Vasyl Lomachenko Dominates, but Fails to Stop Jose PedrazaWith someone as good as Vasyl Lomachenko, anything but a flawless performance will bring out the critics. Because of this, Lomachenko’s failure to stop Jose Pedraza, despite dropping him twice in the 11th round and ultimately winning a unanimous 119-107, 117-109, 117-109 decision, unifying the WBO and WBA lightweight titles, could be viewed as a sign of potential future struggles.
The issue is that at lightweight, Vasyl Lomachenko has looked small. He struggled with Jorge Linares’ size and strength before ultimately stopping him with a body shot, and while he was winning rounds against Pedraza, Gervonta Davis walked through Pedraza easily, while Lomachenko’s pressure took time to wear down the Puerto Rican “Sniper.” A few days before the fight, Davis tweeted “Loma said Pedraza wouldn’t be a problem for him because I walked through him. Different strokes for different folks lil man,” an oddly prescient statement from “Tank.”
Other issues that may have been the problem for Lomachenko were his right shoulder, which he injured against Linares and had ESPN’s commentators counting how few right hooks he was willing to throw. Still, even with Lomachenko not 100 percent, he dominated Pedraza, and would have stopped him if Pedraza hadn’t committed himself to surviving in the 12th round rather than trying to actually win the round. There are very few fighters on earth who could beat Loma, even with a potentially compromised shoulder. After the fight, Lomachenko said that he wanted to fight Mikey Garcia; however, Garcia is fighting Errol Spence, Jr. so who knows who will fight Lomachenko (some rumors say Anthony Crolla, some say Miguel Berchelt).
Braekhus and Shields Both Win Decisions on Final HBO BroadcastWidely considered the best female fighter on the planet, Cecilia Braekhus easily boxed circles around her opponent, Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes, on way to winning every round except for one on the three judges’ scorecards, 100-90, 100-90, 99-91. Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, on the other hand, won every round of her match against Femke Hermans, ultimately defeating her opponent by a unanimous 100-90 decision victory.
Braekhus is still talking about fighting MMA star Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino, while Shields will be facing Christina Hammer in either March or April on Showtime. Both fights wee rather boring, and I feel the need to once again lobby for Braekhus and Shield to fight each other at a reasonable catchweight. What was not boring was watching HBO’s commentary team give their thoughts on the network’s final boxing show as well as the tribute video HBO aired. Jim Lampley especially deserves credit both for thanking the fighters that made HBO special and for encouraging viewers to continue watching the sport wherever else it lands. HBO Boxing was not the class of the sport, it was the class of sport, and I wouldn’t have expected it to go out any other way.
Estrada Stops “Spock” Mendez in Seventh RoundJuan Fransisco Estrada was too good for Victor “Spock” Mendez, and consistently beat the fellow Mexican to the punch throughout the fight before Mendez’s corner made the highly logical decision to stop the fight, ensuring Estrada didn’t further jeopardize a shot at living a long and prosperous life. Estrada has been well promoted on HBO, and with the network opting to stop airing boxing it would be nice to see if somebody like DAZN or Showtime can get behind both him and the super flyweight division in general.
Kell Brook Fails to Impress in Decision WinKell Brook was supposed to come out guns blazing and look so good against Michael Zerafa that people would be demanding the fight against Amir Khan he has so vocally called for. That didn’t happen. Instead, Kell looked average at best and was even hurt in the ninth round of his eventual unanimous 118-110, 119-109, 117-111 decision victory. The performance was so mundane that Khan was seen in a video widely circulated on Twitter essentially scoffing at Kell Brook’s performance while a friend laughed in the background.
After the fight, Brook acknowledged his subpar performance, while his promoter Eddie Hearn tried to argue that because Brook looked so bad, Khan should be eager to fight him. Khan has a supposed $5 million offer to fight Terence Crawford; however, British media outlets are reporting he has been offered almost $10 million for the Kell Brook fight. This is a fight that should have happened years ago, with both fighter’s declines it’s not the biggest deal either way.
Emmanuel Navarrete Takes Advantage of Star-Making Opportunity Dogboe Fails to Capitalize OnOn Saturday night, Isaac Dogboe was supposed to become a star. Instead, little-known Mexican Emanuel Navarrete stole the show, battering the Ghanaian on way to a unanimous 116-112, 116-112, 115-113 decision victory to become the new WBO super bantamweight champion.
In a fight that was not as close as the official scores would suggest, Navarrete was too big and too strong for Dogboe, walking him down and blasting him with big shots that had Dogboe’s eyes swollen and ringside doctors thinking about stopping the fight. Dogboe entered the ring after stopping to dance alongside a few African drummers and spent almost his entire introduction screaming “Neho!”, his own personal war cry that was embroidered on al of his team’s gear. Neho is a Ghanaian word for lifting oneself out of adversity. But all the hype, and all the neho in the world wasn’t going to keep Navarrete off of Dogboe, who moved to 26-1 with 22 knockouts, and has not lost a fight since 2012. Navarrete capitalized on the opportunity he was afforded, and Dogboe did not.
Teofimo Lopez Scores One-Punch Knockout That Lands Him on SportsxenterTeofimo Lopez knocked out Mason Menard so viciously on Saturday night that the 21-year-old ended up being the rare boxer to appear on Sportscenter’s Top 10. While Lopez was expected to beat Mason Menard not many expected to see a one-punch knockout that could end up as a late KO of the Year candidate. After the fight, the 2016 Honduran Olympian even threw on a Kyler Murray jersey and gave photographers the Heisman pose, in a savvy bit of ESPN cross promotion.
Transgender Boxer Pat Manuel Wins Historic Unanimous DecisionAnd finally, in a rare bit of boxing history, Pat Manuel a transgender boxer who almost made the Olympics as a woman named Patricia Manuel won a unanimous decision over his winless opponent, Hugo Aguilar. Manuel had been out of boxing for a couple of years while both making the transition to male and fighting to get a license to fight as a male.
After the fight, Manuel faced some booing, which he acknowledged while simultaneously thanking his opponent for fighting him exactly how he would have fought any other opponent, saying “I just have to say my opponent, hats off to him. He came to fight. He was fighting me the whole time. He fought me as a man, and I have so much respect for him. I hear some fans aren’t happy. It’s OK, I’ll be back. I’ll make them happy then.”
With Manuel vowing to continue fighting, this is a story that will gain serious traction over the next couple of months, one way or another.
« Previous Vasiliy Lomachenko Dominates Jose Pedraza to Unify Lightweight Titles Next Sherdog’s Weekend Boxing Preview »