Vasyl Lomachenko and Jose Pedraza unify the lightweight championship of the world on Saturday, December 8th at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden, New York.
Lomachenko captured the WBC lightweight title in his last fight, knocking out Jorge Linares in 10 rounds last May. Jose Pedraza meanwhile won the WBA lightweight belt by outpointing Ray Beltran in 12 rounds last August.
Vasyl Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs)
Vasyl Lomachenko is considered as the greatest amateur fighter of all-time. The Ukranian boxer is a two-time Olympic Gold medalist and two-time World Championships Gold medal winner who finished his amateur career with an incredible record of 396-1 with his loss avenged twice. Lomachenko is the fastest fighter to capture a world title, doing so in his third professional bout. He is the fastest to win titles in two weight classes, accomplishing the feat in his seventh bout and a third weight class in his 12th. Now he gets an opportunity to unify a world title in only his 13th professional bout.
Loma has supreme boxing skills and is a marvel inside the ring. He has tremendous footwork, extremely fast hands, unlikely punching power and an unbelievable boxing IQ. The latter though is what makes him special as Lomachenko is able to figure out any opponent by adapting his style in-bout. He’s beaten boxers and sluggers, taller and shorter foes. You name them, he’s beaten everyone.
Jose Pedraza (26-1, 12 KOs)
Jose Pedraza isn’t as high profile as Loma but he’s equally experienced both in the pros and the amateur level as well. Pedraza represented Puerto Rico in many international competitions as an amateur. He won the bronze medal during the 2008 Olympics and the silver medal in the 2009 World Amateur Championships. Pedraza beat Andrey Klimov in 2015 to win the IBF super featherweight title. He defended it twice before losing the belt to Gervonta Davis via knockout last year. Pedraza moved up in weight and captured the WBO lightweight title by beating Ray Beltran.
The Sniper is an excellent boxer who can fight using both stances. Pedraza moves freely from orthodox to southpaw inside fights, confusing opponents and making them second guess. He leads with a laser like jab and has crisp punch combinations that scores easy point for him. Because he is primarily a boxer, 13 of his wins have come via decision. Although he has 12 knockouts, he doesn’t have the knockout power of Lomachenko.
Lomachenko is a heavy favorite in this title bout and we looked at the top betting sites to get the best value for him. Although it’s still not that tempting, Lomachenko’s best price is currently the +3500 at Bovada as of 12/7/18 as most betting sites have him at +5000 Meanwhile, if you think Pedraza pulls off a monumental upset, the best value for the challenger is +1325 at gtbets.eu as he is a +1200 in many betting sites.
There are several prop bets for the Lomachenko vs Pedraza fight at 5dimes.eu and here are a couple that provide excellent value for Loma:
Lomachenko wins inside the distance -270
Not Lomachenko inside the distance +230
Lomachenko wins by 12 round decision +280
Not Lomachenko by 12 round decision -340
Betonline.ag also has an OVER/UNDER for this bout and that line has been set at 9.5 rounds:
Over 9.5 rounds +153
Under 9.5 rounds -173
Which Bet To Make?
Now I don’t think there’s a question of who’s going to win this fight really. While Pedraza isn’t the massive underdog that he is on paper, I still don’t think he has a chance of beating Loma. Now this brings us to how Lomachenko is going to win this fight.
The Linares bout is the key in predicting this fight because Lomachenko has climbed the weights since turning professional. He’s won world titles at featherweight, junior lightweight and now lightweight. While Loma carried his power in his last fight, he did feel the punches of a bigger opponent in Linares. No, Linares didn’t really hurt Loma with the knockdown as it was more of a flash knockdown but still, Hi Tech wouldn’t have gone down against a smaller opponent.
What I’m driving at is this. Lomachenko is not as a devastating knockout artist at lightweight than he was at the lighter weight classes. That’s what usually happens when a fighter keeps climbing the divisions. We saw that with Manny Pacquiao as well. We’re seeing that with Loma.
Still, it’s hard to bet on Lomachenko picking up another stoppage here. He’s stopped his last eight opponents and did so methodically. I think Loma gets the stoppage here but it will probably be at the middle rounds at least. I’m thinking in the championship rounds though and I won’t be surprised if Pedraza quits on the stool too. Loma’s so damn good in making his opponents quit.
Prediction: Lomachenko by knockout but I won’t be surprised if it goes the distance. Between a stoppage or decision, I like the knockout. If you want to bet on the mode of victory, go bet on Loma winning inside the distance.
But we also talked about Loma climbing weights and in his last eight fights, half have ended past round nine. As I said earlier, my personal pick is a late stoppage so if you ask me, I’m betting on the Over 9.5 rounds in this fight. Whether Loma wins by KO in the championship rounds or he wins by decision, I get the win. I’ll take the plus money with me too.