Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Dogboe vs. Navarrete, Lomachenko vs. Pedraza
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Top Rank Boxing will take two of their top stars, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Isaac Dogboe, to the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City for another Top Rank Boxing on ESPN telecast.
Pound for pound star, Vasiliy Lomachenko, will put his WBA Lightweight Title on the line against WBO Champion Jose Pedraza in the main event of the night. The co-main event of the evening will be between Isaac Dogboe and Emanuel Navarrete for the WBO Junior Featherweight Title.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
The undercard will feature boxers such as Teofimo Lopez Jr., Mason Menard, Alexander Besputin, Juan Carlos Abreu, Josue Vargas, and Michael Perez.
The following is a preview of the main two fights of the night.
Isaac Dogboe (20-0) vs. Emmanuel Navarrete (25-1); WBO Junior Featherweight Title
Isaac Dogboe burst onto the scene and minds of boxing fans worldwide with his shocking upset of Jessie Magdaleno for the Junior Featherweight Title.
He’s a champion to keep an eye one, and the twenty four year old boxer from Ghana brings into the ring a wealth of amateur experience, including a trip to the 2012 Olympic Games.
His opponent, Emmanuel Navarrete, does not have the amateur experience of Dogboe and has never fought outside of his native country of Mexico.
Navarrete will have a large height advantage over Dogboe, approximately five inches. They both are relatively young, Dogboe is twenty four years old while Navarrete is twenty three.
Dogboe has been fairly active, especially in 2018. He has already fought three times in 2018 and fought once in 2017. Navarrete fought three times in 2018 and five times in 2017.
At this point in their careers, Dogboe has defeated the better boxers. He has defeated the likes of Hidenori Otake, Jessie Magdaleno, Cesar Juarez, and Javier Chacon.
Navarrete has fought exclusively in Mexico and his biggest win to date was over Jose Sanmartin. He has no other notable victories, but it should be noted he has only faced one opponent with a losing record and his lone loss was way back in 2012 to Daniel Argueta.
Both boxers have considerable power. Navarrete has twenty two knockouts on his resume, and he has stopped his past eight opponents. Dogboe has stopped fourteen of his opponents, including five of his past six.
Navarrete isn’t quite yet a well known opponent in the United States and this is first fight in soil outside of Mexico. This is a bout that Dogboe should emerge victorious.
Vasiliy Lomachenko (11-1)vs. Jose Pedraza (25-1); WBA/WBO Lightweight Title
Lomachenko, despite a loss early in his professional career to former world champion Orlando Salido, is considered by many to be the best pound for pound boxer on the planet.
He’s thirty years old and only one year older than his opponent Pedraza. Pedraza will have a slight one inch height advantage and a more pronounces five and a half inch reach advantage.
Lomachenko fought three times in 2017 and only once in 2018. Pedraza has fought three times in 2018 but only once in 2017. Both fighters have been fairly active recently.
Both boxers competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics as an amateur, but only Lomachenko can claim to have won a medal. In fact, Lomachenko has won two gold medals as an amateur boxer.
Lomachenko has defeated the likes of Jorge Linares, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Miguel Marriaga, Jason Sosa, Nicholas Walters, Roman Martinez, Gary Russell Jr., and Jose Ramirez. He has won his last eight fights by stoppage.
Pedraza’s lone loss was to Gervonta Davis by TKO. He has defeated the likes of Raymundo Beltran, Antonio Moran, Stephen Smith, Edner Cherry, Andrey Klimov, and Micahel Farenas. Pedraza, in contrast to Lomachenko, hasn’t had a stoppage victory in eight fights.
Pedraza’s length and height might give Lomachenko some problems early on, but Lomachenko is too good of a technical boxer to not figure out the reach and timing of Pedraza. Pedraza is a boxer with heart and will likely make it an entertaining fight, but he has little to no chance of beating Lomachenko.
Boxing Insider Interview with Jose Pedraza: Ready to Put on A Great Show
By: Henry Deleon
Brooklyn’s most famous Boxing gym, Gleason’s Gym hosted Top Ranks meet and greet event on Wednesday December 5th. Here the fighters from the Lomachenko vs. Pedraza card met with the kids from Gleason’s “Give a Kid a Dream”, a nonprofit corporation in where they provide mentorship to disadvantaged youths through the sport of boxing.
Jose “Sniper” Pedraza who will be fighting in the main event Saturday, was among those fighters at the meet and greet. In the midst of it all, Boxing Insider had the opportunity to catch up with Jose on his upcoming bout.
Boxing Insider – Jose how do you feel for your fight against Lomachenko this Saturday?
Jose Pedraza – I feel great. I’m excited for it to be the 8th of December already so I can put on a great show for you all.
Boxing Insider – How do you feel to be fighting here in Madison Square Garden? Where fighters like Miguel Cotto have created a grand legacy.
Jose Pedraza – I feel very excited to be fighting here where not only Cotto has fought, but many other Puerto Ricans have fought. Like Tito Trinidad who is one of the biggest names in Puerto Rican Boxing. I feel very excited to be part of that history.
Boxing Insider – Without giving too much of your game plan away, I’m curious on knowing on how you are going to approach and counter Loma’s movement come Saturday?
Jose Pedraza – well I’m definitely the taller fighter in this fight, so I am going to have to use my distance to my advantage. We need to have great conditioning, which we do, to be able to fight at his pace and to make good usage of my speed.
Boxing insider – Going into this fight, what do you think would be Lomachenko’s most difficult attribute to adjust to?
Jose Pedraza – well we are going to see how the fight unfolds. My team and I have studied Lomachenko really well. So, we are going to see how the fight unfolds and make the proper adjustments as the rounds go by.
Boxing Insider – This is a big fight for you to end the year with. God willing, you come out victorious this Saturday, who else out there would you like to face?
Jose Pedraza – well after this fight, which I’m a 100% sure I will be victorious, we’re going to go after all those great champions in the division. We’re going to continue unifying the belts. So, we are going to make sure we keep training hard so we’ll be ready to take on these fights.
Boxing Insider – Thank you Jose. All the best for this Saturday!
Jose “Snipper” Pedraza (25-1 12 KO’s) is currently the W.B.O World Lightweight Champion. He is only the second Puerto Rican boxer to win world titles at 103 and 135 pounds. Jose will be taking on 2-time Olympic gold medalist and currently the W.B.A Super World Lightweight Champion Vasiliy “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko (11-1 9 KO’s) in a unification bout Saturday December 8th at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. The fight will also be live on ESPN at 9 p.m ET. Tune in for another exciting night of Boxing!
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Linares vs. Lomachenko, Adames vs. Barrera
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night two of boxing’s best pound for pound fighters, Jorge Linares and Vasyl Lomachenko will square off in a WBA Lightweight Title bout at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions will be working together and will televise this fight on ESPN.
The co-feature of the night will be a welterweight bout between Carlos Adames and Alejandro Barrera. Other prospects on the fight card include Michael Conlan, Teofimo Lopez, and Jamel Herring. Conlan may appear on the televised portion of the card due to his popularity, but that bout should be an easier victory for him.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Boxing
The following is a preview of the co-featured bout and the main event of the night.
Carlos Adames (13-0) vs. Alejandro Barrera (29-4); Welterweights
Carlos Adames is a prized prospect with heavy hands. He’s only twenty four years old and will be seven years younger than Barrera on fight night. He will also have a significant three inch reach advantage.
Adames has been very active. He fought three times in 2017 and four times in 2016. Barrera fought twice in 2017 and did not fight in 2016.
Adames has considerable power. He has stopped eleven of his opponents and only one of his past ten opponents was able to make it the full fight. Barrera has eighteen stoppage victories, but he has lost two of his past four fights.
Adames is a former Pan American Gold Medalist and competed in the world amateur championships. Barrera has no notable amateur career to speak of.
Adames has fought mainly in the Dominican Republic, his past nine fighters were there. He has defeated the likes of Carlos Molina, Jean Carlos Prada, and Ivan Alvarez. Barrera has defeated the likes of Eddie Gomez and Juan Macias Montiel. He has losses to Armando Robles, Rmases Agaton, Errol Spence Jr., and Keandre Gibson.
Barrera is talented enough to score an occasional upset, as evident in his win over Eddie Gomez. But Adames looks like he will be too talented for Barrera to handle.
Jorge Linares (44-3) vs. Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1); WBA Lightweight Title
Jorge Linares used to be a top boxer in Top Rank’s stable of fighters, but back to back losses to Sergio Thompson and Antonio DeMarco in late 2011 early 2012 forced Top Rank to let Linares loose and allowed for Golden Boy Promotions to pick him up.
He has since won thirteen fights in a row and his name has often come up in conversation as one of boxing’s best pound for pound fighters.
However, he’ll be facing a true legend in the sport with only eleven professional fights, Vasyl Lomachenko.
Lomachenko has eight stoppage victories and will be giving up about an inch in height and three and a half inches in reach to Linares. Lomachenko will be two years younger than Linares, but both boxers are still considered by most to be in their athletic primes.
Linares has twenty seven stoppage wins, but his past four fights were won by decision. Lomacheno fought three times in 2017 and twice in 2016 while Linares fought twice in 2017 and once in 2016.
Lomachenko’s lone loss was a controversial one to Orlando Salido, who came in overweight. He has defeated the likes of Guillermo Rigondeaux, Miguel Marriaga, Jason Sosa, Nicholas Walters, Roman Martinez, and Gary Russell Jr.
Linares has losses to Sergio Thompson, Antonio DeMarco, and Juan Carlos Salgado. He has defeated the likes of Oscar Larios, Mercito Gesta, Luke Campbell, Anthony Crolla, Kevin Mitchell, and Nihto Arakawa.
It is extremely rare to find someone with the amateur resume of Vasyl Lomachenko. He was a two time Olympic Gold Medalist. Linares was a national champion as an amateur in Venezuela.
Linares has excellent footwork and incredible accuracy, but Lomachenko also has excellent footwork and accuracy and in fact, probably has better footwork than Linares. Linares can hang with anyone in the first half of a fight, but he tends to fade late. Lomachenko has never shown signs of fading in a ring.
Lomachenko does have problems with fighters who are known for being rough on the inside and willing to fight a little dirty, like Orlando Salido. Linares is not that type of fighter. He’s known for his technique and finesse.
Linares will have a size advantage on Saturday night, and he’d be wise to use it. But Lomachenko’s movement and accuracy will should win him the fight, especially in the later rounds.
This writer thinks Linares will be able to keep it close early on, but will fade late and eventually succumb to a Lomachenko barrage.
Lomachenko Eager to Prove That Skills Will be the Difference Against Linares
By: Bryant Romero
Vasiliy ‘Hi Tech’ Lomachenko will be heading into unfamiliar territory as a professional prize fighter as he will head 5 pounds north to the lightweight division and challenge the most established champion at 135 pounds in Jorge Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) on May 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) will be challenging Linares for his WBA and Ring Magazine lightweight titles in just his first fight in the division. Linares is on an unbeaten 12 fight winning streak and is eager to prove that not only is he the bigger stronger man, but has the skills to match the talented Ukrainian. Lomachenko doesn’t seem fazed whatsoever at the size his opponent will bring come fight night and is confident that size won’t be a factor at all in this intriguing lightweight bout.
“For me, it’s a big challenge because before this fight, I fought against guys who were the same size or a little bit smaller than me,” Lomachenko said.
“Now, I want to feel the way Rigondeaux felt when he fought me. He was smaller than I at that point. I am going to be smaller than my opponents now. I want to show people it’s not a big problem, that five pounds is not too big of a difference.
“I wanted to go up to the next weight category, 135 pounds, and fight only champions. Jorge Linares was available for this moment. That’s why I wanted a fight with him.
“I was asked if I wanted to fight Linares. It took me less than two seconds to accept the challenge,” Lomachenko told the boxing media.
It’s the most important and biggest fight of both fighters careers and Lomachenko recognizes the history in not only fighting in New York but to get the chance to headline the big room at Madison Square Garden where boxing legends have been made.
“It’s important for me because I made my name in the history of boxing. Moving forward, I only want to fight in big arenas. I love New York. I love Madison Square Garden. I feel very comfortable there. The boxing fans are very knowledgeable. It’s a very famous arena. Fighting there is a big honor for me,” he said.
Bob Arum of Top Rank who promotes Lomachenko expects a capacity crowd of over 16,000 in attendance for this fight, which shows that the drawing power of the talented Ukrainian is significantly rising.
As for the two combatants themselves, there has been no shortage of verbal jabs being thrown at each in the lead up to this bout. But Lomachenko hopes that after the fight that Linares will show up at the post fight press conference.
“I like it. Before the fight, all boxers talk trash, but after the fight, nobody comes to the press conference. After this fight, I want to see Jorge Linares at the press conference, and I want to hear what he has to say,” Lomachenko said.
Bryant Romero can be reached on Twitter @BoxingTruth88
Jermall Charlo and Gervonta Davis Ask For Golovkin and Lomachenko
By: Ken Hissner
After Saturday’s quick knockouts on Showtime two of the winners shot their mouths off after destroying lesser opponents and asking for something they may regret in the future. In other words “Watch what you ask for!”
Houston’s Jermall Charlo, 27-0 (21) won the interim WBC World Middleweight title knocking out Hugo Centeno, Jr., 26-2 (14), of Oxnard, CA, in the second round. Charlo only had one fight in 2017 against a much overrated Jorge Sebastian Heiland, 29-5-2 (16), from Argentina in the 4th round.
The former IBF World Super Welterweight Champion called out Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, 37-0-1 (33), of KAZ and L.A., CA. who on May 5th will be defending his title or title’s against the WBC No. 1 Super Middleweight against Vanes “Nightmare” Martirosyan, 36-3-1 (21), of Armenia and Glendale, CA., who has lost to twin brother Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo, 30-0 (15), back in March of 2015 via a 10 round decision. Martirosyan has never been stopped in his 40 bout career. He was the USA 2004 Olympian at welterweight.
The other winner Saturday night was Gervonta “Tank” Davis, 20-0 (19), of Baltimore, MD, but having moved out to Las Vegas, NV. He stopped Jesus Marcelo Andres “El Jinete Cuellar, 28-3 (21), former WBA World Featherweight Champion in the 3rd round to win the WBA Super World Super Featherweight title.
Interviewer Jim Gray brought up the name WBO Super World Super Featherweight Champion Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko, 10-1 (8), of the Ukraine now living in Oxnard, CA. He will be fighting WBA Lightweight Champion Jorge “El Nino de Oro Golden Boy” Linares, 44-3 (27), of VZ now living in Tokyo, Japan May 12 at Madison Square Garden.
This writer considers Lomachenko P4P No. 1 and Golovkin P4P No. 2. Both are former Olympians with Lomachenko winning Gold Medals in 2008 and 2012. Golovkin won a Silver Medal in 2004 after defeating Andre Dirrell losing in the final to Russian Gaydarbek Gaydarbekov who never turned professional.
My thoughts are Charlo meeting the Danny “Miracle Man” Jacobs, 33-2 (29), of Brooklyn, NY, and Maciej “Striczu” Sulecki, 26-0 (10), of Warsaw, Poland, winner on April 28th at the Barclay Center. Sulecki stopped Centeno in June of 2016 in the 10th round.
I’m sure that though under suspension for six months Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, 49-1-2 (34), of Guadalajara, MEX, and Golovkin will meet in sometime on or around September pending on the length of the suspension. That controversial draw that Golovkin got ripped off on should be changed to a NC or ND.
This writer felt that Golovkin could meet WBO World Champion Billy Joe Saunders, 26-0 (12), of Hatfield Hertfordshire, UK, with all the titles on the line. He will meet Martin Murray, 36-4-1 (17), on June 23rd in the UK, whose only stoppage loss was to Golovkin in June of 2015 in Monte Carlo in the 11th round.
If Charlo and Davis get “WHAT THEY ASKED FOR” I’m sure it will not before 2019.
Lomachenko-Linares Set For May 12th In New York
In what Top Rank Promotions is calling “a battle of two of the world’s pound-for-pound best,” Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1) will move up to attempt to gain a title in his third weight division by facing WBA lightweight champ Jorge Linares (44-3). The bout, which will go down at New York’s Madison Square Garden, will be aired live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes on May12th. The card will also be aired live via the ESPN app.
The official announcement of Lomachenko-Linares represents a cross promotional success story. “This demonstrates that promoters and networks, when they work together for the good of everyone, can accomplish so very much,” says promoter Bob Arum. Linares is part of Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy stable. Lomachenko, on the other hand, is represented by Arum’s Top Rank Promotions.
“Jorge has established himself as the world’s best lightweight by taking on any and all comers over his storied career,” De La Hoya claims, “but a win on May 12 would put him on an entirely different level.” Lomachenko was an iconic Olympian who some feel is already the pound for pound best professional boxer in the world.
“We fully understand that Lomachenko is universally seen as the best fighter on the planet,” De La Hoya concedes, “but he’s never faced anyone with the size and skill of Jorge, and I am confident that he will retain his WBA and Ring Magazine world championships. As this fight makes clear, I’m 100 percent committed to giving fans the fights they want to see and will work with anyone to accomplish that goal.”
Linares himself appears quite confident heading into the matchup. “Not only will I demonstrate why I’m the best lightweight in the world,” he claims, “but also that I’m one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. I have the speed, skill and power to win this battle. This May 12, Vasiliy Lomachenko will bow down to ‘King’ Jorge.”
Such a feat may be a tall order. Lomachenko now has a history for himself of making top level opponents quit on their stools, an unlikely feat which has earned him the nickname “No Mas-Chenko,” a nod to the famous 1980 Ray Leonard-Roberto Duran rematch, a bout which saw Duran inexplicably quit in the 8th round.
“We are very excited about the fight,” says Lomachenko. “It should be a great one. Fans from around the world have been waiting for Jorge and me to fight.” The 30 year old also claims he’s happy about the fight’s location. “I am looking forward to May 12 in New York to make my debut in the big arena at Madison Square Garden,” he claims.
Lomachenko Camp Quick to Dismiss Talk of Pacquiao Bout
By Eric Lunger
After a quick media dust-up yesterday, caused by Manny Pacquiao’s comments to a local Filipino news outlet, in which the current Senator and future hall-of-famer speculated on a possible fight with Ukrainian powerhouse Vasyl Lomachenko, the 130-pound champion’s camp made it clear that they are not interested in such a bout.
Egis Klemis, who manages the career of the Ukrainian two-time Olympic gold medalist, made clear his position via Twitter:
“Manny is Legendary and very respectful fighter, but he is non-active and he is done and Loma won’t take advantage of it just beating a legend to get him [sic] name. We have better route fighting active champions in our weight class.”
The final comment is the most perspicacious – as we noted on this website yesterday, finding a weight class that made sense for the bout appeared to be the biggest obstacle. Klimas told ESPN’s Dan Rafael that the three weight-class difference made any talk of a fight “insane,” and that there was no upside to beating an older man at a weight that he shouldn’t try to make.
I think many fans, upon sober reflection, would agree that Manny Pacquiao, a legend in the sport and one of the all-time greats, should not end his career with some pathetic beat-down or money grab. The loss to Horn was an honorable finish: a warrior giving his best but coming up short. For the Pacman, it’s time to stay retired.
Pacquiao Angling for a Chance to Fight Lomachenko in April
By: Eric Lunger
Manny Pacquiao, the former eight-division world champion and current Filipino Senator, is looking for a comeback bout against current 130-pound kingpin Vasyl Lomachenko, according to reports by ABS-CBN news, a media outlet in Quezon City, Philippines.
Pacquiao, 39, dropped a 12-round decision to Jeff Horn in July of last year, and many observers thought that loss would mark the end of his incredible, hall-of-fame career. “I’m not retired yet,” the indefatigable Pacman said on a Filipino talk show.
Photo Credit: Manny Pacquiao Twitter Account
Lomachenko, the former two-time Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine, has ten professional wins and one loss (a split decision to Orlando Salido early in Loma’s pro career). More relevant than his record is the fact that he made his last four opponents quit on their stools: Guillermo Rigondeaux, Miguel Marriaga, Jason Sosa, and Nicholas Walters. Many folks in the boxing world have the Ukrainian phenom at or near the top of their pound-for-pound rankings.
Bob Arum, long-time Pacman promoter who has also added Lomachenko to the TopRank stable, wants to feature Pac vs Loma on April 21, on the same card as the welterweight clash between Jeff Horn and Terence “Bud” Crawford, again according to ABS-CBN reports.
Pacquiao told ABS-CBN that an April date would allow sufficient time for a full training camp, and would mesh with his duties as a Senator, as the Filipino Congress will be in recess during the month of April. Arum is working on hosting the bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but may face scheduling conflicts with the NHL’s Golden Knights, who are on track to qualify for the playoffs, according to reports in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Another option, according to Arum, would be April 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The fight certainly makes sense financially, but, at age 39, does the Pacman want to test himself against Lomachenko’s formidable speed and ethereal skill? And what weight class makes sense for this bout? Is Lomachenko going to want to go anywhere north of 135? There are other unanswered questions, but boxing fans around the world will want to see the old lion Pacquiao roar once more.
Five Fighters to Watch in 2018
By: Eric Lunger
As the final wrapping paper gets cleaned up from under the tree, and as we collectively vow – in varying degrees of enthusiasm and conviction — to get back to sensible eating and exercise, it’s time to take a glance ahead at the upcoming year in boxing, and count down the top five fighters to keep an eye on. This is a pretty eclectic list, and no doubt you have your own picks; I’d love to read which boxers you are watching for 2018 in the comments below.
Photo Credit: WBSS
Joseph Parker (Heavyweight). The Kiwi WBO champion had a great 2017, defending his newly-won belt twice. In May, he took care of business against Razvan Cojanu, a late-minute replacement in a not-so spectacular bout, but in September, Parker traveled to Manchester, UK, to take on the talented contender Hughie Fury. Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) answered a lot of questions that night, and won over some critics. Still, there are some commentators who feel that Parker is the odd man out in the top tier of the division, that he doesn’t really belong in the same rarified air as Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, and Tyson Fury. But with his power, his hand speed, and most importantly, his meteoric learning curve each and every outing, Parker can be a real spoiler in the division. Will he get a shot at AJ in 2018? That is tough to envision, given Team Joshua’s current aversion to risk, but as the WBO Champion, unification of the belts has to go through Parker at some point.
Oleksandr Usyk (Cruiserweight). Usyk (13-0, 11 KOs) fought on the same Olympic team as Vasyl Lomachenko, training with Lomachenko’s father, and it shows in Usyk’s footwork and use of angles. Already WBO world champion, the Ukrainian southpaw is in the semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series Cruiserweight tournament, slated to take on undefeated WBC champion Mairis Breidis in Riga, Latvia, on January 27. Supremely confident, Usyk is one of those few European amateurs who understands that the professional game is about more than just scoring points; a fighter needs to be exciting to watch if he wants to build his fan base. With knockout artist Murat Gassiev and Yunier Dorticos in the other semi-final in February, the WBSS tournament is exciting and dynamic, and Usyk has to be the favorite to unify all the belts and lift the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Javier Fortuna (Lightweight) A southpaw from the Dominican Republic and former WBA World champion at junior lightweight, Fortuna (33-1-1, 23 KOs) has an important title shot this coming January against undefeated IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter, Jr. Fortuna is an underdog in this fight, to be sure, but the matchup will be competitive and entertaining. The Dominican standout is a risk-taker, and he can get caught. But he is also brilliant to watch, especially when he makes intuitive adjustments in the ring or decides to ramp up the performance aspect of his game. This will be no easy tune-up for Easter, and Fortuna should not be overlooked as a potential upset of the year.
Danny Garcia (Welterweight). Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) has always been one of my favorite fighters. A guy with deep Philly roots, he’s had tough battles with the likes of Amir Khan, Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse, Paulie Malignaggi, and Keith Thurman. Danny is an accurate counterpuncher whose risky style is based on one of the most dominant left hooks in the game. The split decision loss to Thurman last March had to be a bitter pill for the proud Garcia to swallow. How does a fighter who has accomplished so much in the sport find the motivation to rebound from a loss like that? We will find out where Garcia is mentally and physically this February 17 as he takes on Brandon Rios (34-3, 25 KOs) in a twelve-round welterweight clash.
Vasyl Lomachenko (Junior Lightweight). Obviously, the slick Ukrainian southpaw is on top of the boxing world right now, and is a factor in everyone’s pound-for-pound discussion, but the real unknown for Lomachenko in 2018 is: whom should he fight next? Who will give him a challenge? Who will draw a big audience? Miguel Berchelt (32-1 28 KOs), who holds the WBC belt, seems like the logical next opponent for “HiTech,” but a case can certainly be made for Francisco Vargas (24-1-2, 17 KOs) or even Gervonta Davis (19-0, 18 KOs). There has also been significant social media chatter about Lomachenko moving up to 135 to fight Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs), and what a fight that would be. Unfortunately, for now, Garcia has moved to junior welterweight to face Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) for the IBF title. Regardless, Lomachenko remains a fighter to watch in 2018.
Is Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko 2017 Fighter of the Year?
By: Ken Hissner
The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Ukranian Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko, 10-1, living in Oxnard, CA, moved up from holding the WBO Featherweight title to defeating WBO World Super featherweight Roman Martinez in June of 2016, and defeating in his first defense the former WBA Super World featherweight champion Jamaican Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters, 26-0-1 by stoppage in 7 rounds.
In Lomchenko’s second defense in 2017 in April defeated WBA World Super featherweight champion (his title not at stake) Jason “El Canito” Sosa, 20-1-4, of Camden, NJ, stopping him in the 9th round at the MGM National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, MD, stopping Sosa’s 17 fight winning streak.
In Lomachenko’s third defense in August he stopped Colombian Miguel Marriaga, 25-2, in the 7th round, at the Microsoft Theater, in Los Angeles, CA.
In December Lomachenko in his fourth defense stopped the former two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, WBO World Super bantamweight and WBA Super World bantamweight champion Cuban Guillermo “The Jackal” Rigondeaux, 17-0, in the 6th round.
Lomachenko was 396-1 in the amateurs while Rigondeaux was 463-12. This was a major event having a pair of two-time Olympic Gold Medalists meeting one another.
Lomachenko is now considering seeking moving up the lightweight to gain his third division world title. Egis Klimas is his manager who also has WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, of Russia, living in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, among many other boxers and promoted by Top Rank.
Another considered for “Fighter of the Year” was Anthony “A.J.” Joshua, 20-0, in April, defending his WBA Super world heavyweight title stopping former Super World heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, 64-4, and stopping Carlos Takam, 35-3-1, in a not too impressive defense.
Also considered was IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, 37-0-1, of KAZ, living in L.A. who in March defeated former WBA World Middleweight champion Danny “Miracle Man” Jacobs, 32-1, at Madison Square Garden, in NY and in September getting robbed being held to a split decision draw by former WBO World Super welterweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, 49-1-1, at the T-Mobile Arena, in Las Vegas, NV.
What is next for Vasyl Lomachenko?
By: Waquas Ali
One of boxing’s greatest talents in the modern era, Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1) has been acclaimed for his boxing skills and achievements ever since he turned pro.
From being a two-time Olympic gold medallist to winning his first world title in only in his third professional bout and to beating one of also boxing’s best and also a two-time Olympic champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Rigondeaux (17-1) is Lomachenko’s fourth consecutive opponent to quit on his stool and was his first loss since his amateur days.
After outboxing the Cuban in six rounds, the question now arises for Lomachenko is what next for him and what compatibility do the next fighter hold against him?
According to a survey poll conducted by Lomachenko on Twitter, he asked his followers with the options given on who he should fight next.
Out of 32,000 plus voters, 44% of them picked Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) and 39% picked Gervonta Davis (19-0, 18 KOs).
Those two in particular are without a doubt one of the best fighters in their respected weight classes. However, Davis himself fights at the super-featherweight division which is the exact same division that Lomachenko fights.
Back in February of this year, Davis was asked the question about fighting the Ukrainian by IFL TV and he stated that at the time it wasn’t the right move but “in the future, yes.”
Ten months later, the former IBF super-featherweight champion is now being talked about with Lomachenko and over 12,000 voters of Lomachenko’s followers want to see them fight.
In terms of styles and techniques, Davis also known as Tank has huge extensive and loads up wild combinations that dazzle his opponents. His most notable punch is the left to the head whilst countering on the inside.
Davis is also more of an accurate puncher and then starts to increase his activity level when he has his opponent in trouble, Lomachenko on the other hand tends to unload with great and consistent jabbing to the head and body.
Davis’ footwork isn’t quite unique as a Lomachenko’s is and doesn’t utilise any threat along with the stance of being southpaw – considering the fact that Lomachenko is also a southpaw.
Davis (5 feet 5 inches tall with a 67 inch reach) has a two inch reach advantage whilst Lomachenko (five feet 7 inches tall with a 65inch reach) has a two inch height advantage.
The second person as mentioned in the poll is three-weight world champion Mikey Garcia.
The 30-year-old has a variety of factors that back his resume up. He has a good leading jab that even leads to countering effectively and has caused a couple of opponents to be dropped with the jab. Garcia’s power also comes in great strength and he’s able to use his power punches really well.
According to CompuBox statistics review, Garcia was shown to have landed an average connect percentage of 43% of his power punches.
Both fighters however are in the top three as being hit with the least amount of punches in terms of connect percentage.
Garcia’s average opponent connect percentage stands at just 17% and Lomachenko’s opponent average is 16%, who is number one the list.
All these factors and stats could come in to place, should these fighters meet but they are just some of things to point out of these fighters.
The Rigondeaux Blues: Reflections on a Lonely Sport
by B.A. Cass
I woke up on Sunday feeling the weight of Rigondeaux’s loss in a way I hadn’t anticipated, a feeling that stuck with me all day.
Although I was rooting for him, I had prepared myself for the possibility that Rigondeaux would lose. After all, I told myself, he’s moving up two weight classes, he’s a good deal older than Lomachenko, and he has been fairly inactive over the past few years. It was quite plausible that he would be overwhelmed by his opponent. I was prepared for a stoppage by the referee or even a KO.
Of course, I also envisioned Rigondeaux winning. He is perhaps the most patient boxer of his generation, perhaps of all time, and patience combined with elite skill can be a very unsettling thing for any opponent, even someone as remarkably talented as Lomachenko. It wasn’t hard to imagine Rigondeaux making Lomachenko’s ring theatrics look like the diversionary tactics of a glorified amateur without much punching power.
I had prepared myself for all scenarios, except for the one that occurred.
What occurred to me, though, as I struggled through the morass that became my Sunday is that there are important differences between team sports and sports like boxing. Basketball, football, and soccer—fans of these sports may place their hopes on one player, but ultimately, they’re rooting for a whole team. But with boxing, or for that matter with sports like tennis and golf, fans are not rooting for a group of people to win. It is stating the obvious to say that in boxing, fans are rooting for one person, but the point can’t be emphasized enough.
Fans of most sports come together in large stadiums or in crowded bars to watch their respective competitive events. Boxing fans are no exception: 90,000 fans were at Wembley Stadium to see Anthony Joshua defeat Wladimir Klitschko; 12,000 fans attended Madison Square Garden to see Sadam Ali score an unexpected victory over Miguel Cotto; and 5,000 people attended the Theater at MSG this weekend to see the dull, uneventful fight between Lomachenko and Rigondeaux.
Yet even though boxing fans pack stadiums and event halls, boxing remains an intensely individual sport. As spectators, we become so attached to a fighter that even if others are rooting for the same individual, we do not see ourselves as part of a group of fans. We are individuals rooting individually for a single man or woman to win. And if that person loses, we must face that defeat in a very lonely way.
There’s also a distinction that needs to be drawn between sports like golf and tennis and the sport of boxing. Golf and tennis are invented games. The former involves people swinging metal clubs at a little ball that they’re trying to put into a hole in the earth. The latter involves using a weaved apparatus to hit a fuzzy medium-sized ball over a net and at such an angle and with so much speed that the opponent cannot slam it back over the net.
Boxing is not so much an invented game as it is brutality harnessed. Boxing makes sport of humanity’s inclination for violence, an inclination which has been around since our species has walked this planet. That is why many people understandably find the sport too horrific to watch.
At Wimbledon this past year, the Croatian tennis player Marin Cilic was brought to tears by a blister. I’m sure he was in pain. But the fact that he had to call a timeout so that he could cry into his shirt underscored for me how little pain most athletes are used to putting up with. More than any other sport, boxing tests one’s ability to endure insurmountable pain. Football players sustain long-term injuries, but even football cannot compete with the intensity and brutality that is required of fighters who battle each other at close range. It is one thing to get tackled; it’s another thing to exchange blows and get rocked with punches for twelve rounds, or for any number of rounds for that matter. It is for this reason that we do not use the word “game” when referring to a boxing match. We call them “fights.” There’s too much at stake to consider boxing a form of play.
Boxing touches on something far more basic and integral to human experience than any other sport—we watch boxing to see fighters, particularly in loss, survive. Orlando Salido, who incidentally is the only man to have beat Lomachenko in a professional bout, retired this weekend after being dominated by Miguel Roman for the better part of nine rounds. Salido lost, but we saw in him the will to continue. If the referee hadn’t stopped the fight, he would have no doubt kept going, kept fighting. Yes, he lost, but he also survived—and with our respect for him intact. Cotto lost too, but he fought to the end with an injured bicep.
With Rigondeaux it was different. He just gave up, apparently because of a hand injury. It might seem the smart move for a man to give up when injured, but in the sport of boxing giving up in such a manner approaches nihilism. After all, boxing is a sport not simply replete with injury, but a sport that practically requires injury. Certainly, Rigondeaux had fought while injured before—and if he hadn’t, as remarkable as that may seem to us, he must have known he would one day get injured during a fight.
Why did Rigondeaux choose not to get off his stool after the sixth round in the biggest fight of his life? He’s been through so much in his life—surely this was not his toughest moment.
After a failed attempt to defect from communist Cuba, Rigondeaux finally made it to the US where he had a promising, potentially lucrative professional boxing career to look forward to. That didn’t quite materialize. His first promoter, Bob Arum, seemed to work against him at times and they eventually parted ways. Since then, Rigondeaux has failed to elicit much public support, and he had resort to selling his two Olympic medals to feed his family. Perhaps Rigondeaux has had his hopes stalled and halted so many times that he has ceased to care much about anything anymore, even his own career.
And so, it wasn’t Rigondeaux’s loss that especially affected me—it was seeing him give up for no good reason, it was realizing that the man sitting on the stool had lost interest in the very thing that he had worked so hard to achieve.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
Rigondeaux Ends Historic Fight on his Stool; Lomachenko’s Legend Grows
By: Eric Lunger
Last night in the Theatre of Madison Square Garden, the world’s two most decorated amateur boxers met in an historic clash: two two-time Olympic gold medalists clashed in the professional boxing ring for the WBO World super featherweight title. Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs), the brilliant and unique stylist from Ukraine, took on Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs), the troubled Cuban exile whose defensive skills, while legendary, have earned him enmity and scorn from a significant portion of the boxing public.
Despite moving up two weight classes, the undefeated Rigondeaux hoped to match Lomachenko’s unworldly skills, and perhaps pull off the unthinkable – a defeat, a stoppage even, via the Cuban’s fearsome overhand left. There were other possible outcomes, of course, and much more likely ones. Loma, younger and naturally heavier, would dominate the Cuban and knock him out. Or, Rigondeaux, having promised to come forward and attack, would lose on knock downs and a number of 10-8 rounds. Or, less likely, maybe Rigondeaux, with his hand- speed and counter punching still sharp, would finally be the one to solve the “Hi Tech” attack.
But none of these outcomes were to be. The first round was a chess match, the type of fight the Cuban wanted: slow and cautious, a feeling out, and a few surgical punches here and there to score points. I even thought that Rigo landed a few flashier shots, and just nipped the round, 10-9. Even in the second, Rigondeaux was staying in the center of the ring, something I did not expect to see. But in this round, Lomachenko began to let his hands go in a probing, testing way. Rigo’s reaction was to duck and hold, an odd tactic, to be sure, especially against a puncher of Lomachenko’s accuracy
By the third, the Cuban was consistently holding, and his defense of ducking very low was obviously going to get him in trouble, as the Ukrainian sharpshooter began to get the timing and range of that move. Significantly, Rigondeaux threw no lefts. In fact, I commented to a writer sitting next to me that the Cuban had not thrown his left in almost two rounds. But then, I thought, this is not necessarily out of character for Rigo, as he will hold and hold the left, wait and wait, until he can fire it. It didn’t even cross my mind that Rigondeaux had injured it.
By the fourth round, Lomachenko was taking over with supreme confidence, feinting, digging to the body, controlling the tempo and pace. The last minute of the round was typical “Hi Tech:” odd angles, throwing multiple combinations, appearing at strange places in the ring, throwing multiple uppercuts, and then hooks from unexpected angles. And that was it, really. The fight was becoming a Lomachenko masterclass. For fans of the Cuban champ, the fifth and sixth rounds were tough to watch: he was tentative and confused, resorting to holding at all opportunities. His frustration boiled over as he hit out of the break, earning an irate roar from the pro-Ukrainian crowd.
And then came the stoppage in the corner. The reaction in the theatre was a deafening combination of bewilderment, jubilation, frustration, and disappointment. And in the midst of all the confusion, there was Rigo, sitting hunched over on his stool, totally alone in that crowded ring, with a look of complete defeat on his face. I could not help feeling that, out of all the possible outcomes for this historic fight, this was the saddest. I hope the hand injury is the real reason for his throwing in the towel. It is too sad to contemplate that Lomachenko broke his will to fight, and that the Cuban super bantamweight, who has overcome so many obstacles in life and in the ring, ended his career (and let’s face it – we probably will not see him in the ring again) sitting on a stool, the object of derision from the crowd and the whole boxing world.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Lomachenko Outclasses Rigondeaux, Stevenson, Conlan, Jennings, and Diaz Win
By: William Holmes
The Theatre at the Madison Square Garden was the host site for tonight’s highly anticipated WBO Super Featherweight World Title fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux. Both Lomachenko and Rigondeaux had outstanding amateur careers winning two gold medals each.
Some of Top Rank’s most coveted boxers were featured on the undercard, including Michael Conlan, Shakur Stevenson, and former heavyweight title contender Bryant Jennings.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing
The opening bout of the night was between Shakur Stevenson (4-0) and Oscar Mendoza (4-2) in the featherweight division.
Shakur Stevenson looked levels beyond Oscar Mendoza and warmed up quickly and was landing crisp combinations within the first minute of the fight. Mendoza was able to offer little in return but cover up.
Stevenson opened up the second round with hard combination that sent Mendoza falling backwards into the rope. He followed that up with some punishing body shots. Stevenson continued to obliterate Mendoza until the referee, Sparkle Lee, stepped in to stop the fight.
The stoppage may have been premature, but Mendoza was clearly outclassed
Shakur Stevenson wins by TKO at 1:38 of the second round.
The next bout of the night was between Christopher Diaz (21-0) and Bryant Cruz (18-2) in the Super Featherweight division.
Cruz was the first to land with a quick jab but Diaz was able to land the combinations and crisper counters. A straight right hand by Diaz sent Cruz to his butt in the first, but Cruz was able to get back to his feet and survive the first.
Cruz looked recovered by the start of the second round and was sharp with his jab. Diaz however landed a left hook that may have clipped behind Cruz’s head that made his legs wobbly and sent him to the mat again. Diaz was knocked down a second time in the second round with a straight right hand that forced Diaz to take a knee to take time to recover.
Diaz jumped right on Cruz in the third round and had him wobbly and sent him to the mat for the fourth time in the night. This time the referee decided to stop the fight.
Christopher Diaz wins by TKO at 0:37 of the third round.
The next fight of the night was a featherweight fight between Luis Molina (4-3-1) and Michael Conlan (4-0).
Conlan, an Irish Olympian, was levels above Luis Molina and was landing a good jab to the body and head in the first two rounds of the fight. Conlan fought with his hands low throughout the fight and by the fourth land had landed eighty punches in comparison to the twenty that Molina landed.
Conlan was able to stagger Molina in the fifth round with a good left hook and was able to do some damage with left uppercuts.
By the end of the fight Conlan had out landed Molina 128-31. All three judges scored the bout 60-54 for Michael Conlan.
The main event of the night was between Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1) and Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0) for the WBO Super Featherweight Title.
The crowd could be heard chanting for Lomachenko during the referee instructions. Lomachenko had about a seven-pound weight advantage at the unofficial weigh ins before the fight.
Rigondeaux opened up the first round with a good two punch combination, but Lomachenko pressed the action more and was constantly looking for openings to land his jab.
Lomachenko was finding angles to land on Rigondeaux in the second round and had a sharp right hook. Rigondeaux was holding a lot in the second round and that holding continued throughout the fight. Rigondeaux consistently ducked low to try and avoid the punches of Lomachenko, but Lomachenko was able to find his target and dance around Rigondeaux.
The right uppercut from Lomachenko did some damage in the third round and the referee warned Rigondeaux again to not hold. Lomachenko was toying with Rigondeaux in the fourth round and Rigondeaux was beginning to look frustrated.
Lomachenko walked Rigondeaux down in the fifth round and Rigondeaux was showing his frustration by punching Lomachenko during a break. Lomachenko’s confidence only continued to grow into the sixth round as he dazzled the fans with his footwork and accurate counters.
Rigondeaux lost a point in the sixth round for holding, but he was losing every exchange when he was not holding his opponent. When Rigondeaux went to his corner before the start of the seventh he told his corner his hand was injured and that he could not continue.
Vasyl Lomachenko wins by TKO at the end of round six due to Guillermo Rigondeaux not being able to come out for the seventh due to an injured hand.
Did Guillermo Rigondeaux Make a Mistake Fighting Vasyl Lomachenko?
By: Ken Hissner
Two of the greatest amateur boxers in the history of amateur boxing will meet December 9th at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York City.
WBO World Super featherweight champion from the Ukraine Vasyl “High-Tech” Lomachenko, 9-1 (7), defends his title against the WBA & WBO Super World Bantamweight champion Cuban Guillermo “The Jackal” Rigondeaux, 17-0 (11). Both boxers are 2-time Olympic Gold Medalists.
The 37 year-old Rigondeaux was 463-12 in the amateurs winning Olympic Gold in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. The 29 year-old Lomachenko on the other hand was a reported 396-1 winning Gold in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Both are southpaws.
In Rigondeaux’s last fight in June of 2017 it appeared he knocked out Moises Flores. It would later be changed to a No Contest after review that he hit Flores “after the bell” ended the round.
Rigondeaux will be jumping two weight divisions to challenge for Lomachenko’s title. This could be a major factor in the outcome of the match. He’s also only fought once a year in 2015, 2016 and so far in 2017. Lomachenko has fought twice a year in 2015, 2016 and so far in 2017. He went from being the WBO World Featherweight champion to winning the Super featherweight title.
“I am promising to squash him,” said Lomachenko. “It is going to be a massacre,” said Rigondeaux.
This writer has challenged fellow Philadelphia writer/lawyer from Jamaica George Hanson to a “dinner bet” picking Lomachenko while he picked Rigondeaux.