This Saturday December 8th, the overtly ambitious professional career of Ukrainian badass, Vasyl Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KO's) commences live from the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden. It’s an accelerated, roller-coaster course for sure, so it’s only fitting Lomachenko would end a nearly seven-month layoff, nursing a shoulder injury no less, with a unification bout. Top Rank Boxing on ESPN broadcasts live (8PM CST) as the WBA 135-pound champion clashes with fellow southpaw and WBO ruler Jose Pedraza (25-1, 12 KO's).
Lomachenko, 31, a two-time Olympic gold medalist with no time to waste, embraced an abbreviated prize fighting route from the outset. Challenged for a world title in just his second bout, world champion by his third. If that wasn’t a bold enough early statement, “High-Tech was a two-division titlist by the seventh and a certified three-weight kingpin, future hall of famer on the strength of his most recent victory, over another three-division belt holder, Jorge Linares.
Pedraza, a 2008 Puerto Rican Olympian is a longer than long-shot to upset this particular apple-cart, but he’s capable. He brings superior length, a respectable right jab, he’s ballsy, not easily discouraged, has good hand-speed and throws in combinations. He knows what he’s doing in the squared circle. Pedraza acquired a second belt in as many weight classes with a decision over the rugged Ray Beltran, who was slotted to unify with Lomachenko.
For what it is worth, Pedraza’s only loss is a 7th round defeat at the hands of Gervonta “Tank” Davis, for the IBF 130-pound strap. Comparisons will obviously ensue, even though Lomachencko’s a superior fighter at this juncture. Nonetheless, “Tank” hits harder than Loma punch for punch; Loma's shots are more precise, but Davis’ sound heavier, more thudding on impact. Pedraza took Gervonta’s best before eventually succumbing, but he certainly wasn't an easy win. He won’t beat Vasyl Lomachenko, but Jose Pedraza will acquit himself admirably.
Do yourself a favor and check out the undercard featuring sizzling hot lightweight prospect, Teofimo Lopez (10-0-8 KO’s) against veteran Mason Menard (34-3, 24 KO’s) as well.