By Dan Ambrose: Zab Judah views IBF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez as a “hungry” fighter, and he believes he could be a real problem for WBA/WBC/WBO champion Vasily Lomachenko in their unification fight on October 17th.
Judah sees the youth and the hunger of the unbeaten Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) as a severe threat to the 32-year-old Lomachenko. Zab notes that Loma likes to play around in his fights, throwing lots of punches to showboat, but he thinks that’s not a good idea for this match-up.
Lomachenko shouldn’t play with fire by trying to taunt Teofimo to get him to mentally crumble the same several of his smaller opponents have done in the past.
With Lomachenko now fighting at 135 and being the smaller, weaker guy, he can’t overwhelm his opponents as he’d done in the past.
Also, Lomachenko has visibly aged in the last two years, and he’s not the same guy physically that was making fighters like Miguel Marriaga, Jason Sosa, and Gullermo Rigondeaux quit.
Lomachenko will probably try and mentally break Teofimo like he’s done to the others, but it could motivate him to want to fight harder to win. With Teofimo’s power, the last thing Lomachenko needs is a determined fighter just looking to land one big shot to score a knockout.
Teofimo is hungry
“It’s going to be a good fight. He’s a young kid, and he’s hungry,” said Zab Judah to Fighthype about Teofimo Lopez. “On top of that, he’s got Brooklyn on his back, so I’m going to ride with him. Lomachenko is a good fighter.
“He’s a great fighter. He’s one of my favorites. I don’t know, man. I just see something different. Lomachenko had a little time off, and he’s relaxing. These young guys are hungry, especially guys that never got a taste of that success and that real life and that real money.
“When it’s their time, they go balls to the wall and s***. Some of the other guys that have been there for a while, and get saturated and situated and sit back and call it counting.
“What it looked like in the bank. The bank looked good. Alright, take the day off. Yeah, man. It is what it is. These young guys are hungry, and they’re not playing with anybody. Guys like Devin Haney, they want everything you got. They want to experience it and be the best. Everything that consists of being the best, they want it.
“No,” Judah said when asked if Teofimo is jumping in too soon for a fight against Lomachenko. “Listen, man. I can never say that a fighter should take anything too fast.
“I was young, and I fought Mickey Ward. He was the top guy in my division. He was the bad Irish guy that was stopping guys. I said, ‘Give me him. That’s who I want. I want Mickey Ward,’ and that’s who we took,” said Judah.
Teofimo hasn’t tasted the money or the fame as of yet in his career, and he’s going to be looking to dethrone Loma. The 23-ear-old Teofimo is facing his first big name in Lomachenko, and this is a fight that he’s been chasing after for the last two years.
Loma has been the hunted rather than the hunter, which is a new experience for him. The two-time Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko is accustomed to his opposition being afraid of him.
Lomachenko can’t play with Teofimo
“I’m not saying he’s [Teofimo] is going to knock Lomachenko out, but I give him a little more credit than that,” said Judah about Lomachenko. “It’s going to be a tough fight.
“I don’t know how he’s going to dissect him or how he’s going to beat him or even if he’s going to win. I’m just saying he’s [Teofimo], a young guy that is hungry and determined.
“I would hope that Lomachenko goes in there. Don’t play with these young guys. They aren’t here to play. That’s the moral to the story of the whole message. These young boys are not here to play.
“So when you’re fighting them, you got to put a little seasoning on your spice, and you’re coming to fight these young boys. Take that into consideration. They ain’t coming to play,” said Judah.
Zab has the right advice for the 32-year-old Lomachenko for the Teofimo Lopez fight. Loma can’t play around with Teofimo the way he usually does with his opponent, as he’ll put himself in danger by doing that.
Lomachenko likes to throw a lot of weaker punches, thrown with speed to embarrass and demoralize his opposition into quitting. It’s worked for Loma when he was fighting at 126 and 130, but now that he’s at 135, he’s paying the price when he fights like that.
If Lomachenko tries to beat Teofimo with his volume punching, he’s going to get caught with something along the way. Teofimo’s power is to such an extent that he can hurt Lomachenko and make him look mortal.
Lomachenko will need to forget about his showboating act and focus on fighting smart against Teofimo if he doesn’t want to get knocked out on October 17th.
The way that Lomachenko has looked at the end of his fights against Jose Pedraza, Jorge Linares, and Luke Campbell, you can tell that he’s having a hard time winning his battles at 135
Haney faces Lomachenko-Lopez winner?
“I know what it’s like when you got to go through a name that might be the biggest and the baddest in the division. But you’ve got to go through a proving point,” said Zab.
“We know in Team Haney that Devin is certified, and we know the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted. Now we’re going to show the world what they got to see, and we’re going to make it happen.
“Sorry for going back to Devin. Everybody we touch” said Judah about his thoughts on Devin beating both Lomachenko and Teofimo. “Anybody that signs his name to the contract, it’s Haney time, and you know what to expect.
“It’s going to happen,” Zab said about Devin fighting the winner of the Lomachenko vs. Lopez fight. “It’s not what I want. It’s going to happen. Zab has nothing to do with it.
“Unless you step up to the plate as a man, nobody is going to respect you. That’s what I always came to do. Win, lose or draw, I’m showing up,” said Judah.
While Judah seems to be sure that the winner of the Lomachenko-Teofimo fight will face WBC lightweight champion, Devin Haney, that’s not likely to happen. Haney fights on DAZN, and he hasn’t attained the level of popularity yet for Top Rank to want to bother setting up a cross-promotion fight with Matchroom.
Haney still needs to ply his trade and beat some of the other fighters like Ryan Garcia, Luke Campbell, Javier Fortuna, Gary Russell Jr, and Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis before Lomachenko and Teofimo look his way.
Given that Teofimo plans on moving up to 140 soon, it’s not likely that he’ll fight Haney before he makes a move up.