WBO Lightweight World champion Jose Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs) has chosen the red pill as he prepares to enter the complex world of the matrix this Saturday night in a unification bout with the man likened to its fiction character Neo for his ability to evade punches, the man I am of course referring to is current Pound 4 Pound King Vasyl Lomachenko in a contest that will take place at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York.
“I’m going to show him the kind of boxer that I am, of good boxing quality and technically speaking. I am a great fighter and I have a great condition to make a good fight and even beat him” Said Pedraza “I’m going to do my job and I hope to do it at face value. And if I do, I plan to win,”
“I said it’s going to be a technical war. We are very technical boxers, but we also like to apply pressure. It’s going to be a very interesting fight. Obviously (I’m going in) well prepared to fight those 12 rounds along with him. That’s why we selected (to train in) Las Vegas, because of its elevation, to have better condition than Lomachenko and to overcome his speed and lateral movements. Neutralize all of that.
“We have here the cold factor (in Las Vegas) that complicates the training to sweat, but we are compensating with good nutrition. That’s why I understand that we are ready. I’d say it’s better because we can eat a little bit of a bigger portion and keep up with a lot of energy.
“We are close. I am very happy and anxious to come in there to bring that victory to Puerto Rico.”
Coming off a brilliant display in his decision win over Reymundo Beltran in defence of his title, Pedraza enters on the back of a three fight winning streak since his only career loss to Gervonta Davis back in January 2017.
Wins over the likes of Tevin Farmer, Edner Cherry, Stephen Smith and the aforementioned Beltran mirrors the qualities that Pedraza possesses but I doubt he has ever taken a test as stern as the one presented to him on Saturday night.
Winning has become a habit that opposing fighters barring one (Salido) have been unable to break against WBA Super Lightweight World Champion Vasyl Lomachenko, considered one of the greatest Amateur boxers of all time, it came as no surprise to see him quickly adapt to the paid ranks before his quick elevation on becoming a three-weight world champion as he now find himself on the continuation of finding a suitable test for his abilities.
The general consensus is that he is the best pound 4 pound fighter in the current landscape, proving of his standing to the rare sections of doubters with another sterling display last time out in his stoppage win over Jorge Linares, having to get off the canvas whilst incredibly also battling a torn labrum to do so.
Holding wins over Guillermo Rigondeaux, Gary Russell Jr, Rocky Martinez and Nicholas Walters have solidified his position but this weekend marks the first time he will attempt to unify a division, potentially meaning another feat to tick off his list of already impressive achievements
“I want to unify titles. It was my first goal when I came into the pros. I tried to unify titles at 126, 130, now I try at 135. Maybe this weight will be lucky for me. … I want to prove my father is the best coach, a genius of boxing. That’s why I do this. But it’s not his plan, it’s not his choice about second titles, third titles, it’s my choice. I want to put my name in boxing history.”
As for the challenge that presents itself, Lomachenko simply says “My father watched when he won his title, and he explained what I need to do in the training. … My father is the gamer, I am the game. … We have a little secret for this fight, we’ve changed a little bit of the strategy. So we’ll see in the ring.”
At times and more often in our current generation, a undercard can become a dull affair where PPV events are concerned, promoters happy to stack heavily the headliner whilst using the undercard to give expirience to the new kid on the block, who usually test their abilities against journeymen or out of their depth combatants, but I am glad to say that this is not the case here, as we get to witness the return of the exciting talent of WBO super-bantamweight champion Isaac Dogboe (20-0, 14 KOs) in defence of his title against Mexico’s Emanuel Navarette (25-1, 22 KOs).
Dogboe didn’t tentatively knock on the door in order to become a fan favourite this past year, he decided to take matters into his own hand and kicked the door off its hinges, The Ghanian born-Londoner burst on to the scene with a knockout win over Cesar Juarez before upsetting the odds in handing defeat to Jessie Magdelano who was made to hand over his WBO crown.
‘The Royal Storm’s’ most recent trip to a boxing ring seen him knockout the usually tough Hidenori Otake, dare i say it? Showing glimpses of his legendary countryman Azumah Nelson who he looks to imitate before surpassing as Ghana’s greatest.
Looking to halt that progress will be the tough task of Emanuel Navarette to accomplish as he looks to keep alive a winning streak that goes back an impressive six years. This contest represents the first time travelling outside his native country (Mexico).
Opening the tripleheader will be the always exciting lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez (10-0, 8 KOs) who will take the next step on his road to superstardom against a tricky proposition in Mason Menard (34-3, 24 KOs).
Uk fight fans will be happy to know that they can watch this on BoxNation whilst in the US, American audiences can view the action on ESPN at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT