By: Hans Themistode
From the moment Teofimo Lopez came onto the scene, he warned every and anyone that would listen. Or, at least his father did. The braggadocios elder Lopez screamed from the mountain tops that his son was ready to take over the world.
On several occasions, he predicted exactly what would happen. “My son will be a champion in his 15th fight,” said Lopez. Sr. “And he’s going to be undisputed in 16.” Many laughed of course, but now, the only one laughing is Lopez Sr.
Lopez and Vasiliy Lomachenko marched their way through an empty arena and met dead center in the middle of the ring for their undisputed lightweight title fight. The only difference was once they got there, Lopez began throwing punches immediately while Lomachenko played defense.
At first, Lomachenko seemed to be downloading his opponent’s information to use later in the fight. But as the seconds ticked by and then the minutes and then the rounds, it was clear that Lomachenko was far more tentative than ever before.
The 23 year old Brooklyn native not only had a clear power advantage but he also seemingly had the edge in every other category. He pushed his man back, used angles and won the exchanges on both the outside and inside. In short, Lopez outboxed the one fighter many believed was impossible to do so.
With the first half of their contest turning into a one sided showing in favor of the 23 year old, Lomachenko finally showed up. The Ukrainian native found the angles that he became known for and used them to land shots at will on his younger man.
With everything going his way, Lopez looked befuddled as to where he could turn that would provide him with a safety zone from Lomachenko’s onslaught. In the ninth round, all of the momentum was behind the unified champion. The once energized legs of the younger man began fading underneath him as he languished on the ropes. A right hand by Lomachenko punctuated the round as Lopez stumbled at the end of the bell.
With no reprieve in sight, and both his defense and energy failing him, Lopez turned to the one thing that was working for him on the night. His offense. The pugnacious knockout artist made Lomachenko pay each and every time he came inside. That in turn, made the 32 year old cautious yet again.
The final round turned into an all out fight. Lopez pointed his gloves to the canvas and screamed at his man to end their contest the right way. Lomachenko had no issue with his request and the two traded heavy shots.
When the final bell rang, the body language of both fighters told the story. Lopez ran around the ring happy as can be while Lomachenko stood quietly in his corner until the scorecards were read. The Ukrainian was right to look dejected as the scorecards came back wide in Lopez’s favor. The final tally was as followed: 116-112, 119-109 and 117-111 all in favor of Lopez.
With no rematch clause attached to their original contract, Lopez expressed a desire to look for new challenges.
“Maybe I’ll face the two time email champ Devin Haney next,” said Lopez following his victory. Regardless of what he chooses to do, his options are endless at this point.