Reigning WBA lightweight champion, Vasiliy Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) and WBO champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs) collide in a title unification main event airing live on ESPN Saturday immediately following the live presentation of the 2018 Heisman Trophy Ceremony. The bout takes place at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Lomachenko and Pedraza had a few comments about Saturday’s showdown.
“The time is almost here. The desire to win is very high. I have visualized all the possible scenarios. I’ve seen myself winning, I’ve seen myself knocking him out, I’ve seen myself pulling out the victory coming from behind. The closer the fight approaches, the more I see myself with my hands held high and with the two titles on my shoulders. I already fulfilled my goal of becoming a world champion, and now I’m going after the goal of unifying titles.”
“The titles will return to Puerto Rico with me. I know that it will not be an easy fight. I will be facing one of the best fighters in the world. He has tremendous skills, but I know that I also have great skills and the necessary focus to come out with the victory. Puerto Rico deserves a moment of happiness. I’m going to do it for them, and my family.
[On training camp] “I had a really good camp. I am looking forward to getting back in the ring on Saturday. Madison Square Garden is my favorite place to fight. It is like another home for me. It is a very special place.”
[On recovery from a torn labrum] “I am 100 percent. I feel good. When the injury happened, I was mentally prepared to deal with it. I still had my feet. I still had another hand. I am very competitive. I feel like when you step in the ring, you need to finish the fight.”
[On Pedraza as a fighter and what he’ll bring to the table] “Nobody knows yet. I’ve had a long rest. Now, I load a new program into my head. We’ll see what happens.”
[On recovering and resting following the surgery] “It was good for me to rest. I have been boxing since I was a child. I had a lot of competition. It was my first rest and first big vacation in my life.”