Boxing: No stopping Loma on Saturday night

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BOXING analyst Nick Munday (@NM_Sport) shares his betting thoughts on Saturday night's bout between Vasyl Lomachenko and Jose Pedraza.

Vasyl Lomachenko v Jose Pedraza | Sunday 9th December 2018, 01:30 | BoxNation

Pound-for-pound king Vasyl Lomachenko attempts to unify World Titles for the first time as a professional this Saturday, taking on Jose Pedraza at Madison Square Garden Theater in New York.

Widely regarded as the finest fighter on the planet, Lomachenko is a three-weight world champion after just 12 professional bouts (11-1, 9 KOs). He won two Olympic golds for Ukraine and a host of other amateur medals before turning pro. If you haven’t watched this guy before, you really need to.

Last time out he moved up in weight to dethrone ‘King' Jorge Linares, lifting the WBA lightweight crown in a Fight of the Year contender after recovering from a knockdown. His next assignment comes against Puerto Rico's Pedraza, who holds the WBO belt.

‘Sniper' (25-1, 12 KOs) held the IBF world title at super-featherweight and made two defences until Gervonta Davis ended his short reign in January 2017. Pedraza got his tactics all wrong and was blown away by the Baltimore bomber in round seven.

Moving up to 135lbs, Pedraza bounced back with two wins before outpointing Ray Beltran to become a two-division world champion in August. The bookmakers don't fancy his chances of holding on to the brown belt for long though, with odds of 12/1 available.

At 5’8”, Pedraza holds a marginal one-inch height advantage, while his reach is 5.5” longer. He likes to switch stances and move around the ring.

After opting to stay up close to Davis instead of boxing at range, he should be more cautious on Saturday so the opening stages could be cagey. Lomachenko suffered a shoulder injury in the Linares win so it may take him a few rounds to settle in before he starts to pick Pedraza off.

No stopping Loma

You won’t get rich quick by backing Lomachenko (1/20) or a ninth successive stoppage win (4/9). It’s important for the 30-year-old to unify as he wants to become undisputed champion, but bigger tests lie ahead.

While his record proves he carries power, as he’s moved up through the weights Lomachenko has simply baffled opponents with his incredible speed, angles and footwork. That takes a toll mentally as well as physically.

If you look at his run of recent knockouts, a pattern emerges: Linares (TKO 10), Guillermo Rigondeaux (RTD 6), Miguel Marriaga (RTD 7), Jason Sosa (RTD 9), Nicholas Walters (RTD 7). Yes, Lomachenko made four men retire on their stool in a row to earn the nickname ‘NoMasChenko’, but most of those stoppages came in the second half of the fight.

With Pedraza falling apart in his biggest fight to date, coupled with Loma’s run of grinding his victims down, back another stoppage between Rounds 7-12 at 7/4 (Coral).

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Vasyl Lomachenko v Jose Pedraza – Vasyl Lomachenko to win in Rounds 7-12 (7/4 Coral)

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