Three weight world champion and current WBA Lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) returns to the ring this weekend.
The fact that this bout is even taking place is remarkable in itself. After Lomachenko’s last fight against Jorge Linares in May he needed to have shoulder surgery for a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
The question will mainly be centered around how Lomachenko will look after going under the knife for the first time?
Will he still appear to be the transcendent talent that he was before the injury? It does not seem as though Lomachenko is too worried about his injury.
It’s normal for fighters coming off surgery to take a light touch in their return fight. Lomachenko opted to go straight for a unification bout in his first fight back.
Pedraza is no pushover and he is sure to make Lomachenko work. Let’s take a look at how these two fighters stack up in this preview and prediction.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Coming into this matchup, Vasiliy Lomachenko seemingly has every skill advantage possible over Jose Pedraza. Lomachenko has been regarded as the best amateur boxer of all time and in the pros he has not disappointed.
He is rated the No. 1 boxer in the world by several outlets. You will seldom find anyone to disagree with that notion. In just 12 professional fights he is already a three-weight world champion.
With all that being said there is a bit of a silver lining for Pedraza as he has every physical advantage. The Puerto Rican native whose nickname is “The Sniper” will walk into the ring with a five-and-a-half inch reach advantage–71″ and 65.5″ respectively.
He will also have a one inch height advantage. It may not be much but he’ll need every advantage he can possibly get.
Jose Pedraza has been to the mountaintop. He has also been thrown off of it. In 2015, Pedraza captured the IBF Super Featherweight title.
He held that title for two years until he was knocked out by the undefeated Gervonta Davis. There is no shame in losing to Davis as he has proven to be one of the best young fighters out there.
However it was the manner in which he lost that was most disappointing. He was thoroughly dominated. It seemed as though Pedraza would have a hard time bouncing back from the kind of beating he took at the hands of Davis.
One year later and one weight class higher, Pedraza is once again a world champion after outpointing Raymundo Beltran for his WBO Lightweight title. Now this Saturday he faces hands down the toughest test of his career.
As for Lomachenko, his skill is undeniable. He has already competed in a fight of the year caliber matchup in his last bout against Jorge Linares.
What has everyone anxious about this matchup is that shortly after Lomachenko’s last bout he had surgery for a torn rotator cuff. Pedraza will put that surgically repaired shoulder to the test.
STRENGTHS FOR EACH FIGHTER
Jose Pedraza is a very good boxer. He counters very well and uses his movement to keep his opponents guessing.
He might not be able to utilize those strengths against someone the caliber of Vasiliy Lomachenko, but what he will be able to do is use his height and reach advantages.
It’s also worth noting that Pedraza is the more natural Lightweight so come fight night he will be the bigger man. He may be able to use that size advantage in wearing down the smaller Lomachenko.
Vasiliy Lomachenko is arguably the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world right now. You don’t reach those lofty heights without doing many things extremely well. Offensively he comes at his opponents in a variety of ways.
Defensively when he chooses to be he is almost unhittable. If we exclude sluggers and those that just want to turn their fights into all out brawls.
Just from a pure boxing standpoint you won’t find many if any better then Lomachenko.
WEAKNESS FOR EACH FIGHTER
Jose Pedraza is a capable fighter. He is technically sound in all areas. We have however seen him be outboxed in several rounds.
His matchup against Raymundo Beltran saw him get outboxed for several rounds.
Did Pedraza deserve to win that fight? Sure he did but he was still outboxed by someone who is not in the same stratosphere as Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Vasiliy Lomachenko does just about everything perfectly. His footwork is unreal, the angles he creates are breathtaking. Just his overall skills are almost like no other.
Defensively however Lomachenko can be a bit reckless. Now this is not to say that his defense is not great because it is, but sometimes he will have a few lapses.
Mostly when he feels as though his opponent cannot hurt him. In his fight against Miguel Marriaga, although Lomachenko dominated and ultimately stopped Marriaga in the seventh round, he was caught with a few clean shots.
In his last fight against Jorge Linares we saw Lomachenko hit the deck for the first time in his career. Also Lomachenko is not the biggest puncher in the world.
He does sport a 75 percent knockout percentage, but most of his stoppages come from an accumulation of punishment he is dishing out.
THE WINNER AND WHY
Vasiliy Lomachenko will become a unified champion this Saturday night. He is just simply too good for Jose Pedraza.
For as good as Pedraza is, Lomachenko is light years ahead of him in every category. This matchup will venture into the non-competitive zone.
Lomachenko will either box his way to a clear decision by winning every round or he will begin to punish Pedraza towards the middle and later rounds to force a stoppage.