Pedraza Beats Beltran, to Face Lomachenko in December
It looks like it’s going to be Jose Pedraza that gets the next shot at Vasyl Lomachenko. Saturday night, the Puerto Rican challenger won a unanimous decision (117-110, 117-110, 115-112) over Mexico’s Raymundo Beltran to capture Beltran’s WBO lightweight title and setup a Dec. 1 battle with the pound-for-pound king and WBA lightweight champion.
Pedraza dominated the fight throughout, and although Beltran’s body work did slow him down a bit in the later rounds, Beltran was never able to capitalize on it. In the 11th round, Pedraza dropped Beltran with a slick uppercut, and though he was ahead on the scorecards, ultimately finished the fight by aggressively battering a cornered Beltran until the final bell rang. Beltran made no excuses after the fight, but it was reported that he had hurt his vaunted left hand at some point during the match.
As great of a story as Beltran getting to fight Lomachenko would be due to their contrasting paths to boxing stardom, watching Pedraza spear a Southpaw jab into Beltran’s face with such regularity quickly eliminated any illusion that fight could have been close. The question is whether a fight with Pedraza could be any closer. After the fight, Pedraza declared that he has “the perfect style to beat him (Lomachenko).” The thing is, he doesn’t. The only time we’ve seen Lomachenko lose was when Orlando Salido walked through his shots, got on the inside and bullied Lomachenko in both legal and illegal ways. We’ve seen Gervonta Davis, a Southpaw, bully Pedraza before knocking him out in the seventh round, and while Lomachenko doesn’t hit as hard as Davis, it’s unlikely Pedraza would be physically strong enough to push Lomachenko around in the ring. Nevertheless, he earned his shot, he’s the WBO champion and he’s got a chance to shock the world in December.
Dogboe’s First Round KO Sets Off Ghana-England Feud
Whether Ghana chooses to embrace him or not, Isaac Dogboe is for real. While we’ve seen other fighters from the African nation unable to backup their bloated but undefeated records, Dogboe more than lived up to the hype by knocking out Hidenori Otake, who had not been stopped in 36 professional bouts, in the very first round. Dogboe is descended from Ghanan royalty, but having grown up in England has not garnered the same level of love from that nation as homegrown fighters. But, people love winners and the Ghanan press quickly pounced on and cried foul over British tabloids claiming Dogboe as their own after the impressive victory. However, with a unique style, the ability to speak English (he has a degree in sociology) and brutal knockout power, Dogboe’s popularity in places like Ghana or England may quickly become irrelevant. A couple more stoppages like the one on Saturday, and Dogboe could soon become an international superstar.
James Delights Hometown Crowd with 2nd Round Knockout
Another guy with an interesting story, Minneapolis welterweight Jamal "Shango" James, made his hometown fans, including the kids he mentors, very happy by knocking out Mexico’s Mahonry Montes in the second round. James worked the body, and when Montes went down it was from a liver shot that paralyzed him. James is now represented by Al Haymon and ranked by the WBA as the third best welterweight in the world. With so many huge names in that weight class, it will be interesting to see what is next for the cerebral young man whose nickname means “African God of Thunder.”
Monroe Jr. Cruises, Sets up Charlo Matchup
Willie Monroe Jr. showed that he is still far too slick for anyone outside of boxing’s most elite, easily outboxing Javier Marcel in a fight that was as far from entertaining as it was far from competitive. On the PBC broadcast, Jermell Charlo appeared and consistently hinted that he would be the next opponent for Monroe. Should that fight happen, it would be a fascinating matchup. Monroe Jr. has looked great against middle of the road competition but faltered against the two elite opponents he has faced (GGG and Billy Joe Saunders). Charlo has looked elite so far as a professional. We’ll see if Monroe can prove he’s not on the GGG/Saunders level, or if Charlo can prove he’s the real deal.
Canelo’s Brother Remains Brother of Canelo
Canelo’s brother, Ramon Alvarez, dropped his journeyman opponent Nicolas Palacios, and ultimately won a unanimous decision over the Argentinean on Saturday night. Not being able to finish a 15-5 opponent and tiring so badly over the course of the fight that your opponent was able to stage a bit of a late-fight rally should tell you all you need to know about Alvarez. Before the fight, he suggested he would like to work his way up to winning a title. I would sarcastically say “good luck with that” but of course, luck is for the mediocre, my friend.
Harper Stages a One-Man Boxing Walkout Over Low Pay
Whenever you criticize a boxer, somebody inevitably says that you shouldn’t talk badly about these men because they have the courage to get in the ring, and you don’t. Does that rule still apply if they have the courage to get in the ring, then immediately walk out? That’s what happened when heavyweight boxer Curtis Harper immediately walked out of the ring in protest, as he felt he was not getting paid enough to face Nigeria’s Efe Ajagba. This moment became a viral sensation on twitter, as amateur comedians decided to use Harper’s exit as an opportunity to create a new meme about all the times they immediately walked away from something. While this was funny, Harper had an obligation to the paying customers in the crowd not to waste everybody’s time with a stunt like this. Speaking of stunts wasting everybody’s time…
’Celebrity’ Match Ends in Draw
And finally, not a real boxer/not a real rapper/not a real celebrity Logan Paul fought to a draw against his opponent, video game streamer KSI. Paul fought well early on, but tired in the later rounds as he moved past the point when his 12-year-old fanbase would have clicked another video. Some fans cried foul, arguing that a draw was proof the whole fight was rigged (many also didn’t understand how a majority draw worked, proving they are far from boxing diehards). From what I saw, the action looked real, but when we’re dealing with a business that runs on pretend beefs for content and clicks, who knows? Maybe Paul really wanted to go out and smash KSI. Maybe KSI wanted to go out there and smash Paul. The only thing for sure is, they both wanted you to smash that “subscribe” button.