Vasyl Lomachenko(12-1 9kos) unifies by adding the WBA Lightweight title to his collection along with his current WBO 135lb title by defeating Jose Pedraza(25-2 12kos) via unanimous. The fight took place December 8, 2018 at Madison Square Garden, in New York on Top Rank on ESPN.
Sometimes a loss can actually boost a fighter, think George Groves in the first Carl Froch fight or Dillian Whyte against Anthony Joshua. This fight will perhaps boost Jose Pedraza in a similar fashion because there were points where he was doing things that no fighter has ever done to Lomachenko since Salido.
First of all, though props need to be given to Lomachenko, he didn’t quite look his sensational best but he clearly did win the fight. The fight seemed to take place with back and forth movements as opposed to the constant angle changes that perhaps we are used to in Lomachenko fights, and that was down to Pedraza’s skill. Having a sizeable reach advantage on the Ukrainian Pedraza flicked out the jab and never really stayed in one place long enough to become a sitting target for Lomachenko’s angle changes.
When Lomachenko did come in he would occasionally land some very solid body shots which possibly made Lomachenko think again about getting a fifth fighter in a row to quit. This was most evident in the 10th when Pedraza worked his jaband just boxed beautifully on the back foot. A fighter who was culpable in the past to fighting the other guy’s fight stuck to the game plan well, perhaps because he knew he had to, and he did find success. So, for that Pedraza is still very much in the mix at lightweight.
Perhaps however it is unfortunate that after Pedraza had a very good round in the 10th Lomachenko did come out and get two very solid knockdowns late on, and very quickly it did look like many of his previous fights, where one fighter was desperately covering up but the punches would be coming through the guard and then around the guard, and over and over again. Pedraza did somehow survive the round and did deserve to hear the final bell.
The very wide scorecards of 119-107 and two 117-109 was an unfair reflection for what was for 10 rounds a very competitive fight, and if Pedraza had been against a top tier fighter as opposed to a pound for pound star maybe it would have ended up in a toss up.
As for Lomachenko he’ll be assessing his options in a division that isn’t exactly stacked with names, maybe Anthony Crolla in the UK, but as for us the boxing public watching him, even in the dullest of his fights he still has the ability to turn on the style and look every bit the pound for pound star that he has become. Hopefully, We’ll get to see Loma vs WBC 135lb champion Mikey Garcia.
On the undercard Isaac Dogboe(20-1 14kos) takes his first professional loss in an upset unanimous decision against Mexico’s NEW WBO 122lb Champion Emanuel Navarrete(26-1 22kos).