Pedraza (27-3, 13 KOs), a former junior lightweight and lightweight world champion, returns to the MGM Grand “Bubble” a little more than two months after he dominated former world title challenger Mikkel LesPierre over 10 rounds. Pedraza had an inauspicious junior welterweight debut when he lost a decision to Jose Zepeda last September, but the LesPierre performance established his place among the division’s top contenders. Molina (22-2, 9 KOs) is 4-0 since signing with Top Rank in early 2019, reviving a career that stalled following a pair of decision defeats. Last November, he knocked out the normally durable Hiroki Okada in 65 seconds. He followed up the Okada KO with an upset victory over Amir Imam in February on the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury II undercard.
Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) became world champion during the series when he defeated the then-unbeaten Ivan Baranchyk via unanimous decision in Glasgow, Scotland. Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs), from Bangkok, worked his way into a mandatory position by winning the IBF Pan Pacific and IBF Asia titles. He has knocked out his last six foes, including former world title challenger Akihiro Kondo last February.
In seven years as a pro, Lomachenko is 13-1 with 9 knockouts in world title fights and is ranked by many pundits as this generation’s most accomplished pugilist. From 2016-2017, he made four consecutive fighters quit on their stools, earning him the “No-Mas-chenko” moniker. Last December, Lopez knocked out Richard Commey in two rounds to win the IBF world title. Sitting ringside was Lomachenko, who entered the ring during the post-fight pandemonium. Arum waved him over to take a photo with the newly crowned champion. The stage had been set. #LomaLopez was going to happen.