Prior to the fight, Teófimo López talked a big game. Vasiliy Lomachenko simply said ‘we’ll see in the ring’. On Sunday, López was simply too good, too young and too big for Lomachenko.
Boxing has often been described as the chamber of truth.
The truth is that Teófimo López was simply too good, too young and too big for Vasiliy Lomachenko.
López, prior to the fight, talked a big game.
Lomachenko simply said “we’ll see in the ring”.
What we saw in the ring was a terrific performance from López, who took the fight by Unanimous Decision (116-112, 117-111, and 119-109).
This writer scored the bout 116-112 in favour of López.
While many critics raved about Lopez’s punching power and his speed, what went under the radar is his boxing brain.
Which was on ample display throughout the fight, particularly in the first half of the bout where he chose to remain patient, work behind the jab and went to Lomachenko’s body rather than rush in and try to blast the smaller man out.
Lomachenko, coming from the biggest layoff of his long career, simply couldn’t get going in the first half of the fight.
While Lomachenko’s style is often to give away the first few rounds and step on the pedal later, he looked rusty and uncharacteristically hesitant.
Perhaps Lomachenko was wary of López’s size and power early, and, as he’d stated in his pre-fight strategy, looked to take the young man to the deep waters and drown him.
But López proved to be an excellent swimmer and Lomachenko, by giving away the first six or seven rounds, left himself an impossible hole to dig out of.
It was only in the eight round that Lomachenko began going on the attack. Lomachenko did his best work through in rounds eight to eleven, throwing some eye-catching combinations and displaying the footwork that have made him a pound-for-pound great.
All credit to López though. Though Lomachenko clearly had the upper hand in this part of the bout, never once did Lopez seem flustered or frustrated.
López stayed with Lomachenko, landing some big, hard punches that kept the Ukrainian from truly letting his hands fly.
Though López seemed a tad winded by round 11, he closed the show in style, taking the 12th and final round to put an exclamation mark on a sensational performance.
What’s next for both fighters?
While one would like to see a rematch between the two top fighters in the division, Bob Arum, the promoter of López, has already confirmed that the contract held no such clause.
Which is a shame. The bout was clearly entertaining enough and close enough, especially in the second half, to run it back.
Lomachenko might well consider dropping back down a division to his ideal weight. Or he may do what aging champions do: push on and fighter the other young, hungry contenders in a bid to secure a rematch.
And for López? Clashes with Gervonta Davis and Devin Haney beckon at 135 pounds. But with López already complaining about the effort it takes to make lightweight, a move to the junior welterweight division seems imminent.
López is only 23. One could envision López taking the next couple of years to clean out the junior welterweight division, then stepping up to welterweight – the sport’s true glamour division – for some truly blockbuster bouts against Terrence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr and Keith Thurman.
The ‘Takeover’ has just begun.
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