Vasyl Lomachenko vs Jose Pedraza Scorecard by Gold

scorecard by GOLD



Vasyl Lomachenko

Jose Pedraza

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Gold's picture

Underwhelming performance by Lomachenko, but he got the job done. I didn't really think this outside style would give Lomachenko that much to think about, Lomachenko won the vast majority of the rounds but definitely didn't look like the #1 p4p some people believe he is. He got hit cleanly which showed. Pedraza was a weak world champion, lost nearly every round and got KO'd in 7 by 22 year old Gervonta Davis. Two things this fight confirms again to me is that Lomachenko's power is massively overrated at Lightweight, Loma tagged Pedraza cleanly the entire fight and it took until the 11th to drop him, and that Lightweight is Loma's highest viable weight class. Lomachenko is a p4p but he is not a transcendent fighter, Lightweight Pretty Boy Floyd and Pac would do what Lomachenko couldn't and destroy Pedraza. I would give Mikey Garcia a slight edge versus Lomachenko right now, but we'll see how bad the damage is from the Spence fight. Luckily for Lomachenko, he gets an easy fight with Crolla next and he'll be able to look invincible versus a limited opponent.

Look, I'm not one of the people who put him in the same league as Pac or Mayweather, especially when it comes to accomplishment in the pros, where he has pretty much no chance to get there, since he came in way too late from the amateurs.

However, Pac won a somewhat similar UD over Oscar Larios, a past his prime super-bantam champion who had just been KOed in that weightclass. He came all the way up two weight classes to 130 and survived 12 rounds. Mayweather went UD against Carlos Hernandez, Carlos Rios(came up a weight class and got KOed in his title attempt at FW), etc. Everyone can have an off night, and most consider both of those guys top ten ALL-TIME p4p, so it isn't exactly a fair standard to set.

Gold's picture

What I'm saying is that in his two fights at Lightweight, he has struggled although he's ultimately won. It doesn't seem to be a problem with just being an off night either like the Pacquaio and Mayweather examples. Now that Lomachenko is facing guys who are bigger than him, he isn't able to do the same things he used to do, which opens the question of if he can beat Mikey Garcia. There are people who legitimately think Lomachenko is in that tier, would beat Pacquiao, Duran, etc. That's delusional but it's actually out there. As you said, he got to the pros too late, and given how much he relies on his athleticism he may only have a few years left of his prime.

You think that is clear off a two fight sample, one where he tore his labrum and the other coming back from it, to make that statement? I think that is ridiculous. Also, while I'll agree he struggled with Linares, winning nearly every round and nearly finishing a fighter in the 11th isn't struggling. It was an off performance by his standards, but Pedraza still barely landed on him.

Gold's picture

That's the sample size we have, his labrum has nothing to do with his movement but his movement wasn't a factor versus Pedraza, which is partially a credit to Pedraza. You can't compare Lomachenko's performances versus complete non-factor opponents like Sosa and Marriaga that had no business being in the ring with him because that's hopefully not the level of opposition he's going to face in the future. Even if you posit that him performing worse is only because of the labrum, you can't assume he's going to perform how he was before. Struggling is the wrong word for the Pedraza fight, but it was unimpressive. Pedraza did land on Lomachenko, Lomachenko's face got marked up and that was obvious by the end of the fight, but he never landed anything really of substance. Lomachenko's defense was good and he caught a lot of the punches. I have him as my #4 p4p fighter. I think he is great, but I still feel like he lost to the best fighter he's faced in his career in Salido, and that he is capped out at Lightweight.

Some people mark up faster than others. I don't think that is a sign that he got hit much, we've seen in fights before, like the one with Marriaga, that Loma sometimes sustains facial damage even when he has barely been hit. I think it was an unimpressive performance by his standards, but I think it is unfair to make remarks on his entire career and his worth as a boxer based on it. Clearly, that is where we differ, and I don't care to discuss that point any further.

I'm not going to get much in to the Salido fight, because that has been argued to death, and I don't feel like discussing it anymore. I'll be succinct by saying I don't think it is a mark against him(more of a mark for Salido's legacy), and I don't think any fighter active would have beat a Salido type in their 2nd fight under those conditions. I also feel he would finish Salido if he fought the same Salido today(or even a few matches after). He had him pretty much figured out by the last few rounds, and Salido held to survive in the 12th.

The way I see it Linares, Russell, Walters, Rigo(I'm just going to put small here to avoid that inevitable tangent), and Martinez is a solid run in the fashion he got them. I'd put Linares and Russell on the same level as Salido at the very least. Keep in mind this is a time in boxing when Crawford is the main competition and his resume is Gamboa(possibly even smaller relative to Crawford than Rigo was to Loma), Postol, Indongo, Horn, and Benavidez Jr(hobbled by a gunshot wound, and pretty similar result to Loma-Pedraza TBH, except Crawford finished it off when he got the KD). Neither is a great resume, but personally, I'd easily take Loma's over Crawford.

Maybe you don't have Crawford no.1. But every boxer currently has their warts. On Paper Canelo is probably number 1, but he is knocked down by the manner he got it. Most feel he lost the first fight, and the 2nd was essentially 50-50. Mikey had long period of inactivity and his resume is no better than the guys above. Inoue has the most limited resume of all of them. Usyk has put together a lot of good wins recently, but he did have a middling performance inbetween against Briedis. I have heard inside info the Briedis changed after that fight and isn't with some of the coaches responsible for his success, but either way the optics aren't great for Usyk after the WBSS round 1. Spence has Brook and Peterson then nothing else.

I personally still have Loma number one, although I docked him down for this fight, but it can be reasonably argued for a number of fighters(Loma, Crawford, Canelo, and Usyk all have a good case). As for the shoulder injury, I am hoping that he was working it out in this match and it will improve over time. Obviously, it is a possibility that there is permanent damage, and I'll make that judgement once I get a reliable sample. Also, his movement does have something to do with his shoulder, because you aren't going to pivot to set up an angle for a right hook when you don't want to throw that punch at high volume. I agree he is probably capped out at 140 due to a natural lack of power, although I think he could move up for favorable matchups(like if Linares won a belt off someone at 140).

Being capped out at 3 divisions isn't crazy though, very few people carry natural power up like Pac(or put on weight), and very few people have the reach/height ratio of Mayweather. That is why they're top ten p4p all-time. Most fighters have some physical limitation that prevents them from moving up that much.

Gold's picture

If I remember correctly, and I haven't rewatched the Marriaga fight, Lomachenko got marked up by Marriaga's headbutts because Marriaga led with his head. I'm not making judgments on his entire career or him as a boxer based on the Pedraza fight, rather I'm attempting to project on how well he can do at Lightweight based on his performances at Lightweight, not ridiculous in my opinion.

One thing I will say about the Salido fight is that in general it is kind of disingenuous when people say it was his second pro bout and use that to excuse the Salido loss against Lomachenko as a lack of experience. Outside of his massive amateur experience, he had 6 WSOB fights which are essentially AIBA sanctioned pro bouts. In addition, it was versus an aging Salido. While I agree that Salido would have been stopped if he would have rematched Lomachenko, I think he's a bad stylistic matchup prime vs. prime that we haven't seen Lomachenko take since then.

I agree in that of active boxers, only Pacquiao (who is a non-factor at a pound for pound level) and Canelo have good resumes. Everyone else is questionable, I agree people could have any of Crawford, Usyk, Canelo, or Lomachenko #1. Linares and Russell are good wins, his best ones, but to me, Martinez and Walters were not good wins. Martinez was a weak world champion and Walters had lost motivation before the Loma bout, having lost his title on the scales previously. Outright disagree that Gamboa is smaller relative to Crawford than Rigondeaux is to Lomachenko. Gamboa worked his way up to Lightweight and had actually beat decent contenders outside of Featherweight before fighting Crawford. Rigondeaux is a career Super Bantamweight. One thing I will say about Crawford vs. Benavidez is for me at least, I thought that Benavidez would be his best opponent since Postol because he has legitimate skills but has had a very underwhelming career partially because of being shot. I thought Benavidez would go the distance and I didn't think Pedraza would. Also, Crawford had Benavidez figured out after the first third of the fight and Crawford is a known slow starter. I didn't think Pedraza would give Lomachenko that much to think about late into the fight. I don't think Crawford or Lomachenko have good resumes, but Crawford has a much better style that will help him in big fights and will age better over time.

If his shoulder isn't 100% yet he's going to get an easy tuneup versus Crolla next anyways. It's not just that he wasn't stepping around with his hook, it's that there was a lack of the usual flashy footwork to move in and out and create angles in general. I agree it's possible he could win a belt at 140 if there is a favorable matchup, but the same could be said for Crawford at 154, I don't see it happening for either of them.

Right, I'm not saying it is a bad thing, just that people who do think he can compete versus the top fighters above Lightweight are being unrealistic.

He did have a headbutt that contributed to the damage(caused a cut), but if I remember right, the headbutt landed on the brow. He still had swelling around the eyes, which is common for him after fights, even when he wasn't hit a lot. Obviously, I'm not denying he was hit at times, I just don't like when people use facial damage as representation of what landed when swelling and marking up is super inconsistent in its visual appearance between individuals, skin tones, different fights, etc. Sometimes partial lands actually do more damage to the face than clean ones. There is higher pressure if you land the force over a smaller area, and that is why we sometimes see cuts from glancing blows that only land on one small part of the glove. This is especially common in MMA(which I also follow) with Elbows and punches on the edges around the finger.

I think Pedraza landed more than previous opponents like Walters or Sosa because he took off the power on his shots to try to land volume, and he has a very long reach. Still, I don't think he landed anything significant, and I still think he only landed a very low percentage of the high volume he was throwing(according to compubox near 1000 punches, but we all know how inaccurate compubox can be). Either way, I see you saying he is not as special as people think and commenting on his p4p status as doing just that(making judgements on his career and his worth as boxer off this fight).

As for his experience, that is fair enough, but WSB fights still aren't like the pros. Everyone there fights amateur style, the refs still don't allow the type of inside game or fouls you see in the pros, and the gloves are made in a way that limits the force of each individual punch(or so I've heard). I know Loma himself said he couldn't close his fist fully with them on.

A lot of guys have had 100-400 amateur fights and still fought bums when they started boxing at the pro level. Look at how it ended up for guys like Bin, Barnes, and Aloyan when they tried to go the Loma route. All 3 fought in the WSB as far as I know. We don't see recent high level amateurs like Yeleussinov(a guy who also fought in the WSB) being thrown in there early. Even Rigo had six fights with lower level competition before stepping up to win a title. The amateurs and the pros are very different, which is why some great amateurs can't make the transition or struggle to do so.

As for Gamboa, there was a rehyradation weight difference of 7 pounds. The rehydration weight difference for Loma-Rigo was 8 pounds. Rigo had a 2.5 inch reach advantage, Crawford had a 9 inch reach advantage. Crawford was of monstrous size at lightweight, I still hold that he had the bigger size advantage when we take in to account the ridiculous difference in reach between him and Gamboa. Gamboa's only win at lightweight before Crawford was a gatekeeper who had feasted on regional level competition before fighting Gamboa. That doesn't impress me and doesn't change my opinion. I'll give you that he beat some decent super-featherweights, but I still think it comes down to the measurements when we're looking at a size advantage. It doesn't help the win that Gamboa has looked terrible since then, he got KOed by a Journeyman and won a robbery over Sosa(not that I'm saying Rigo's disappearance since then is good either).

Crawford is a known slow starter, but I thought he'd have Benavidez out of the fight earlier than he did. Benavidez had some talent, but even before the gunshot injury he had a win over Herrera that most consider a robbery, and that gunshot to the knee hurt his mobility. Basically, I wasn't impressed with that fight as you seem to be, since I came in expecting Crawford to put him out by around the 8th or 9th round. I don't fully disagree with what you say about their styles, but I will say this, I think Loma has shown to be very adjustable, and I think if loss of athleticism requires him to change his style he will do so. He relies less on offense/athleticism than someone like Pac, and Pac is still going along pretty decently at his age.

I don't disagree with you on most of the top fighters at light welter. I think they're just too big and physical for him. Luckily, there is a lot of talent coming up at 135 and already there at 130. I can only hope that those guys don't continue to duck Loma now that he has more perceived vulnerability.

Gold's picture

I'm just saying that Pedraza did definitely land cleanly on Lomachenko which caused the swelling and bruising from watching the fight, but again, I don't think he landed anything notable on Lomachenko. Conversely, I don't think anyone including yourself would say that he did as poorly as Marriaga either. Like you said, if damage was the only thing that was scored old man Hendo would have decisioned Bisping easily.

Pedraza is also bigger and better than Walters and Sosa, but generally, I agree that his strategy seemed to be to try to touch Lomachenko up and win rounds on points, although I think he did attempt to go to the body with some meaningful shots. I think Pedraza was willing to throw more and miss more as a part of his strategy, he wasn't going to get through Lomachenko's high guard defense and movement without throwing combinations. I think it is fair to somewhat demerit Lomachenko for this unimpressive performance. Lomachenko himself said he was 100% in regards to the injury and that it wouldn't be an issue. Obviously, he didn't let it go much in the fight, but given the relatively long layoff I think that is more of a mental issue, but that's just an assumption. To an extent, we can only judge what is put in front of us.

To be fair, those guys were not at the level Lomachenko was as an amateur. Lomachenko had one of the best amateur careers of all times and is the best amateur to turn pro. Rigondeaux didn't have the benefit of WSOB fights like Lomachenko did. The WSOB is not a perfect analog to prospect level fights, it has some negatives and positives. Like you said, it's going to be more amateur style, less inside fighting and not as many guys sitting down on their punches, but it also gets guys used to pro scoring, two more rounds than amateur boxing, and the level of opposition is higher than any pro prospect will get.

Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux had a rehydration clause, and the effective size of Gamboa was much closer to Crawford than Rigondeaux was to Lomachenko. Lomachenko was a good sized Super Featherweight, Rigondeaux was simply not cutting down as much as he would to make Super Bantamweight. In addition, Rigondeaux had ridiculous inactivity prior to the Lomachenko fight, he only had three rounds in two years. Like I said, Gamboa had put on effective weight and moved his way up to Super Featherweight and Lightweight. Gamboa's style was never one that relied on being the bigger man or outside boxing (which Rigondeaux's did). I never thought Perez was good, but he's better than you are giving him credit for, and he was a top 10 level guy. When Gamboa beat him he was undefeated and went on to hold a title. Put it this way, the oddsmakers are not always perfect, but they remain in business for a reason. Gamboa was about a +150 underdog and Rigondeaux was about a +350 underdog. I think only the Russell Jr fight was close to Gamboa's odds, Linares was something like a +750 in what was sold, and some people believed, to be a "50/50 fight".

The Herrera win was bad, but remember that before he was shot, Benavidez was thought to be the better talent between him and David Benavidez. His cagey counter punching style and size was going to make it difficult for Crawford to get him out of there that early, I thought Benavidez would go the distance. Benavidez wasn't giving Crawford the many oppertunities Pedraza gave Lomachenko, Crawford had to create oppertunities himself which meant he had to trade. What I will say about Lomachenko's adaptability is that he hasn't faced as wide of a variety of fighters as Crawford has, and things like footwork and hand speed are usually the first things to go, which Lomachenko relies heavily on. Pac was also a much better puncher than Lomachenko and an incomparably better athlete, and that isn't a slight against Lomachenko.

We will likely see Lomachenko vs. Berchelt next year, I worry that Berchelt's skills are too raw for Lomachenko, but he also has a lot of positives that I think can give Lomachenko his toughest test if he gets off to a good start.

I never said those guys were on the level of Loma in the amateurs, but Loma is arguably the amateur GOAT, so we're not going to find a guy equal to his level. I think Yeleussinov is close enough though, he won gold in the most stacked amateur weight class in that olympics, and many had him ranked at or near amateur P4P number 1. He also had 4 WSB fights, and he won all 4 of them. Yet 4-5 fights in and he is still fighting guys who are nowhere near world level.

He is the best example, but you can look at any of the guys who went pro in 2012/2016 off of olympic success. Usyk is another good example. 300+ amateur fights, multiple golds(1 olympic, 1 world) in his amateur career, and yet he still fought below world level guys up until his 10th fight. There isn't a single amateur who has went the Loma route and succeeded against a boxer the level of Salido, and that is why we're still seeing something inbetween the classic slow build that would waste years of an experienced amateurs career and the Loma route with today's top amateurs.

Loma-Rigo did have a rehydration clause, and Loma weighed .6 pounds under it. If you've followed his career closely so far, you'll note that he has stayed around 136-138 after rehydration for pretty much his entire career. Even at 135, I think he is something like 140 at heaviest. I don't buy that there is some big unseen weight gain between the morning and the fight if that is what you're implying. Rigo absolutely did not rely on being the bigger man. He did rely on outside boxing, but he there is no physical reason why he did not have the opportunity to apply those skills; as I already pointed out Loma had a 2.5 inch reach DISADVANTAGE. He was unable to land anything because he relied far too much on being able to block the orthodox jab(then counter with the left), which he couldn't do against Loma. He had no plan B when Loma adjusted to his style with the double jab and lead uppercut to cut him off from bending at the waist. After that he could do nothing but resort to holding, and Rigo would have been TKOed or DQed had he not quit between rounds.

No matter how "effective" you think the weight was, bottom line Crawford had 7 pounds on Gamboa and 9 inches of reach. You can't just dismiss 9 inches of reach in boxing, that is an absolutely huge advantage, especially when we're talking an elite outside boxer who loves to counter off opponent's mistakes. Gamboa had to get through almost a foot of distance where he could be hit but couldn't land offense against one of the top counter punchers in boxing. To me it comes down to this, while Rigo didn't move up as naturally, Loma is above-average at best for 130. Gamboa moved up more naturally, but Crawford was of monstrous size at 135. This is the same guy who was rehydrating above 150 at LW and to nearly 160 at light welter(5 pounds heavier than Postol, who was big for that weightclass). I still have heard nothing credible to change my opinion that Crawford had at least a much of a size advantage over Gamboa as Loma did over Rigo.

Oddsmakers remain in business because they set up odds to make betting attractive enough that they will make money regardless of the result, they're not setting odds to exactly reflect real life. Also, perception heavily effects betting odds, and Rigo is a fighter who is unknown aside from hardcore boxing fans(same reason why Donaire was -300), while Loma came in with more hype than Crawford due to his amateur career. 2 years after this fight he did a pretty awful 50 K buys against Postol; he has only started to receive hype from more casuals recently.

A lot of boxing people thought Loma was going to lose, and if you looked back to what you were saying at the time, I wouldn't be surprised if you gave Rigo a decent shot at the time. Don't try to sell Gamboa being a bigger challenge than Linares off odds either, just because Linares was overlooked because of bad losses, and Loma was overhyped coming off the easy win over Rigo, doesn't mean that jumping up to fight a bigger, more explosive outside boxer who was the most accomplished at his weight class was a less impressive challenge than beating a smaller man jumping up who has looked awful since the fight. Gamboa has straight up sucked since the Crawford fight, got stopped by a journeyman, clearly lost in a robbery over Sosa, and just barely scraped by a way below world level mexican boxer who had just fought a 1-4 boxer two fights before Gambia.

We'll have to agree to disagree on Benavidez too, his defense didn't impress me before or in this fight, and his mobility looked shot post gunshot. I don't think expecting a TKO/KO by round 8 or 9 is crazy. I don't agree that Pedraza was giving Loma a lot of opportunities either, I actually thought he showed good defensive movement and did a decent job never over-committing on his punches.

Well, yeah, Crawford has almost 3 times the fight so you would expect him to see more styles. What he hasn't done is faced a lot of quality, and I still think he has the weakest opposition of the 4 front runners we talked about for p4p 1. We've also never seen Crawford face a credible boxer against a size disadvantage. I don't rate anybody Terence has beaten other than Postol, and even Postol I rate below the top level at 140.

I don't agree footwork is the first thing to go, I'd say it is more reflexes and durability. Hand speed does go over time as well. However, Loma has very good but not insane hand speed, and has never relied on that quality all that much. He has beaten two fighters already at a handspeed disadvantage. He hasn't taken a lot of damage in his fights, and there is no reason to doubt his fitness or motivation going forward. Therefore, I expect him to show longevity. And Yes, Pac is definitely the better athlete and power puncher, but he also has a somewhat one-sided offensive style that has caused him to take a lot of punishment over his career. Yet, he is still going decently strong at 39.

I look forward to the possibility of a Berchelt fight in 2019. I think Berchelt will test Loma on the inside, but Loma will show how he has improved as an all-around fighter. Davis is another good challenge, and then you have multiple prospects coming up at 135 that he could fight eventually. Obviously, the Mikey fight is the true test that everyone wants to see, but I think there are a lot of good fights to be made for Loma, and I don't think he'll have to establish himself at 140 beyond an odd fight or two to have a legacy.

Gold's picture

Disagree about Yeleussinov being close enough, there is a pretty big gap between him and Lomachenko. I think Robisey Ramirez would be a better analog in terms of skill and amateur career, but his style is less pro ready. I think if Julio Cesar la Cruz were to turn pro today he could potentially beat Beterbiev in one of his first bouts because the gap in athleticism would be massive. Beterbiev is stiff with slow hands and feet, but la Cruz won't be turning pro likely ever so that won't happen. Hearn would be more likely to fast-track Yeleussinov if he had a Welterweight champion with perceived weaknesses to match him against or a vacant title opportunity. Salido showed that it can backfire to match guys with big amateur backgrounds in title fights versus experienced pros. When Lomachenko beat Gary Russell, Russell had little meaningful pro experience despite having a lot of fights. You don't think if Eddie Hearn had a similar scenario he wouldn't match Yeleussinov for a vacant title? Right now Eddie has zero control in the Welterweight division and doesn't have a lot of good fighters to match him against. If Yeleussinov moves up levels well, he will be a relatively high risk and low reward fighter so he'll likely have to fight for a title in a mandatory.

Usyk also didn't have the promotional backing of Top Rank and the amateur hype that could have got him into a title position that Lomachenko got. It isn't totally unprecedented for boxers to fight for titles in their first, second, or third fights, but they have to have the backing to do so. Pete Rademacher fought Floyd Patterson in his first fight. Saensak Muangsurin won a world title in his third fight. I always found the number of fights to win a title to be a deceptive achievement, Wilfred Benitez winning a legitimate world title versus a hall of fame opponent in Antonio Cervantes at 17 years old will forever be the high watermark for me.

What I'm saying is that the rehydration clause was irrelevant, Lomachenko knew he could make the weight and Rigondeaux was not going to be able to put on effective weight by the time of the fight. Lomachenko was filled out at Super Featherweight, he had a big effective size advantage over Rigondeaux. It is like how Hurd has had fights with the IBF rehydration clause where he wasn't that much over the Super Welterweight limit but still had a big effective size advantage over guys like Trout and Hurd. Conversely, someone like Chris Byrd had a lot of weight but not effective weight. There were plenty of reasons he couldn't do what he did versus Donaire, he was much smaller, much older, much more inactive, and fought someone who could fight at a high pace where Rigondeaux has had success by slowing the fight down.

Boxers can overcome large height and reach disadvantages if they are that much more skilled or have a good stylistic matchup. Mikey Garcia had a 5-inch height and 8-inch reach disadvantage versus Robert Easter. Mike Tyson and Joe Frazier had large height and specially reach disadvantages versus a lot of opponents. Gamboa had a better stylistic matchup versus Crawford to overcome the size difference than Rigondeaux. Gamboa was a skilled, come-forward swarmer, that does not rely as much on height or reach advantages. Rigondeaux relied on slowing the pace down, boxing guys on the outside, and clinching when it got on the inside which he wasn't able to do with the stylistic matchup versus Lomachenko. I also don't think it is ridiculous to say that Gamboa at that time was a better athlete than Crawford and that Gamboa's career, in general, was a massive waste of talent. Especially given the age difference, Lomachenko was the better athlete versus Rigondeaux.

In terms of opening odds, yes they set them to try to attract betting, but the closing odds reflect how bettors have moved the line, and betting lines are historically a more accurate predictor than general public and media perception. Promoters and media unrealistically change perceptions by making fights like Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux and Lomachenko vs. Linares seem like 50/50 fights when they weren't. Gamboa was not a known fighter by casuals either. He suffered from inactivity and being a Cuban boxer like Rigondeaux. Donaire was a favorite versus Rigondeaux because he was a top pound for pound fighter and Rigondeaux hadn't faced any opponents at Donaire's level. Not just because Donaire was known and Rigondeaux wasn't. Crawford vs Postol was on PPV because HBO wouldn't put up the money to make the fight happen. There is a handful of legitimate PPV draws in boxing. Lomachenko's draw is overrated by a lot of his fans. He came in with a lot of hype because of his amateur career which helped him get the Salido fight, but he is not a PPV draw or enough of a draw that it would massively skew betting lines. Canelo is a way bigger draw than Golovkin and Golovkin was a favorite versus Canelo for their first fight.

And we were wrong to do so. It is like how now people can see why Tyson Fury did so well versus Wilder when everyone at the time thought Wilder would KO Fury and that Fury was in no shape to get in the ring with Wilder. Sometimes the reasons why a fighter does better than expected are obvious in retrospect. Like I said, too old, too small, too much inactivity, and a bad stylistic matchup. Another notable point that wasn't discussed at the time is that historically, there are very few examples of boxers jumping straight up two weight classes to successfully challenge the #1 in their division and winning. The examples that do exist are guys like Sugar Ray Leonard and Bernard Hopkins, legitimate all-time greats. It wasn't realistic Rigondeaux could do it. Linares was the overhyped one, Linares's best win is probably Oscar Larios a decade ago or Anthony Crolla. Linares has good strengths but clear flaws, his stamina is bad, he cuts easily, he doesn't focus for twelve rounds, and he doesn't have an inside game. He went to a split decision versus Luke Campbell the fight before, and the fight was legitimately a 7-5 6-6 fight with a knockdown for Linares against Campbell. To say that Linares was the most accomplished at his weight class, while it is true, it says more about how bad Lightweight was at the time. I would be extremely surprised if Linares did well going forward, he has a lot of miles on him and he's fighting at too high of a weight. No question that Gamboa is a waste of talent, he's 36 now and didn't fight in a way that will age well, but that has no effect on how good he was versus Crawford.

Pedraza threw something like 800 punches and was pushing a lot of the action, there were plenty of opportunities for Lomachenko. I was never high on Pedraza as a defensive boxer, a lot of his upper body movement is wasteful and puts him in bad positions.

They have similar numbers of world title fights and are nearly the same age. Crawford is a good sized Welterweight, there aren't a lot of fighters out there that are going to have a big size advantage over him. Crawford has a large list of good but not great level fighters, it depends how you assess resumes. In terms of who is the most complete, well-rounded boxer, Crawford is the #1 pound for pound.

In terms of foot speed and hand speed, it is, alongside reflexes which I should have mentioned. Durability is more of ring age than calendar age like foot speed and hand speed. I disagree that he doesn't rely on his hand speed and foot speed. Who is the other fighter outside of Russell Jr? Lomachenko had a very long amateur career where he went a lot of rounds, that is very taxing. Early Pacquiao had a basic offense, but the Pacquiao that beat Cotto had a really good offense. As you said, it is unfair to really compare Lomachenko to Pacquiao. He is a massive outlier as a pure athlete. Boxers that rely on speed and athleticism age more quickly. Guys who can fight at a slower pace, can control the action, and don't rely a lot on athleticism last the longest.

I would be surprised if the Berchelt fight doesn't happen, it is a realistic fight promotionally and both sides want it. If Berchelt can go to the body early and make his boxing and jab a viable threat, I think he can win, but I think that is unlikely. The Davis fight won't happen even though people want to see it, there is no reason for Davis to take it when he can wait for Lomachenko to age further. I have a more pessimistic outlook than you do on Lomachenko's future in terms of matchups. He's going to fight Crolla next and then probably Berchelt, but who will he fight after that? People hope Mikey Garcia, but I don't know if that fight will ever happen. The Lopez fight is at least a year or two down the road and I don't think Top Rank will match Lopez against Lomachenko because it is bad matchmaking. Crawford has a worse immediate future for matchups with a best-case scenario being guys like Khan and Kavaliauskas, but the Spence fight seems much more realistic. Both guys are trending closer to being able to make the fight viable on PPV than Lomachenko and Mikey are, and there isn't the bad blood like there is with Mikey and Top Rank.

Cruz would lose against any of the LHW champs right now. I'm confident in that. He is a great amateur, but he hugely relies on reflexes and athleticism for his defense. He already got knocked down in a fight I had him losing against Joe Ward, and the next fight after, he got KOed by Khalil Coe in round 1(they stop fights early in the amateurs, but still not impressive). Both of those guys will be big prospects when they go pro, but it is still obvious that he is already slowing down because of his reliance on physical gifts. If he got KDed two fights in a row in the amateurs, no way in hell he survives a 12 round fight against a pro that is going to be able to go inside and rough him up. I think he'd outpoint Beterbiev for a little while before getting caught and KOed. Beterbiev is flawed but he is a hell of a puncher, he has wobbled guys with little hooks in the clinch, I doubt Cruz gets through 12 rounds unscathed. I think Cruz's style is more effective in the amateurs than it would be in the pros.

Didn't I already say there is no direct comparison to Loma as an amateur? Why would I compare him to Cubans that aren't going pro or won't be anytime soon? I wasn't trying to use hypotheticals in my argument, and I still feel it is better to argue Yeleussinov than to make up some fantasy scenario about Ramirez. As for your question, no, I don't think Hearn would match similar to Loma if he could. He certainly wouldn't put him up against a two division champ who is prolific on the inside and will do any dirty tactic he can to win. That type of fighter would definitely beat Yeleussinov right now, let alone his second fight. I don't even think he'd match him against a 22-0 top prospect, especially not coming off an early loss you aren't even accounting for, which is part of what made that pretty brave matchmaking for Loma from TR. Much braver than you usually see from them. I also love how Loma is experienced because of WSB, but Russell suddenly becomes inexperienced coming in to the fight, despite the fact that he was a top amateur with almost 200 fights, and he had 22 fights as a pro. I never claimed he had fought at world level, and had never even mentioned him, because it was Salido we were talking about. Still, GRJ had fought several pretty decent fighters among those 22 fights. He was well prepared for a title shot, and it shows, since he recorded possibly the best win of his career 9 months after the Loma fight. Loma was just a much better boxer than GRJ, and that is why he won almost every round of that fight.

Usyk had amateur hype for sure, not as much as Loma, but he was pretty clearly the number 2 behind Loma. He was 335-12 and had won multiple golds at world level. He also kicked ass at SUPER-heavy against guys way, way larger than him. Didn't lose a round. If Loma wasn't around he would have been the best amateur to go pro in at least a few years. Sure, he didn't have TR behind him, but he did have K2 and Klimas. Regardless, it is irrelevant, because he wouldn't have been ready for a title fight early in his career, and I say that as a big fan of Usyk. Not only does he start slow consistently, he was definitely sloppier early in his career. He struggled a bit with a not particularly great Hunter 2 fights after winning the belt. He certainly wouldn't have gotten matched with the quality Loma was up against in fights 2 or 3, even if his promoters could get any fight they wanted.

It isn't unprecedented for Boxers to challenge early, it is just very rare, and the vast majority lost in that step up. Saensan won, but he was one of the few. That is way, way too long ago for me to know any of those guys, but the competition doesn't look like it was particularly good. Either way, I never claimed it was a pro for Loma to lose that fight. I just don't think it should be held against him. I think any fighter on that level of experience, against a fighter like Salido that excels with tactics that only work in the pros, with a ref that is a disgrace for the sport, would lose. Still, I think it is better for the sport when people take risks early and we see more competitive matchmaking. Modern boxing undercards suck in comparison to MMA, because you constantly see prospects up against guys being put in the ring to lose, while in MMA you get competitive matchups with no regard for losing a 0. So, while I agree going for a title early can be overrated, especially in an era where there are so many belts, I'd still rather see fighters test themselves early than beat the shit out of guys with losing records and no business being in the same ring.

No matter how much you try to rationalize the numbers to be different, I just don't buy it. If Crawford had a similar relative reach to Gamboa sure, but he has almost a foot on him. I missed the part where I said nobody wins against a reach advantage ever. But you know as well as I do that reach is a big factor in combat sports, and that it becomes bigger when you have to get inside against a great outside fighter. For that exact reason Gamboa was against a terrible stylistic matchup with Crawford, his only chance was to catch him early, and it is unlikely a much smaller boxer is going to KO a durable guy with the defensive skills Crawford has. I already explained why Loma didn't rely on size to outbox Rigo on the outside, so I'm not gonna repeat myself there. Gamboa was nearly 35 years old, he wasn't exactly a spring chicken either. No, I don't think Gamboa was a better athlete than Crawford, especially not when we take in to account strength and power. I'm not saying Gamboa a few years later is the exact same as Gamboa going in to the Crawford fight, but I think looking like shit right after that fight(which he did even in wins) shows Gamboa wasn't at his best when he fought Crawford, and I don't even rate him enough at his peak to think it was a good win for a guy with a giant size advantage like Crawford. Bottom line, I think Crawford was huge in comparison to Gamboa, and I don't think it is a credible win when we're talking pound for pound either, so no point bringing this up again.

Betting lines correlate with the result, sure. It isn't hard to correlate with the result when boxing doesn't have a ton of competitive matchups. I don't think the correlation is strong enough to look at individual fights and use small +-200 differences in betting lines to determine how big of a challenge a fight was. I never said either of those are 50/50 fights, and I don't credit Loma a ton for Rigo either. I just don't credit Crawford any more for Gamboa, and I certainly don't think it was more of a challenge than Linares. Crawford has barely fought guys with size advantages over him, and the ones he has fought have been super limited boxers like Horn and Indongo. None of them come close to the hand speed, power, and offensive skillset someone like Linares has. As you said, he is flawed, but what he does he does very well, and he probably put up his career best performance against Loma. Not gonna argue a strawman about PPV and Loma that I didn't claim, I merely said that Crawford was a lesser name against Gamboa than Loma was against Rigo, and I still believe that to be true. I never claimed Loma is a bigger name now; I think they're similar draws.

You don't rate Pedraza's abilities; I don't rate Benavidez's defense or mobility. Neither performance was impressive IMO. Crawford slightly more so, but again, I don't think he looked good either.

Yeah, but Crawford turned pro FAR earlier, so he is going to have more variety overall. If we're just comparing world title fights, then I don't really agree there is much difference in variety. Not blaming Crawford for being able to cut enough weight to be much bigger than the fighters he is facing, but it is still always a factor in how you rate fighters, and that is why we have a pound for pound list. I'm just not impressed with his resume overall, even with the weak current resumes of most boxers. I certainly don't agree on his technique putting him over the others indisputably. No point arguing that, it is too subjective.

I think he relies on foot speed, but I have never seen him as someone who has to have much faster hands than his opponents. Foot speed ages but footwork doesn't, and having great footwork is a hallmark of many of the combat sports fighters that have aged well. Linares is the other fighter who had faster hand speed; he has extremely fast hands. Yes, Lomachenko had a long amateur career, but he was a beast as an amateur and took very little damage. I think there are some miles there obviously, but because of his dominance, I don't think it ages him much. I'm not comparing their athleticism, I'm just saying Pac is an example of an offensive fighter who took a ton of damage who is still doing pretty well. I agree boxer's who rely on athleticism age worse; we just disagree on the extent to which Loma relies on it. I think he is an excellent technician who usually takes limited damage in his fights, and I think he will age well for that reason.

I agree it isn't completely ideal right now for Loma; I'm just optimistic that over time he will get matchups with guys like Berchelt, Davis, and even Mikey. Loma actively pushes for bigger matchups in his weightclass, and he isn't a guy that is complacent. No way a matchup with a guy like Salido happens that early without Loma himself asking for it. Plus, I see him staying at LW/SFW for the rest of his career, and I think he will have longevity, so I think there is a lot of time for these matchups to occur.

I wasn't saying that relative to Crawford's prospects. I see both aging well and getting good matchups down the line. Crawford's near future is horrible though, because TR doesn't really have anyone worth his time at WW, and PBC is even more notorious for their lack of cross-promotional matches than TR. This Collazo matchup being talked about is an absolute joke, and Khan isn't much better. Definitely the better relative matchup, but if I were Khan, I would take the big domestic clash with Brook then retire. I wish they would just go forward with Kavailauskas-Crawford, even though Crawford will also win that easy. However, I think Spence and Crawford are the two at 147, so unless Spence decides to move up, it is a matter of time before it happens IMO. It just may be a long wait. The only thing that makes me worry is the fact that Errol is 3 years younger, but as I said before, I think Crawford should have enough longevity for that not to affect the matchup.

Overall, this has been a good, detailed back and forth, but I think we've covered everything where we're going to hit a middle ground and agree. The rest we'll have to just agree to disagree.

Gold's picture

I pretty much agree that we are at the point where we aren't going to get anywhere. Boxing has a large amount of subjectivity especially when you are talking about assessing two fighters that haven't finished their careers yet. Hopefully, Lomachenko and Crawford get the chance to fight their legacy-defining fights versus Mikey and Spence respectively so they can be accurately assessed.

Totally agree, I enjoyed arguing back and forth, but like all pound for pound type arguments, it is barber shop type talk in the end. Trying to argue the top couple guys at the pound for pound is like arguing Lebron vs Jordan, it is too subjective for there to be one argument that has much more valid support than the other. This is especially true right now, when most guys are only about halfway through their careers and haven't had the big fights they need to clarify their status.

Like you, I can only hope that the top fighters pursue meaningful fights and the promoters step aside from their BS to make them. It is boxing, so there is always a possibility they don't happen or happen way too late, but I think we've at least seen a fairly large amount of good matchups recently. WBSS has been a big part of that, and I hope it doesn't collapse as the rumors are saying it might.