Teofimo Lopez doesn’t like the arrogant attitude that he sees from Vasily Lomachenko. He doesn’t want to EVER hear his name again in his presence after he whips him next month on October 17th.
IBF lightweight champion Lopez and Lomachenko, 32, are set to fight on regular ESPN and ESPN Deportes on October 17th at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada Although the fight has been advertised as being for the undisputed 135-lb championship, it falls short of that.
Franchise Title On The Line
Lomachenko’s WBC Franchise title is one that generally can’t be won or lost. It’s just given out after being requested by the fighter or his promoters. The real WBC lightweight champion is Devin Haney. Lomachenko’s Franchise title is more of an honorary deal. It’s like getting an honorary degree from a college. That’s not a real degree.’
To become undisputed, they’ll need to take on the unbeaten WBC lightweight champion Haney (24-0, 15 KOs), who would like nothing better than to face the Lomachenko-Teofimo winner. Still, he likely won’t get that chance due to the politics of boxing.
Interestingly enough, the WBC has decided to unfreeze Lomachenko’s Franchise title for this fight only, which means that if Lopez beats the Ukrainian fighter, he can capture the title.
The WBC hasn’t said why they’re making a notable exception for their Franchise title for this fight, but I guess it works better for them if the belt goes to the winner. You don’t want to have the loser of the battle still holding onto the Franchise title, considering that won’t reflect well on the WBC.
Lomachenko’s Arrogance Bothers Lopez
“Personally, I don’t like the guy and I don’t like the way he carries himself,” Lopez said to Yahoo Sports News. “He’s arrogant. I don’t want to promote him by even saying his name. Every interview I do, or have done for a long time, that’s the guy everyone asks me about.
“His name doesn’t carry my career, and after this fight, I don’t want to hear about him or talk about him again.
Unfortunately, Teofimo will have to hear Lomachenko’s name if he beats him on October 17th, as Top Rank will make sure that they set up an immediate rematch between them.
The difference is, the rematch will undoubtedly be shown on ESPN pay-per-view. So in a way, it works better for Lomachenko if he loses the first fight with Teofimo because he’ll make a lot of money on PPV in facing him a second time.
It’ll be interesting to see if Lopez walks away from the rematch with Lomachenko if he beats him in October. Lopez said last week that he plans on moving up to 140 and unifying the division after he beats Lomachenko.
Teofimo doesn’t see any point in sticking around the 140-lb division, as it’s become increasingly hard to make weight. In the end, Lopez will be lured into fighting Lomachenko a second time by the money offer.
If Lopez moves up to 140, he wants to fight the winner of the Jose Ramirez vs. Josh Taylor unification. Lopez will need to move right away to 140 to catch the winner or the loser of that fight before they go up to 147. Both fighters plan on stepping up to 147 after they fight to chase bigger paydays at welterweight.
Is It Too Soon For Teofimo Lopez?
“In one of the biggest fights in 2020, on October 17th, Teofimo Lopez and Vasily Lomachenko are officially set,” said Todd Grisham to DAZN.
“The pound-for-pound #1 fighter in the world, I’ve got to pick ‘Hi-Tech’ Lomachenko here,” said Sergio Mora. “This reminds me of a young bull vs. old bull situation, which we see a lot in boxing, and it reminds me of Trinidad and David Reid or when he fought Fernando Vargas.
Both of them, Trinidad won. One, he went the distance and beat down David Reid, and in the other one, he stopped and beat down and knocked out Fernando Vargas. It was too much too soon for a young champion. I think that’s precisely what will happen with Teofimo Lopez.
He’s a young, strong, hungry bull and a world champion, but he’s dealing with a three-division world champion, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and a world champion since his third pro fight. There are stages to this.
“I think there will be too much for this young bull to bite off, and we know that Lomachenko is more than just an old bull mentality. He fights and has the brilliant moves of a matador. So you’re dealing with an old bull with matador moves. Lomachenko is too much at this point, in my opinion.”
Teofimo has no choice but to fight Lomachenko now, as he’s already outgrown the division at 23. To stay at lightweight any longer would be risky for Teofimo, seeing that he’s forced to strip off so much weight each time. A fighter can do that just many times before it eventually catches up to them, and they end up drained.
Don’t Underestimate Lopez Against Lomachenko
“Two fights ago, Teofimo fought Masayoshi Nakatani. He didn’t look great, he won by a unanimous decision, and he was supposed to fight Richard Commey next,” said Grisham.
“Tim Bradley, ESPN’s own commentator, said, ‘There’s no way in hell that he’s ready for Commey yet,’ but guess what? They [Top Rank] threw him in there, and he completely blitzed him and looked like one of the greater fighters in the history of the world. Underestimate this guy [Teofimo] are your peril.”
“I’m one of the guys that will underestimate him at my peril,” said Mora about Lopez. “Can he compete? We know he’s strong, we know he’s a champ. He’s a young phenomenal Vargas type. But what happened to Vargas? He got moved too quick.
“He could have done a lot more in his career. Vargas was also very precocious and very gifted. He was one of these young talented fighters that won a title at 19 or 20 or whatever it was. Teofimo Lopez, what’s the rush? Is it the money? We’re in a pandemic.
Lopez can still fight the top lightweights in the division if they want to meet him at 140 or a catchweight of 138.
The power that Teofimo exhibited against Richard Commey and Diego Magdaleno is more than enough to knock out Lomachenko. Teofimo has that nuclear power explosiveness in both hands, and he’s going to be a problem for Loma on October 17th.
If Teofimo connects with anything substantial on Lomachenko, we could see the Ukrainian fighter on the canvas. For this writer, I expect to see Lomachenko hit the deck two or three times in the fight. The only question is, does Teofimo have the ability to finish him once he starts dropping him left and right?
Lopez can still lose the fight even if he drops Lomachenko three times in the contest, as he’s not going to be able to win a lot of rounds against him.
Should Teofimo Wait?
“Why not wait for this fight where there’s going to be people in the stands where they promote it. It’s going to be a lot bigger of a fight. I think they’re rushing him too fast—credit to Lopez and credit to Top Rank for making this fight happen. I applaud them. That’s for real.”
“And credit to ESPN for making this on cable,” Grisham said about the Lomachenko vs. Teofimo fight. “You talk about big fights. It doesn’t get much bigger than cable. If you have it on pay-per-view, only the hardcore are watching.
“The general public is going to watch this fight, and they’re going to love it. I was calling a fight three years ago in Carson, California, at the outdoor stadium. This young kid comes up to me and introduces himself, and says, ‘Hi, my name is Teofimo Lopez. Do you know who I am?’
“I said, ‘Sorry, I don’t.’ He said, ‘Get to know my name, I’ll be a world champion soon.’ I’ve called a 1000 fights, and no one has ever done that to me. I’m taking Teofimo Lopez, and his confidence and one of the upsets of the year.”
Waiting to fight Lomachenko would have been a mistake for Lopez, for the reasons already given. Teofimo is still filling out, and he could wind up at 147 by the time he’s finished growing. Also, Lomachenko will likely be going back don to 130 soon, as he has a lot of exciting match-ups for him at super-featherweight.
If Teofimo didn’t take the fight with Lomachenko now, he’d be in the same boat as Mikey Garcia in missing his chance.
By Chris Williams / Boxing News 24