he said. "I want more big fights and more big challenges. I want to be the best."