As the month of August 2022 winds down, there remains one interesting bout on the Boxing schedule that could well play a factor in whatever happens in the remaining months of the year and into 2023. This observer is referring to the Jr. Welterweight battle between former world champions Richard Commey and Jose Pedraza. The bout, which will take place on August 27th at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, OK, and will be broadcast here in the United States on digital subscription sports streaming network ESPN+ brings together two seasoned veterans of the sport that are both at similar stages in their careers.
Former IBF Lightweight world champion Richard Commey will come into this fight off of a twelve round unanimous decision loss to former three-division world champion Vasyl Lomachenko last December in New York’s Madison Square Garden. Despite the loss to Lomachenko, Commey as always put forth a very “Game” and determined effort in defeat. Now coming off of that loss, the former Lightweight world champion sets his sights on a new weight class as several other notable Lightweights have done recently. The 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division.
While the thirty-five year old Commey has experienced the ups and downs of what usually occurs over a long career inside the Boxing ring, it is always interesting to see a fighter test the waters in a new division. One of the primary reasons why many fighters move up in weight beyond the potential greener pastures and more lucrative opportunities has to do with a fighter’s comfort level at a higher weight in that many fighters struggle between fights to get down to a certain weight class where they do not feel depleted. Whether or not Commey’s move up is a move necessitated by wanting to be more comfortable and not having to cut as much weight between fights, remains to be seen.
Commey’s first assignment as a Jr. Welterweight will come in the form of former WBO Lightweight world champion Jose Pedraza. In addition to Pedraza being a former world champion in his own right, the thirty-three year old also has more experience in the Jr. Welterweight division as compared to Commey, having competed at 140lbs. since September 2019. Much like his opponent, Commey will come into this fight off of a twelve round unanimous decision loss to former unified Jr. Welterweight world champion Jose Ramirez in March of this year.
In my view, this fight has the potential to be a close fight as both fighters are boxer/punchers, and both have deceptive punching power. The question as this scheduled ten round bout that I have in mind as it approaches is who will be able to dictate the tempo of the combat. Although it should not be overlooked that Richard Commey is the latest in the line of notable Lightweights including former Undisputed world champion Teofimo Lopez and undefeated top contender Ryan Garcia, Commey must not be looking to show up either, who are each coming off wins in their respective Jr. Welterweight debuts, by looking for a statement-making performance. It would likely serve Commey more by approaching this fight similar to how he has approached other fights throughout his career because nether Lopez or Garcia will be standing across the ring from him.
One advantage that Commey does have going into this bout at least statistically is he has a near 80% career knockout percentage in having scored knockouts in twenty-seven of his thirty career wins compared to Pedraza’s 42% percentage having scored knockouts in fourteen of his twenty-nine career wins. The similarities between the two fighters do not end in terms of similar styles, Both men have each suffered four losses in their respective careers, and both have only been stopped once in their respective careers.
In terms of the fight itself, I believe outside of the possibility of a knockout that can never be dismissed, it could end up in a close decision just simply based on the styles of the two fighters and it would not surprise me to see the ebb and flow of combat shift back and forth over the course of this fight. For the seasoned veterans, each are probably looking at this fight as a potential way to elevate their standing in the Jr. Welterweight division with the ultimate goal of challenging for a world championship again.
Even at this stage in their careers, both fighters still have a lot to offer and a loss for either man here will likely not spell the end of their careers. Much like the Lightweight division below it, the 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division has traditionally been one of the most competitive and talent-deep divisions in the history of the sport. As the latest influx of notable Lightweights eventually join Commey, Pedraza, Lopez, and Garcia in the Jr. Welterweight division, the talent pool is going to become even deeper where any one of the top contenders and former world champions competing in it could be eventually in the driver’s seat at 140lbs.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
Commey vs. Pedraza takes place on Saturday, August 27th at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, OK. The fight as well as its full undercard can be seen in the United States on digital subscription sports streaming network ESPN+ beginning at 6:25PM ET/ 3:25PM PT. The main event will be simulcast on the ESPN cable/satellite network beginning at 10:30 PM ET/7:30PT. ESPN+ is available through the ESPN app on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices/Smart TVs. For more information about ESPN+ including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices, platforms, Smart TVs, and to subscribe please visit: www.ESPNPlus.com.
*Check your local listings internationally.
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