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Teofimo Lopez might HURT Vasily Lomachenko says Leo Santa Cruz

Image: Teofimo Lopez might HURT Vasily Lomachenko says Leo Santa Cruz

By Jim Maltzman: ‘Hi-Tech’ Vasily Lomachenko may be running into a guy that he can’t beat in the younger, stronger, and bigger Teofimo Lopez later this year in September.

Leo Santa Cruz believes that the explosive power and size of IBF lightweight champion Teofimo (15-0, 12 KOs) could result in him hurting the smaller WBA/WBC/WBO champ Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs).

While Leo respects the boxing ability and talent of the 32-year-old Lomachenko, he notes this is the third division he’s fought in since turning pro in 2013. Lomachenko started out at 126 in fighting at featherweight, and he’s now competing at 135, and his power is inadequate in this weight class.

In two of the last three fights at 135, Lomachenko has been forced to go 12 rounds against Jose Pedraza and Luke Campbell. Although neither of those fighters is big punchers, they marked up Lomachenko’s face poorly from the shots they hit him with in their fights.

In Lomachenko’s 10th round TKO win over Jorge Linares in May 2018, he was knocked down by him. What we see here is that Lomachenko isn’t equipped with the punching power for the division, and he’s getting hit a lot more than he ever did as a professional.

Now that Lomachenko is facing a fighter with much superior power than anyone he’s ever met before during his career in 22-year-old Teofimo, this could result in him getting hurt by the young upstart.

Image: Teofimo Lopez might HURT Vasily Lomachenko says Leo Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz excited about Lomachenko vs. Teofimo clash

“The one I’m excited about and want to watch is Loma against Teofimo,” said Leo Santa Cruz to Fighthype. “Now, I just heard that they may do it in the Raiders’ new stadium in Las Vegas.  They might make the fight right there, and let 10,000 spread out.

“They might make it [Lomachenko vs. Teofimo] right there, and it would be a great fight. It gives me an idea, so maybe we can get in the ring sooner and hopefully happen.”

A lot of boxing fans are excited about the Lomachenko-Teofimo fight. They’ve seen what Teofimo can do to his opponents with his one-punch power, and they’ve also watched how great Lomachenko is. However, Lomachenko’s technical brilliance will be severely tested by Teofimo, who’s raw power has a way of equalizing things.

Teofimo is like the Julian Jackson of the lightweight division, and if he lands anything flush on the chin Lomachenko, that could be it for him.

Teofimo is the natural 135-pounder than Lomachenko

“That’s an exciting fight and hard to predict. Loma is a great fighter, has great skills, and moves really well. As I said, he’s a great fighter, and Teofimo is a great fighter. I think Teofimo is stronger and much bigger.

“Loma is moving up from 126 to 130 and now 135, so I think Teofimo is more natural at that weight [lightweight]. So if he catches him [Lomachenko], he might hurt him or drop him, but it’ll be a great fight.”

There’s a big difference in size and power between Teofimo and Lomachenko. When you look at Teofimo, he looks like a welterweight when he’s working out. He says he weighed in the 150s.

In contrast, Lomachenko looks like a blown-up featherweight, and he’s not shown the power that we’ve seen from the stronger punchers at 135.

You’ve got to respect Lomachenko for his willingness to go up to 135 to fight rather than staying at 130 for the remainder of his career. But that’s not an entirely self-less move on Lomachenko’s part, however.

Lomachenko moved up to 135 because the opportunities for big paydays are better in that division than if he were to stay at 130 and be stuck fighting the non-stars in that weight division.

Image: Teofimo Lopez might HURT Vasily Lomachenko says Leo Santa Cruz

Lopez is an explosive puncher

“He’s [Teofimo] has great power, and he’s explosive, and he comes out of nowhere, and he catches you, and that’s really good,” said Santa Cruz.

What we saw in Teofimo’s last fight against former IBF 135-pound champion Richard Commey is a fighter that can change a fight with one punch in their match on December 14. Commey (29-3, 26 KOs) in the first round, which saw minimal action between the two fighters.

Things changed suddenly in round two when Lopez caught Commey with a grenade-like right hand that toppled him over on the canvas.

When Commey got back up from the knockdown, it was evident that he wasn’t going to survive for long. He was too hurt, and the round was only half over. Teofimo went after Commey and finished the job with a flurry.

Lopez’s ability to change the direction of a fight with a single shot is going to put Lomachenko in the situation where he’s going to need to be careful how he moves around the ring.

Lomachenko’s habit of standing in front of his opponents in looking to beat them with his high punch volume could be a mistake if he tries that against Teofimo. The two-time Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko won’t be able to get out of the way of everything that Teofimo throws at him, and he could hurt in the same way that Commey did.

Arum wants Lomachenko vs. Lopez in September

“The earliest I can possibly do it is in September, and that’s what I’m looking to do,” said Top Rank promoter Bob Arum to Sporting Icons on when he plans on staging the Lomachenko vs. Teofimo fight.

“Hopefully, the governor of Nevada will allow us to do boxing events for small spread out audiences in September. That’s not possible now.

“Again, things are loosening up, and hopefully, we don’t have a relapse from this, and things start improving, and we’ll be able to do events at first for limited spectators, and then maybe for without limits.

“Certainly, if we’re lucky enough to get a vaccine by early next year, we’ll go back to business as usual,” said Arum.

Lomachenko and Lopez won’t be taking interim fights to get prepared for their unification match. Both guys want to take the fight immediately, and that’s for boxing. The sport needs a big battle like Lomachenko vs. Teofimo right now.

If Arum is lucky, the Nevada Commission will be allowing large crowds by September for boxing events. It’ll depend on how the pandemic situation is going in the United States.

With it being summertime, the virus may clear up, and the numbers of cases will drop off. Arum is hoping a vaccine will be developed, but that might be too early.

“Loma is the size of my bicep,” said Teofimo on Social media.

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