By Barry Holbrook: Ryan Garcia is picking Vasily Lomachenko to beat IBF lightweight champion, Teofimo Lopez. This Saturday night in their fight for the undisputed 135-lb championship in Las Vegas, Nevada. King Ryan has sparred with WBA/WBC/WBO lightweight champ Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) before, and he knows how difficult he is to deal with because of his IQ inside the ring.
Interestingly, Ryan says Lomachenko isn’t the most talented fighter, and he doesn’t rate his speed or power either. He feels that his ring IQ and totally driven dedication to boxing is what makes him so hard to defeat.
In the end, the unbeaten 23-year-old upstart Teofimo (15-0, 12 KOs) won’t be able to keep up with Lomachenko, says Ryan. If that’s the case, it’s a losing situation for Top Rank, the promoters for Teofimo, because a win for him would take his career to the next level.
With Teofimo’s personality, charisma, and exciting fighting style, he has a better chance of becoming a superstar than the 32-year-old Lomachenko.
Ryan Garcia gives Lomachenko the edge
“I think I give the edge to Lomachenko. He’s not the most talented. I’ll say that right now,” said Ryan Garcia to Fighthype. “His speed doesn’t impress me, and his punching power didn’t impress me.
“He was better than me when I was 18 or 17, of course, but he didn’t impress me. It wasn’t something that I never felt before. And Teofimo isn’t a crazy talent.
“He’s a little bit more naturally gifted than Lomachenko, but Lomachenko puts too much of his mind and IQ into boxing. He’s [Teofimo] not going to be able to keep up with that IQ. That IQ is going to f*** him up.
“I really don’t give a f*** who wins. I’m just saying my opinion. I think Lomachenko wins. He’s thinking about how to get positioning, how to move in the ring. He took Willie Pep, Sugar Ray Robinson, and their footwork and Joe Louis.
“The nice fluidity and he took it to his level for his talent. So I noticed that. Unless you’ve got talent and unless you’ve got the right game. I know how to beat Lomachenko. It’s already out there. There’s a blueprint there. He’s trying his best not to fight people like that.
“You know what I’m talking about. You know the loss he had [against Orlando Salido]. So he doesn’t fight anybody like that. He doesn’t want to fight anybody like that because he’s going to lose again.
“He’s just not talented enough to get a strong mother-f**** off. And he’s not. He’s not talented enough to. If you’re trying to out-box Lomachenko, you better be an animal and have the same mind and the same work ethic to learn the art of boxing as him.
“If not, be a dog. Gervonta Davis has a better chance of beating him than Teofimo because Gervonta is a dog. He’d dog out Lomachenko. He’s just too strong for Lomachenko,” said Garcia.
Teofimo doesn’t fight anything like Orlando Salido, who wore Lomahenko out with body shots in their fight in 2014. Lomachenko has fought mostly headhunter types of fighters, who ignored his body went upstairs with their shots.
As a result, when Lomachenko fought the body-punching Salido, he couldn’t avoid his punches like he’d done with past opponents because he wasn’t aiming his shots at his head.
Teofimo doesn’t throw many body shots, and it isn’t easy to foresee him changing his style for the Lomachenko contest. If Teo does do that, Lomachenko could have problems. Teofimo is a much bigger puncher than little 5’6″ Salido, and he could wear Lomachenko out fast if he focuses his attack on his body on Saturday.
Rollie Romero picks Lopez by knockout over Loma
“I do think Teofimo Lopez is hungry, he’s driven, and he’s in a position where he has everything to gain and nothing to lose,” said Gary Russell Jr to Fighthype.
“A lot of those guys push a little bit harder, and they’re hungrier than these champions are. Only time will tell,” said Russell.
“I think the fight will go Lomachenko’s way,” said Miguel Marriaga. “He’s a skillful fighter with a lot of resources.
“So I think he’s going to win the fight, but at the same time, Lomachenko has to be very careful. Teofimo is also a good fighter, and he has to be careful because Lopez has a lot of power,” said Marriaga.
“He’s going to knock out Lomachenko in the mid rounds with a right hand,” said Rolando Romero in predicting a win for Lopez.
“So yeah, he’s going to knock out Lomachenko. It’s not going to get to the second half of the fight. Teofimo is going to knock him out with a right hand. That’s just boxing. Lomachenko is too small,” said Romero.
You have to take Rollie Romero’s knockout prediction for Teofimo with a grain of salt, considering those guys are good friends. But perhaps Rollie does really believe that Teofimo will win the fight, as he’s passed every test thus far in his four-year pro career.
Teofimo has better physical skills between him and Lomachenko, and he’s nine years younger. Lomachenko doesn’t have the speed, power, size, or the youth of Teofimo.
All those things combined could be enough for Teofimo to offset the experience and the technical ability of Lomachenko.
Shakur Stevenson predicts problems for Teofimo
“I want Teofimo to win,” said Shakur Stevenson. “He’s fighting Lomachenko. He’s got a puncher’s chance, but as the rounds go on, it’s going to be hard for him to get Lomachenko with all the experience he’s got.
“Yeah, it’s definitely the output [from Lomachenko]. As the rounds go on, you better be in the greatest shape of your life to fight Lomachenko. We don’t know,” said Shakur when asked if Lomachenko can fight going backward.
“And we haven’t seen him have to fight going backward. We don’t really know, but somebody has got to push him back. You’ve got to go through hell to push Lomachenko back because he’s not going to stop.
“He’s like a machine. He’s [Lopez] is going to have to do it for 12 rounds. Not just one, two, three. You’ve got 12 rounds of trying to beat the s**** out of Lomachenko, and I don’t think it’s that easy.
“That’s all I’m going to say. It’s his [Lomachenko] his legs, it’s his conditioning, and it’s the way he trains. He prepares himself really well before any of his fights.
“I just feel like if I knew I would fight Lomachenko, I would come in the best shape. I would do some different things in training camp and be at my all-time best,” said Stevenson in saying what he would do to try and beat Lomachenko.
“You can’t say that it’s all bark when everything hs said came true,” said Stevenson on all the trash-talking that Lopez has done. “Everything he said and his dad [Teofimo Sr] said came true.
“He said exactly what fight they’d fight Lomachenko, and they said what they were going to do with Richard Commey. He had one little hiccup with Nakatani. They put it together, and it came true. I can’t say it’s all bark.
“We got to wait until the fight to see if it’s bite or bark [with Teofimo] because they prepared themselves, and they got to this point. This is the moment they’ve been waiting for since they turned pro. I’m picking Loma by decision and Teofimo by KO,” said Shakur.
All the movement that Lomachenko will be using could be too much for Teofimo at some point, especially in the later rounds. Lopez has been knocking out most of his opponents, and he’s not had to go 12 rounds more than once in his four-year pro career.
That was against Masayoshi Nakatani in 2019, and Teofimo didn’t look good in that fight. He struggled with Nakatani’s size and boxing skills.
Stevenson wants Loma after Lopez fight
“I feel like Lomachenko isn’t getting no bigger,” continued Shakur. “Teofimo is the young gun going to test the waters first. If Lomachenko gets the job done, you got to see me.
“We sparred, and I got nothing but respect for Lomachenko. He’s a hell of a fighter. I feel like I’ve got the perfect style to beat Lomachenko. That’s how I feel about myself.
“We both got the Olympic pedigree, and we got a good name, got good legs, and got good movement. I feel like my legs can already match his legs,” Stevenson said of Lomachenko. And I feel like stylistically, you throw me in the ring with Lomachenko, and I’d pick him apart,” said Stevenson.
“I didn’t receive any offer. I said, ‘send it again,’ and that shows he’s just a liar,” said Devin Haney about Teofimo, supposedly sending him an offer for a fight. “He does it for the Internet. But he’s got his hands full now with Lomachenko.
“I wish him the best in that fight, and after that, hopefully, we can get it on,” said Haney about him and Lopez.
It would be good for boxing if Lomachenko were to take on former WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson in his next fight after Teofimo, but he probably won’t do that.
Lomachenko is taking a risk by not facing the young guns right now, hoping those fights will be bigger for him in the future. It could work out for Loma, but it would be better for his popularity to start facing them now.
Those young fighters could all get beaten in the next three to five years by other contenders, and that would wreck Lomachneko’s plans. Also, Lomachenko is getting older, and if he waits too long, he could lose to someone along the way before he even gets to Garcia, Tank, Haney, or Stevenson.