Lightweight world titleholder Vasiliy Lomachenko will attempt to unify world titles for the first time Saturday when he squares off against WBO titlist Jose Pedraza at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York.
Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KO's), who has won world titles in three different weight classes, is returning to the ring for the first time since rising from the floor to knockout Jorge Linares in May to become a three-division world champion.
It is also the Ukrainian's first bout since undergoing surgery for a torn labrum in his right shoulder from the Linares fight.
But Lomachenko also rejected an opportunity to come off a short hiatus with a big money fight against Manny Pacquiao. The 30-year-old was frank; he does not feel that beating Pacquiao, the current WBA "Regular" 147-pound world champion, who turns 40 years of age on Dec. 17, would do anything for his legacy.
"I'm not disrespecting Pacquiao, but I don't want to make my name bigger because I beat an old legend. I have my own road. There are a lot of good fighters to fight who are comparable to me. He's old. I think his career is done. I don't want to become a legend in boxing because of him," Lomachenko said.
Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medalist with an unbelievable amateur record of 396-1, claimed his first world title, at 126-pounds, in just his third professional fight, and won his second at 130-pounds in his seventh pro bout.