By Victor Salazar
New York - The last time Vasyl Lomachenko (11-1, KO’s) was in the ring was inside of New York’s Madison Square Garden. He stopped Jorge Linares inside of 10 rounds in front of more than 10,000 fans to a TV audience peaking at 1.749 million viewers.
Afterwards, Lomachenko had to get surgery on a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Lomachenko returns this weekend in a WBA/WBO lightweight unification against Puerto Rico's Jose Pedraza (25-1, 12 KO’s) in the same New York venue but inside MSG's smaller Hulu Theatre on ESPN. He feels everything will be fine with his shoulder come Saturday night in a city he loves to fight in.
“I love fighting in New York," Lomachenko told BoxingScene.com. “People know me here now because I’ve fought here a few times. I had a very interesting camp and I had a lot of sparring session. I think it my shoulder will be the same. It didn’t feel different in my progression or in my sparring sessions.”
Lomachenko has gained a nickname of NoMasChenko due to the fact that 4 of his last 5 opponents have quit when facing him. While he finds it funny, he says the nickname isn’t depended on him.
“I like the nickname but it doesn’t depend on me,” stated Lomachenko. “NoMasChenko is my name but it depends on my opponent and if they are willing to fight.”
The last opponent that was willing to fight was Linares (45-4-, 28 KO’s). While he feels Linares does some things better than Pedraza, he feels people are selling Pedraza short.
“I think Linares is better and more aggressive than Pedraza but he’s not simple like all people say,” said Lomachenko. “He understands what to do in the ring. He has good defense and good timing. I need to check and feel what he can do in the ring. After that I can answer but it’s not going to be easy like they all say.”
Lomachenko will be linked with another pound for pound fighter in Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KO’s) until they actually fight. Garcia is scheduled to fight Errol Spence (24-0, 21 KO’s) next March at welterweight which ideally is two weight classes higher than people think Garcia should be.
Lomachenko is one of those people.
“It’s his choice,” Lomachenko said of Garcia decision to move up and fight Spence. “He’s very strong and skilled and sure.... it’s a big step. If you understand the boxing, I don’t like it. I don’t think he can win but I will care and root for him”