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Dr. Linda Dahl Reveals Teofimo Lopez “Could Have Died” After Fighting With Air In Chest Against George Kambosos Jr.

Posted on 12/04/2021

By: Hans Themistode

As Teofimo Lopez made his way to the ceremonial weigh-ins, one day prior to his showdown against George Kambosos Jr. at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater, he appeared fine. The New York native showed off his ripped physique on the scales and flexed as he officially weighed in at 135 pounds on the nose.

Yet, as first reported by Mark Kriegel of ESPN, things behind the scenes were chaotic.

As customary following all weigh-ins, Lopez began rehydrating. The 24-year-old took large gulps of a bottled substance but the reprieve he was hoping for, after draining his enormous frame down to the lightweight limit, never came.

Instead, the opposite effect took place.

“It didn’t get bad until I started rehydrating,” said Lopez to ESPN. “I thought it was just my asthma. I been having asthma since I was 6 years old.”

Though his condition only worsened, Lopez refused to seek medical attention before the night of the fight. With his showdown against Kambosos Jr. suffering numerous postponements and setbacks due to various reasons, Lopez was uninterested in waiting even longer for his return to the ring.

“I took a seat in the back of the restaurant, by the kitchen,” continued Lopez. “Everybody’s trying to burp me and relax me. They see my neck is swollen. My voice changed. At this point, everybody’s a little concerned. I think my dad told me I should go to the hospital and I said ‘No’ because they’re going to end up probably canceling the fight.”

Immediate attention under the care of medical personnel was something that Lopez desperately needed. However, with a chance to return to the ring in less than 24 hours and a career-high payday of just over $3.1 million, not to mention, the opportunity to close the door on his long-standing feud with Kambosos Jr., Lopez opted for rest. Nevertheless, once the highly touted young star woke from his slumber, his condition failed to improve.

“My neck is sore. My chest is sore. My throat is hurting. And I’m like, ‘I guess I’m just going to have to fight like this.”

From the sound of the opening bell, nothing appeared right for Lopez. His deleterious knockout power appeared less damaging. His smooth and slick defense seemed a step behind. Even his granite chin failed to hold up as he was knocked down for the first time in his career in the first round.

While Lopez audaciously fought back, scoring a knockdown of his own in the tenth round, he ultimately came up short via split decision.

Shortly following the first defeat of his career, Lopez was immediately transported to a nearby hospital. Once the now-former unified lightweight champion was under the watchful eye of Dr. Linda Dahl, she was bemused with his test results.

“He could have died, for sure,” said Dr. Linda Dahl. “How he breathed, I can’t even explain to you. It’s like somebody tied a 300-pound set of weights around his chest, like his neck and chest were in a vise. That’s how he fought.”

Dahl continued to monitor the condition of Lopez while carefully examining the 24-year old’s chart. After doing so, she continued with her diagnostic.

“The air was surrounding his chest wall and his heart and his neck — places where air is not supposed to be,” continued Dahl. “If he was hit in the neck or the chest, a certain way, in a certain place – he could have developed a pneumothorax (collapsed lung). He would have instantly been down and unable to breathe and needing a chest tube.”

Upon hearing the news of how dire his physical condition was, Lopez admits that while he was fully aware that he wasn’t 100%, he was completely clueless as to how serious circumstances ultimately were.

“I thought it was just my asthma,” said Lopez. “I fought through asthma before. If I told everybody, they would’ve canceled the fight. But I chose not to, because of the amount of pressure I was under. I didn’t want to hear people say, ‘Oh, another postponement.’”

In an effort to ensure his full recovery, Dahl has advised Lopez to remain sequestered and avoid certain forms of travel.

“I don’t know how he went 12 rounds without being able to breathe. But he has air where it’s not supposed to be, and it’s dangerous for him to get on an airplane.”

Throughout it all, Lopez has taken the truncation of his title reign in stride. But, as the still promising star replays the unfortunate events that have surrounded him since picking up the most significant win of his career against Lomachenko, including a bout with COVID-19 and the split between himself and his wife while she was several months pregnant with their first child, Lopez can’t help but become acrimonious over his frenetic 12 months.

“That was not me in there Saturday night. I’ve been trying to stay positive. “But I’ve been losing this whole year.”

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