Vasyl Lomachenko is a truly special fighter. We have known this, and he reminded everyone of it tonight, unifying two titles at Lightweight, and very nearly stopping Jose Pedraza en route to a dominant decision win.
The performances we have seen from Lomachenko to date set a ridiculously high bar. And in his last two fights, he hasn’t quite cleared that bar. Since moving up to Lightweight, he’s gone down for the first time, and he’s gone to the judges for the first time since his 4th pro fight. He’s still amazing, still the best pound for pound boxer in the sport. But he set his own standards at such a high level that it’s hard not to look at these two fights, the two fights since he moved up to Lightweight, as being not quite indicative of his very best. Is that because of how skilled Linares and Pedraza are? Is it because of the shoulder injury suffered in the Linares fight and its aftermath here? Is it a result of the change in weight? We may need to see what lies ahead to know those answers.
Of course, it has to be said again, that even “not his very best” Lomachenko still beats two of the division’s elite with relative ease. And that’s why he’s the king right now.
Thoughts on the rest of the card:
- Brutal, brutal pacing on the show tonight. It started a full 80 minutes before HBO’s own card, included a 44 second knockout, and still wrapped up at the same time as HBO. Terrible.
- Isaac Dogboe came in to this fight as the clear A side. But Emanuel Navarrete was not having it. He refused to be awed by the heavily hyped champion and instead took the fight to Dogboe, putting constant pressure on him right from the beginning. He let off the gas a bit in the middle rounds, allowing Dogboe back in it, but then resumed his assault in the final rounds, coming very close to stopping the fight. He obviously won it, but this is boxing so there was a lot of worry over the final cards. But, thankfully, all turned out fine, with Navarrete winning the decision. Dogboe came in an undefeated -800 favorite world champion and walked out with his eyes swollen shut, his belt gone – tremendous credit to Navarrete for this massive win.
- Like Dogboe, Teofimo Lopez came in a hot fighter with all the pressure on him. I thought Mason Menard would test the young prospect. I was wrong. So very, very wrong. It took just 44 seconds for Lopez to KNOCK Menard OUT. A right hand turned Menard’s lights out, froze him on his feet, then left him tumbling to the mat a la Terry Etim vs. Edson Barboza. That’s a late entry to the KO of the Year candidacy, and a tremendous performance from Lopez. Great stuff.
It’s a busy time in boxing right now, so we’ll see you next week for Canelo Alvarez vs. Rocky Fielding.
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