Vasyl Lomachenko v Richard Commey
Live on BT Sport
One of the biggest names in world boxing returns to the main stage this weekend when pound for pound superstar Vasyl Lomachenko faces Richard Commey. This is a fascinating fight and a chance for Hi-Tech to score an important win but to get that victory, he must defeat a talented opponent that has fought his way up from the bottom.
This clash will play out before a capacity crowd at Madison Square Gardens in New York, as well as the millions of armchair fans watching around the world. Loma is the hot favourite to emerge victorious but fight fans know all too well that this venue has thrown up more than a few shock results in its time. Are we about to see another?
Hi-Tech sets high standards
Lomachenko steps into the ring for what will be his 18th outing as a professional, with the man from Ukraine carrying a record of 15 wins against two defeats. Following a glittering amateur career that led to him winning just about every prize worth winning, Lomachenko was thrown in at the deep end as a prizefighter and faced Jose Luis Ramirez on his debut, an opponent with a 25-3-0 record. That bout was scheduled for 10 rounds but Loma got the job done inside four.
Despite losing to Orlando Salido for the WBO world featherweight title in his second outing, Vasyl has enjoyed an incredible career at the top of the sport. His skills and ability allowed him to completely bypass the learning period most professional fighters come through. His only other defeat was a shock loss to Teofimo Lopez in Las Vegas for the WBA, IBF and WBO world lightweight titles last year. He has since returned to stop Japan's Masayoshi Nakatani in nine rounds.
There are no surprises in the pre-fight betting with Loma priced like losing isn't an option here. Those looking to back Lomachenko for the win are likely to be forced into the specials as there's no more than 1.121/8 trading. A second KO on the bounce is 1.574/7 with a points cheer 3.9.
Commey has nothing to lose
Commey enters this bout as the underdog, but that will be nothing new to a fighter that has clawed his way up through the dirt of professional boxing. The 34-year-old from Ghana has 30 wins against three defeats with 27 knockouts and only one stoppage loss. The man responsible for that KO/TKO was Teofimo Lopez, who finished the African now fighting out of Brooklyn inside two rounds at this venue two years ago.
Commey is a rare breed in professional boxing these days, adopting a "have gloves will travel" approach. He is happy to go where the fights are, making money taking on the best and, more often than not, he holds his own. Richard started his career in Africa before moving to London and fighting on a few York Hall cards under the good people at Goodwin Boxing. He then fought and won in Denmark and South Africa before moving to the US.
Commey beat Raymundo Beltran in eight rounds two summers ago, showing his class, and it was that win that gained him a fight with Lopez. The betting tells us Commey is here merely to make up the numbers with an upset win priced at 7.613/2. That's a hefty price about a determined fighter, and he's certainly better than those odds.
Loma will get the job done
It's impossible not to like Commey's story. He has done things the hard way, travelling the world, relying on his skills and desire to reach the top. This match against Lomachenko is nothing short of what he deserves, but after Lopez blasted him out, it's easy to see Lomachenko doing the same.
Loma is a supremely talented boxer who likes to pick opponents apart and doesn't take unnecessary risks. He hasn't scored an early knockout win since defeating Isa Chaniev in two rounds almost three years ago. We're backing Lomachenko to win in the middle rounds.