Vasiliy Lomachenko can win his method again to the highest at 135 towards Richard Commey — however what if he loses?

Former light-weight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko returns to the ring for his second combat of 2021, as he faces Richard Commey in the principle occasion of a High Rank boxing card at New York’s Madison Sq. Backyard on Saturday (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN+).

Lomachenko (15-2, 11 KOs), of Ukraine, hoped to have a rematch with Teofimo Lopez, however when that combat did not materialize, Commey represented a great measuring stick. And with the latest unimpressive performances of the opposite high lightweights up to now 10 days — Lopez, Gervonta Davis and Devin Haney — the stakes of the Lomachenko-Commey combat are even greater than they initially appeared. A victory might put Lomachenko, 33, in place to face undisputed light-weight champion George Kambosos Jr. subsequent yr.

Can Lomachenko win? Is he nonetheless an elite fighter at 135? And what if he loses?

Mike Coppinger weighs in on the largest questions forward of Saturday’s combat.

Why is Lomachenko combating Commey?

Lomachenko was decided to safe a rematch with Lopez for the undisputed light-weight championship, however Lopez by no means significantly entertained the thought. Commey is Lomachenko’s second consecutive former Lopez opponent; Lomachenko stopped Masayoshi Nakatani in June.

Commey, 34, of Ghana, is a sturdy former champion (the second-round TKO loss towards Lopez however) who presents a mode that ought to permit Lomachenko to impress. Certain, Lomachenko should cope with Commey’s measurement and energy, however in any other case, he is a stationary fighter whom Lomachenko ought to be capable to field circles round.

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There additionally weren’t too many different choices. High Rank hoped to land the Lopez-Lomachenko rematch earlier than Lopez tested positive for COVID, delaying his combat till the autumn. Haney was obtainable, however High Rank hasn’t proven a ton of curiosity in matching Lomachenko with the 23-year-old.


Is Lomachenko nonetheless an elite light-weight?

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Vasiliy Lomachenko dominates his combat vs. Masayoshi Nakatani and forces the referee to name the combat in the midst of Spherical 9.

Not solely is Lomachenko nonetheless elite, he may be the perfect of the bunch. Simply because Lomachenko lost to Lopez, we won’t disregard all the good issues he achieved at light-weight earlier than then. And let’s not overlook: Lomachenko did fight Lopez with a torn rotator cuff. Excuse or not, that is a debilitating damage. Lomachenko began sluggish and confirmed Lopez an excessive amount of respect through the first half. Throughout the later rounds in that combat, Lomachenko was doing wonderful work.

We’ll have to see how Lomachenko performs towards Commey, however I imagine he is nonetheless the perfect fighter competing at 135 kilos.


How does Lopez’s loss to Kambosos alter the stakes of this combat?

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Gervonta Davis maintains his unbeaten document after defeating Isaac Cruz within the WBA light-weight title combat.

For Lomachenko, the stakes are clear: separate your self from the pack with a dominant victory and land a combat with Kambosos for the undisputed championship.

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Davis failed to impress in his win over Isaac Cruz. Haney seemed higher in his win over Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr., but it surely was removed from a spectacular efficiency. The door is now firmly open for Lomachenko to win in type and demand the Kambosos bout.


What if Commey defeats Lomachenko?

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Teofimo Lopez Jr. places on a Joe Burrow jersey after defeating Richard Commey at MSG in December, just like when Lopez sported a Kyler Murray jersey in his win the earlier December.

All three excessive stakes latest light-weight title fights featured heavy underdogs who exceeded expectations, and that ought to solely serve to inspire Commey. He can punch, and he is lots stronger than Lomachenko.

If Kambosos might upset the percentages to topple Lopez, Diaz might go toe-to-toe towards Haney and Cruz might push Davis to the brink, why not Commey? With added gas on the again of these underdog performances, Commey cannot be counted out.

A victory for Commey and he might discover himself within the driver’s seat for a shot at Kambosos. Each boxers are promoted by Lou DiBella, and Commey would certainly be seen as a better problem for the Australian.

A second Lomachenko loss in three fights can be devastating for him, and it could mark the tip of his prolonged run as one of many high 10 pound-for-pound boxers on the planet. Maybe then he would lastly return to 130 kilos, the place a bout with Shakur Stevenson might await, although it could lose loads of luster within the wake of a loss.


Will we ever see a Lopez-Lomachenko rematch?

With Lopez planning to maneuver to 140 kilos, the prospect of a rematch with Lomachenko appears dim.

Lomachenko began his profession at 126 kilos and his greatest weight is at 130 kilos. It’s miles extra seemingly we see Lomachenko combat Stevenson subsequent yr at junior light-weight than Lopez at junior welterweight. It is simply tough to ever see Lomachenko shifting as much as one other weight class.

And even earlier than the loss, Lopez confirmed little interest in combating Lomachenko once more, repeatedly saying that the Ukrainian did not deserve a rematch. Perhaps the setback towards Kambosos will change Lopez’s thoughts now that he is now not champion and misplaced the leverage that accompanies it.

However even when Lopez is abruptly excited about operating it again with Lomachenko, he would certainly want to stay it out at 135 kilos for yet one more combat. Lopez did not enlist the companies of a nutritionist for the Kambosos bout, a departure from his common preparation, so perhaps with some extra assist he might make the light-weight restrict yet one more time.


Which of the prospects on the Lomachenko-Commey undercard is a champion first?

It is a toss-up between Jared Anderson and Keyshawn Davis. Anderson is additional alongside in his growth, however successful a heavyweight title appears demonstrably harder in the mean time with Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk holding all 4 main belts.

For that purpose, I am going to go along with Davis. Contemporary off an Olympic silver medal effort in Tokyo, Davis will resume his professional profession and make his High Rank debut at light-weight. Bob Arum’s matchmakers normally transfer fighters slowly (with Lomachenko an enormous exception), however Davis could possibly be able to vie for a title by 2023.

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