Boxing fans, we were promised a great fight and we were awarded with a war between two of boxing biggest stars; Teofimo Lopez and Lomachenko. Lopez reached from the depths within and pulled an upset over the favorite Lomachenko with a unanimous decision. It was expected for Lopez to come out strong but I don’t think anyone was prepared for his performance Saturday night.
Teofimo Lopez has now unified all four lightweight titles at only 23 years of age. To add to the list, he is also the youngest fighter to become a four-belt champion. With a very solid performance, this could be exactly what Teo needed to boost his popularity and rise up the P4P rankings.
When the first round bell went ding, Lopez went to work by making his presence known early. Lopez essentially controlled the fight by standing in the middle of the ring and following Loma around with check lefts and well-placed body shots. With great use of the jab, Lopez was able to keep Loma at a distance that would keep him untouched but continue to tag Loma for points. At times, Lopez resembled a snake that was calculating his opponent’s moves and ready to strike at any time.
At first, it seemed that Lomachenko was following the same game plan of starting slow and figuring out when to attack. But when Loma didn’t start throwing punches until mid-fight, we all knew something was up. With that said, Loma still put up a fight. His efforts weren’t impressive but there were certain points during the fight where it seemed that things could change.
Arguably from rounds 7-10, Lomachenko ramped up the pressure and started to close the distance for some round wins. During these rounds, we saw the Loma that we expected in earlier rounds. He was able to showcase that lighting left hands and move around some of Teo’s punches. Teo started to look a little confused and the punches that were connecting started to show. Round 12 solidified the win for Teofimo. Teo did everything he needed to in the last round to show that he dominated the whole fight and dazed Loma with a great shot.
Punch Stats, courtesy of CompuBox
There is no question or objection that the better fighter won on Saturday night. What could be objected were the egregious scorecards that totaled in a unanimous decision. The scores were 116-112, 119-109, and 117-111. The scorecard that added salt to Lomachenko’s fries was 119-109 score. To be completely honest, that score is very ridiculous. The fight could have been easily scored 115-113 or 116-112. Now the question is, does Loma deserve a rematch?
Do the fans want a rematch? Most will say yes, but is a rematch needed? Teo showed that Loma was too small and his reach was too much to overcome. On Loma’s side, he hasn’t lost twice in a row or lost to the same opponent. In rounds 7-10, Loma showed that he can close the distance and make the fight exciting.
In the latest news, Lomachenko’s manager has expressed that he was battling a shoulder injury suffered in the second round of the Lopez fight. Loma has had surgery on his shoulder in 2018 and a reoccurring injury suffered on Saturday night made Loma uncomfortable. This past Monday, Lomachenko received surgery on his left shoulder and is expected to resume training by mid-January.
According to Klimas, Lomachenko received an injection and notified both the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association and the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Once Loma received the treatment, he was forced to sit out for a week. Papa Chenko (Loma’s Father) wanted Loma to miss the fight with Lopez once his shoulder pain started to flair up during sparring sessions. Loma refused and said that he would rather retire than miss the fight.
For news like this to come out after Saturday’s loss seems a little fishy, Klimas said: “We didn’t want to look like we were looking for excuses or something.”
“If it’s possible, we would like to have the rematch,” Klimas said. “If they are so tough … are they willing to come back and do that?”
All is not lost for Loma, he lost his belts but he did not lose his fans. His attitude and performance forward will play a huge factor in how his career unfolds after this. He is no longer the champ but he is expected to make a strong comeback. Get well Champ and show us why Saturday night was a fluke.
Now for Teo, his possibilities and opportunities have reached new heights and the new Lightweight Champion of the world is ready to conquer. He has made it known that he wants to fight the best and that he is not impressed with the bouts that some of the major headliners take.
Teofimo said during the press conference “And for everyone else out there, man, everybody is cherry-picking. Gervonta Davis, why are you fighting Leo Santa Cruz? For what? That’s a 130-pounder or a 126-pounder. That’s sad, man. And you guys hype these guys up for so many things, but it’s okay. It’s okay. Just put them in front of me, and I’ll beat them.”
I could not agree more with the new champ. To be the best, you have to fight and beat the best. If Teo was to follow his advice, there are some great fighters that he could face in his upcoming bouts. The list is long but this article will only focus on two. Those names are Devin Haney (24-0, 15KO’s) and Shakur Stevenson (14-0, 8KO’s).
Teofimo is more than ready to take on Devin Haney. Haney won the interim WBC championship and was promoted up to world champion without fighting anyone other than Zaur Abdullaev. Teo finds that funny and doesn’t even look at him as competition or a champion.
“If I took that fight, it’s just for bragging rights, just to shut him up and destroy his career,” Lopez said during a post-fight press conference Saturday night at MGM Grand.
Haney is due to fight Yuriokis Gamboa and is expected to win in that fight. Gamboa is coming off an Achilles injury and was knocked down three times in a Technical Knockout loss to Gervonta Davis. Teofimo could entertain Haney more after his performance against Gamboa but Lopez still won’t respect him.
Stevenson on the other hand is the fight that Lopez should be looking for. Stevenson is coming off a very impressive win against Felix Caraballo. Shakur delivered one of the best body punch knockouts in Top Rank history. During his fight against Caraballo, Shakur just showed that he is so much better than his competition and is looking for that true challenge.
Lopez would have a little more trouble with Shakur but it would be an epic showdown between two great future Hall of Famers. Very excited about Teofimo’s future and the future of the Lightweight Division.