By now everyone’s top 10 pound for pound list includes Vasyl Lomachenko and the majority of the boxing world agrees, Loma is a top 5 pugilist in the sport. Some go as far to say he’s the best based off eye test in the last year. If the main event doesn’t do much for you, the undercard has two fighters who potentially could do some damage at their respected division facing decent talent. This rare tripleheader on HBO will be broadcasted from the MGM National Harbor Hotel and Casino in Maryland.
Even as a sizable 8 to 1 underdog on the betting books, Jason Sosa is comfortable in that role. His disputed draw versus Nicholas Walters and knockout upset over Javier Fortuna gives him the confidence to make a run for the money. Once the bell rings it will show if Sosa can hang with the Ukraine native.
In his last outing, Lomachenko made a quality opponent in Nicholas Walters resemble chopped liver. Walters managed to land some body punches otherwise it was a complete whitewash that ended before the 8th round bell rang. Walters’ body language from the opening frames looked as if he was on auto-pilot, very zombie-like. In the last round or two it became apparent a few of Lomachenko’s power shots were having a serious affect on Walters. Prior to the Walters bout Loma scored a highlight-reel knockout via right hook in the 5th round.
Jason Sosa is legit opposition for Lomachenko but one would have to look far and wide to find someone who will pick the New Jersey native outside of Camden. Sosa does have a few tools he could apply in this tough style-matchup, but his flaws may do him in. For one, Sosa keeps a high guard with his hands too far apart which is a no-no against a speedster such as Loma. So look for the Ukrainian to exploit Sosa’s body and punch straight down the pipe in between that high, wide cover.
Sosa is fairly responsible on both offense and defense which normally is ideal in a high profile fight. Skills aside it may be a mind over matter thing that aids Sosa for this giant task at hand. Bottom line is Sosa needs to make this a rough and tumble affair. When Jason had Javier Fortuna hurt he shortened up his shots on the inside and also used a few veteran tricks, like holding and punching. Sosa must apply pressure to close the gap with a tucked chin and his forehead in Loma’s chest.
Jason has a ton of heart and will but is he skilled on the inside enough to contain or smother Lomachenko. I see this fight as a mildly-competitive contest that becomes one-sided. Lomachenko’s footwork, hand speed, and ring generalship is too advanced for Sosa and pretty much everyone else at 130. Unless Sosa throws caution to the wind in attempt to brawl out a victory, it should be mostly Loma by the mid to late rounds.
My official prediction is Vasyl Lomachenko by late technical stoppage.
Also, the other two undercard televised fights have some intriguing elements to them. At the top of the food chain in the cruiserweight division sits Aleksandr Usyk, who defends his belt against contender Michael Hunter. It’s not so much if but how Usyk beats Hunter. Usyk’s skill can’t be denied, it’s the conservative style in which the 2012 gold medalist has fought in his last two outings that some question. Can he look ultra talented and develop a killer instinct to attract fans in a virtually invisible division to the mainstream? Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs. Yunieski Gonzalez is a test to see just how good Gvozdyk is at this early stage of his pro career at light heavyweight.
Side Note: Live from Manchester, England Terry Flanagan vs. Petr Petrov on Box Nation. This lightweight championship bout will be streamed Live on Twitter in the United States.
Written by Chris Carlson Host of the Rope A Dope Radio Podcast available at blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio Subscribe on iTunes, Player.FM, Tunein, & Stitcher. Visit The Rope A Dope Podcast YouTube Channel & Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio