Which vet will stay in the lifeboat? (Saturday August 24)


José Pedraza vs. Richard Commey odds

Pedraza Odds
Commey ratings
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8.5 (-380 / +275)
Search Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
10:30 p.m. ET (main card)
Odds from Friday and via DraftKings.

Generally speaking in combat sports, there are two things you can do with aging former champions like Jose Pedraza (29-4-0, 14 KOs) and Richard Commey (30-4-0 , 27 KOs), i.e. fighters who have taken a few hard knocks but still want to compete and get paid.

The first option is to take this fighter and feed him a young and promising one, in hopes that what’s left of his name will be valuable for the shine he can give to someone else.

The second option is to pit him against another aging former champion who is almost exactly in the same boat. It creates interest by sending the message that there’s room in the lifeboat for a drowning sailor – but it’s up to the two guys swinging in the water to decide who it will be.

Saturday’s fight between Pedraza and Commey is that second type of fight. Both of these guys were champions at lighter weights – Pedraza had belts at 130 and 135 pounds; Commey was the IBF champion at 135lbs – but has since suffered major defeats and is attempting a reset at 140lbs.

When they meet at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tulsa in Oklahoma on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET main card, ESPN), it will be to determine who has the most future ahead of them in this interesting division.

Pedraza’s path to victory over Power Puncher Commey

If it was all about technical boxing, it would be Pedraza’s fight every time, as the -275 line on him (73.3% win probability) suggests. He has the best skills, better defense, and he fights and moves well on the outside.

The two variables that need to be considered, however, are Commey’s superior punching power and the more fleeting question of what each man left behind after putting a few hard miles on the odometer recently.

Here too, the edge should go to Pedraza. He is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Jose Ramirez in March, but before that he has won three straight while bouncing back from a 2019 loss to Jose Zepeda. His only other losses, first to Gervonta Davis and then to Vasiliy Lomachenko, both aged very well.

Commey also has a loss against Lomachencko, and on paper it looks more or less the same: loss by unanimous decision. But it was a complete, one-sided beatdown in which Lomachenko dropped Commey twice in the seventh round while pleading with Commey’s corner to stop the fight and save their fighter.

This will be Commey’s first fight since that bombardment, and he has just one win separating that loss from his previous second-round knockout loss to Teofimo Lopez.

Still, while he appears to have taken more damage and may already look more worn, Commey is the hardest hitter here.

If he can get close and do some work there, his power could negate Pedraza’s superior overall skills.

But, just like all of us, Pedraza knows he’s Commey’s best hope. That’s why he’ll probably look to stay outside and chip away, thinking it’s safer to do tricks one at a time than trying to finish and expose himself in the process.

Pedraza vs. Commey Pick

It’s probably a closer game than the line suggests, but Pedraza should win this fight if he comes in with a solid game plan and sticks to it throughout.

The underdog +210 bet on Commey might deserve a closer look if we didn’t see him just buried under a mountain of punishment against Lomachenkolooking around the world as a fighter who is on the downhill slope of his career at 35.

True, he is not as fast as Lomachenko, but if Pedraza can handle the lineup and stay consistent he should win this fight even though he needs the scorecards to do so.

That’s why, if you’re looking for better value at a slightly higher risk, I like the -180 line on Pedraza via a decision or a technical decision proposed by DraftKings. Chances are this one will go the distance. Pedraza knows he’s not the banger that Commey is, so I expect him to focus on dispatching Commey and trusting the judges to reward his efforts.

The bet: Jose Pedraza by decision or technical decision (-180)

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