Guess whose back? None other than the Pound-for-Pound King himself. Two-time Olympic Gold-Medalist, Triple-Crown winner & Ring-Magazine/WBA Lightweight Champion Vasiliy ‘Hi-Tech’ Lomachenko (11–1–0, 9KO) finally makes his long-awaited return post-right shoulder surgery from an injury that he suffered during his riveting bout with the great Jorge Linares.
Lomachenko was originally scheduled to fight on August 25th against then-WBO titleholder Rey Beltran but backed off of that date for additional recovery time. Beltran decided that he still wanted to fight on the scheduled day, and in came Jose ‘Sniper’ Pedraza (25–1–0, 12KO), who flipped the climate of the division on its head by defeating Beltran via unanimous decision. The initial idea of the Lomachenko/Beltran match was to get the ball rolling by establishing a unification bout, so naturally being that Pedraza won the title, Lomachenko stuck by his plans, and now we have the WBA & WBO titles on the line to be had.
Lomachenko, without disrespecting his opponent has indicated that this more-or-less is a tune-up fight to test the shoulder out before entertaining greater challenges at and around the division, which is very interesting considering that this is an immediate title-match after an operation without formally testing it inside the squared circle first, but hey…he is that good, to want to take a Championship opportunity immediately post-surgery and deeming it as a trial-run.
Pedraza is a solid, crafty fighter. The lone defeat of his career was to the young & talented Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis at Super-Featherweight, which prompted him to move up a division for more opportunities at elite opposition, which was proven in taking the Beltran fight, now he has a shot at a boxing savant in Lomachenko, hey it doesn’t get any more elite than that, so for Pedraza, this is the golden opportunity of his boxing life, considering whom will be standing opposite of Jose come Saturday night.
A master versus a craftsman…tune-in to ESPN on December 8th to watch the return of one of boxing’s vanguards, going up against a hungry fighter from Puerto Rico in a title-unification Showcase in the Mecca of all arenas, Madison Square Garden.