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Vasiliy Lomachenko starts camp for Teofimo Lopez fight

Teofimo Lopez Vasyl Lomachenko

By Matt Lieberman: Vasiliy Lomachenko has officially started his training camp for his tentatively scheduled unification fight against Teofimo Lopez on September 19 on ESPN.

The date for the fight still isn’t official yet, as it could be moved depending on the situation with the pandemic. Teofimo and Lomachenko had already had their match moved once before, as they were supposed to fight in May.

Mark Kriegel is reporting the news that WBA/WBC/WBO lightweight champion Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) has started camp, and Teofimo is about to start his camp at Big Bear, California.

Lomachenk0 vs. Lopez is the fight that a lot of boxing fans are looking forward to with great anticipation. What could get in the way of this fight taking place is if Top Rank is unable to stage it in front of a partial crowd.

Lomachenko-Lopez is too big of a match for it to take place without fans inside The Bubble at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Even if Top Rank places the Loma and Teofimo fight in a stadium or arena with 50% capacity, it’s not going to due it justice.

Top Rank might choose to wait it out until next year after a vaccine is developed to get rid of the virus. If they delay the Lomachenko vs. Lopez fight until 2021, then they can stage it in front of a large crowd, and make a lot of money.

Teofimo Lopez Vasyl Lomachenko

Lomachenko vs. Teofimo slated for September 19

“Vasiliy Lomachenko has officially begun training camp as of yesterday, according to his manager Egis Klimas,” Krigel said to ESPN.

“As for the September 19th date… I’m cautioned to take that with some grain of salt. What you have is two committed parties, they should fight by the end of the year. September 19th, that’s hopeful.”

It’s going to be interesting to see what kind of game plan that Vasily will come up with to try and limit the amount of punishment he takes from Teofimo. Lomachenko has been getting hit a lot since he moved up to 135 in 2018, and he’s marking up.

Teofimo has the kind of power in which he can really hurt Lomachenko. The kind of power that Teofimo has, it evens things out. He doesn’t need to be as skilled as Lomachenko. If Teofimo lands enough of his big punches, he’ll reduce Lomachenko to just an ordinary guy.

Teofimo is a dangerous opponent for Lomachenko, and he may have made a mistake in taking this fight. It’s believed that Lomachenko will be moving back down to 130 after the Teofimo fight. If Lopez scores a knockout in this fight, Lomachenko will be kicking himself for failing to make the move back down in weight earlier.

Vasily Lomachenko has been totally dominating his opponents since losing to Orlando Salido in 2014. The 32-year-old Lomachenko has won his last 13 fights, and he’s looked impressive. However, Lomachenko is starting to get hit a lot more than he ever did before in three out of his last four fights at lightweight. That’s not a good sign.

Lomachenko blames the situation on him fighting outside of his natural weight class, which is at super featherweight. He’s a much better fighter in the 130-lb division compared to 135.

Will we get Lomachenko-Lopez in 2020?

“For sports like boxing, a one-on-one sport, people are taking it very seriously,” said Max Kellerman. “A bubble is created, multiple tests are given, no fans are in attendance. That, I think, there’s always a chance for a postponement or cancellation based on the virus, but we’ve seen fights pulled off.

“It seems to me that even if it’s something is postponed, barring a tragedy, that we’re going to get to see that fight [between Lomachenko and Teofimo] this year,” said Kellerman.

“Well, starry-eyed optimism has always been the province of boxing,” said Kriegel. “I think that we will see it this year. Even Top Rank says, ‘you can expect to see it [Lomachenko vs. Teofimo] this year.’

“The question is when? It’s the same kind of problem that you have with the heavyweights. Although with the heavyweights, you have more financial incentives to get everyone in line,” said Kriegel.

All the boxing fans can do is sit and hope that Top Rank can get the Lomachenko vs. Lopez fight done for September. It would be a bad idea for them to stage it in November or December due to the risk of a second phase of the pandemic.

If Top Rank waits until 2021 to stage the Lomachenko-Lopez fight, they may end up losing it. Lomachenko, once he moves down to 130, he probably won’t want to come back up to 135. Teofimo is on his way to 140 after he faces Loma. If Lomachenko starts talking about a catchweight of 133 pounds, he’s probably not going to get the Teofimo fight.

The one fight that Lomachenko got hit a lot was against Orlando Salido, and he spent a lot of holding.  If Lopez can land as often as Salido did, Lomachenko may be forced to hold all night.

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