This Saturday night, immediately following the Heisman Trophy Ceremony on ESPN, Top Rank hosts their yearly December show with a familiar name on the marquee. Former top-dog at lightweight Vasiliy Lomachenko faces the rough and rugged Richard Commey.
This fight only adds to the 135-pound palooza of bouts over the last two weeks featuring the crème de crème, including Devin Haney, Teofimo Lopez, Gervonta Davis.
Two new additions to the elite class at lightweight are George Kambosos and Isaac Cruz. Time will tell who comes out on top, or maybe it will be a round-robin-like feel, and no one clears the table.
Until then, we have a few years’ worths of fights at 135 and, hopefully, help raise the awareness of all these quality fighters.
Up until last October, Vasiliy Lomachenko was pretty much on everyone’s top-3 pound for pound list, having won three belts at three different weight classes. Then came along a dynamic young, hungry fighter named Teofimo Lopez, and that all changed.
Since then, as we know, Lopez was abruptly knocked off his pedestal by George Kambosos. It had been a long time since Loma tasted defeat dating back to his 2nd pro fight against Orlando Salido.
It’s been obvious that the 135-pound division isn’t ideal for Lomachenko, even though the wins kept stacking up. Loma doesn’t have the same snap and punching power, plus he got put to the mat by Jorge Linares, and a few other times, he didn’t look elite per se. That said, the shoulder injury could’ve played a minor part in his lack of intensity in the first six frames versus Teofimo.
Once Vasiliy snapped out of it, he put plenty of rounds together, making for a closer, more competitive fight with Teo down the stretch. Loma did get surgery; we don’t know exactly how severe the injury was, but one thing is for sure, he performed at a high-level back in June versus Masayoshi Nakatani.
Can Loma duplicate that outing this Saturday night when he takes on Richard Commey in the big room at Madison Square Garden? It would seem the style of Commey matches up almost perfectly for Loma’s skill-set as Richard loves to take the fight directly to his opponent. He should be able to catch Richard coming in with counter shots and likely pivot or escape the pocket.
One thing going for Commey is the fact that Lomachenko does stay within punching range a good portion of his fights. The bad thing about that is Commey not being able to keep up with the foot speed and angles that give an illusion Loma is there to be hit but then poof, he’s gone or on the opposite side of his foe in a blink of the eye.
The only realistic path to victory for Commey is to take a page out of Salido’s book. Whether it’s a jab, head movement, or a body shot, Commey must efficiently get inside and place his head on Loma’s chest. A rough and tumble affair using a free hand in the clinch to land to the body and hip is fair play for Commey.
As I previously mentioned, based on the Nakatani bout, it doesn’t appear that Lomanchenko is over the hill, so it’s unlikely we will see him get old overnight. Commey, a year older as well as more wear and tear due to the amount of punishment he’s taken, would probably show more signs of being long in the tooth.
Bottom line Loma is too skilled to the fleet of foot and has a variety of ways to skin a cat. This boxing podcaster won’t completely count out Commey, but the odds are stacked against him, and he will have to really hurt and even drop Loma to beat him.
It will still be an entertaining fight but a clear victory by the Ukrainian as he moves on to possible bigger and better things like George Kambosos.
My Official Prediction is Vasiliy Lomachenko by Unanimous Decision.
Side Note: On the ESPN/ESPN+ undercard, keep an eye out for high-rated prospects Xander Zayas, Jared Anderson, and Keyshawn Davis. Also, Showtime has a Tripleheader topped by Nonito Donaire vs. Reymart Gaballo, including Abdukakhrovo/Crowley & Lee/Heraldez.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio