HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Lomachenko vs. Martinez, Verdejo vs. Martinez
By: William Holmes
Top Rank Promotions has a tradition of putting on a boxing card in New York City during the weekend of the Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade, and on this Saturday they will put on a card at the Theatre in Madison Square Garden.
HBO will televised this card live on their Boxing After Dark broadcast.
Two bouts will be shown. The first bout will feature fast rising Puerto Rican prospect Felix Verdejo against Juan Jose Martinez in the lightweight division. The main event will feature amateur legend and former Olympic Gold Medaliast Vasyl Lomachenko bumping up a weight class to face Puerto Rican boxer Roman “Rocky” Martinez for Martinez’s WBO Junior Lightweight Title.
The following is a preview of both of the televised fights.
Felix Verdejo (21-0) vs. Juan Jose Martinez(25-2); Lightweights
Many felt Felix Verdejo would carry the Puerto Rican fan base for Top Rank Promotions when Miguel Cotto left the company, but Verdejo has lost some of his luster after his less than impressive performance in his last two bouts.
However, Verdejo remains undefeated at the age of twenty three and has stopped fourteen of his opponents. Martinez is seven years older than Verdejo and has stopped seventeen of his opponents.
Verdejo competed for Puerto Rico in the 2012 Olympics and lost to Lomachenko, who is competing in the main event, as an amateur. Martinez has no notable amateur experience on the international circuit.
Verdejo has won two of his last five fights by stoppage, and fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016. Martinez has fought once in 2016 and four times in 2015.
Verdejo has defeated the likes of Jose Luis Rodriguez, William Silva, Ivan Najera, and Marco Antonio Lopez. Martinez has defeated the likes of Emanuel Lopez, Jairo Lopez, and Edgar Puerta.
Martinez has fought mainly in Mexico during his career, but has traveled as far as the United Arab Emirates to compete.
Martinez has two losses on his resume, and they were to Rey Bautista and Daniel Santillo in his second fight of his career.
Verdejo will need to be impressive if he wants to fight on HBO again, and Martinez appears to be the perfect type of opponent for him to look good against.
Roman “Rocky” Martinez (29-2-3) vs. Vasyl Lomachenko (5-1); WBO Junior Lightweight Title
Lomachenko is one of the most decorated amateur boxers to ever step foot inside the ring as a professional. He won the gold medal in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics for the Ukraine, and he was a gold medalist in the 2009 and 2011 World Championships.
He has an amateur record of 296-1 and he was able to avenge his lone loss twice.
Martinez does not have the amateur accomplishments of Lomachenko, but he is a three time world champ and is battle tested.
Martinez will have a one inch height advantage and about a two inch reach advantage. However, he will be five years older than Lomachenko, and more importantly he has been in some brutal wars inside the ring and his in-ring age is much older.
Martinez received a gift split decision against Orlando Salido in his last bout, and he also has a split draw with Juan Carlos Burgos. His two losses were to Ricky Burns and Mikey Garcia. Garcia was able to stop Martinez.
Martinez has been able to defeat the likes of Orlando Salido, Diego Magdaleno, Miguel Beltran Jr., and Nicky Cook.
Lomachenko’s lone loss was to Orlando Salido in a foul filled affair and many feel he would be the favorite if they were to rematch. Lomachnko has defeated the likes of Romulo Koasicha, Jose Ramirez, Chonlatarn
Piriyapinyo, and he absolutely dominated the previously undefeated Gary Russell Jr.
The last time Lomachenko was in the ring with a crafty rugged veteran he had some difficulties, but Martinez does not have the power of Salido and Lomachenko’s footwork should give him issues.
This should be an easy twelve round decision victory for Lomachenko, and it’s hard to envision a scenario where Martinez walks out the victor.