Teddy Atlas previews Vasily Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez
By Kenneth Friedman: Teddy Atlas is looking forward to this Saturday’s clash between IBF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) and WBA/WBC/WBO champ Vasily Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs).
Like many people, Altas is giving Teofimo, 23, a puncher’s chance of winning.
Atlas feels that Teofimo is more physically gifted than Lomachenko, 32, in size, speed, power, and raw talent. However, Lomachenko’s intelligence sets him apart, and Atlas thinks that he could up outsmarting Teofimo.
Teofimo too dangerous for Loma to fight aggressively
The risk that Lomachenko will be taking with his aggressive counter-punching style will put him in harm’s way the entire fight against Lopez. Atlas believes that Lomachenko will fight with a different game plan, and not try and force Teofimo to throw.
With Teofimo’s superior hand speed, he’s going to connect if Lomachenko fights with his usual aggressive style.
Atlas believes that Lomachenko and his dad/trainer Anatoliy, will focus on staying on the outside to keep from getting hit by Lopez. He sees Lomachenko using a lot of movement to keep Teofimo from landing.
Lomachenko lacks Teofimo’s genetics
“He’s the naturally bigger guy, he’s talented, and he not only has power, but he’s also explosive,” Atlas said of Teofimo at The Fight with Teddy Atlas. “He has something that Pacquiao had when he was really young.
“That explosive ability to close the gap really fast. He’s right on top of you really quick. He’s out of range, and then he closes that gap before you can react to it with the power with the goods.
“He ain’t FedEx. He’s Lopez. He’s not knocking on your door. And he’s going through your door. He was developed by his father from the beginning, like a test tube baby in certain ways.
“His father knew what he wanted him to be. He wanted him to be an Olympic champion and a world champion. Lomachenko doesn’t have the genetics that Lopez has, but he’s developed other areas.
“Mentally, he’s been developed to be what he is now. Physically, even though he doesn’t have the natural genetics, he’s worked on specific exercises and training to make himself very strong,” Atlas said of Lomachenko.
“I’ve seen him in the training camp where he walks on his hands all over the ring, and then he starts doing pushups. His father has devised ways to make up for what he didn’t have naturally.
“That’s what makes this interesting—the natural [Teofimo] vs. the developed [Lomachenko]. And with punches, the born vs. the making,” said Atlas.
Teofimo being the bigger puncher along with his youth and size, will make this fight interesting. Lomachenko.
It’s going to be difficult for Loma to stay outside all night because he likes to demoralize his opponents with his fast combinations. He won’t be able to do that against Teofimo without paying the price.
Lomachenko vs. Teofimo = Fight of the year?
“He’s 32-years-old, nine-years older than Lopez, but it’s kind of like a car,” said Atlas.”You don’t judge a car by its year. It’s by the odometer. This is a guy that had 400 amateur fights.
“That’s what I’m talking about miles,” Teddy said of Lomachenko. “Yeah, he’s a slick guy, a smart guy, but he’s taken some bumps in the road. He got dropped by Linares, and that’s another interesting part of this.
“If Linares could put him on the floor, then there’s a chance that Lopez can land it. If Lopez lands it, it’s got more impact coming from him, obviously, and it can do more damage than Linares could do.
“The younger guy [Teofimo] believes in himself, and he’s like the stallion that hasn’t been broken yet. Can Lomachenko break him? Lomachenko will either take him apart piece by piece like he’s done to people before.
“It’s not as if he’s not been in there with a guy that could blow you up before. Whether it was Nicholas Walters or whoever you want to point at. He took him apart.
“So he’s either going to take this guy [Teofimo] piece by piece or man, it’s going to be classic. Maybe fight of the year. This is the one that can surpass it [Jose Zepeda vs. Ivan Baranchyk] or has the potential,” said Teddy.
If Teofimo can put hands on Lomachenko consistently, we could fight the year type of contest. Unfortunately, many of Lomachenko’s fights are boring due to them being so one-sided.
Lomachenko throws a lot of weaker shots, and it’s not as interesting to watch compared to the big punchers like Gervonta Davis and Teofimo.
Loma is starting to deteriorate
“So he either takes him apart piece by piece, Mr. Lomachenko, or the young guy says, ‘I’m here with the new,” Atlas said. “I’m here to put my flag down. You were great, but I have the kryptonite.’
“If any, how much have Lomachenko gone into the shadows [translation: started to deteriorate due to age and wear and tear].
“That element has to be brought into this conversation. Because if not, it’s easy to say ‘Loma.’ Do I see a regression in Loma? I see maybe a little bit of what I saw in Pacquiao.
“If anything has slowed a bit, he’s not quite as aggressive as he used to be. Loma may be pulling back slightly in that area because what Loma does is he’s an aggressive counter puncher.
“He goes right at you, forces you to miss, and then makes you pay, and takes the hope away from you by doing that.
“That’s the fight that if he wins, it’s because of that fight,” Atlas said about Teofimo’s hard match against Masayoshi Nakatani. “If I’m his father, I’m so happy he had that fight because without that fight, he might not beat [Richard] Commey, and he has no chance against Loma.
“Not looking spectacular humbled him and made him think about things we need to think about when we’re young. That fight against the Japanese fighter is what he needed. We need to struggle in life to learn about our self,” said Teddy.
Lomachenko’s contests against Jorge Linares, Luke Campbell, and Jose Pedraza showed that he is beginning to deteriorate as a fighter. That’s obvious to see. Look at Loma’s face after each of those fights. He looked beaten up, and he had taken a lot of punishment.
This could be the fight of the year if Teofimo can be competitive, but that’s going to be hard to do.
Lopez has improved from Nakatani
“You don’t want to go into a fight with a fighter like Lomachenko with still open questions,” Atlas said. “Without that fight, he [Teofimo] has no chance].
“Without the fight against the Japanese fighter, Lopez would have had a good chance of being discouraged, and I think he’s been fortified. He’s been given an asbestos suit for the fire that he’s about to go into it.
“That was a competitive one-sided fight where you knew that Loma was in charge, but he got shaken a couple of times,” said Atlas about Lomachenko’s last contest against Luke Campbell.
“He got shaken up twice, which didn’t use to happen much. Yeah, he got dropped, Linares. Campbell is not a puncher; he’s not a physical guy. He caught him as a southpaw, and he caught Loma with a left-hand counter a few times.
“He got an effect from him. Loma did what he does and came back and dominated. He’s mentally the guy. Maybe that showed you something in the Campbell fight that he’s prone to being caught, maybe.
“He had to deal with that. Maybe he’s not u for those fights, but he [Lomachenko] did get caught, he did get affected. We saw that.
“If you think Lopez represents Canelo in a way in going in there with a slick guy, both slick guys, Loma and [Floyd] Mayweather, and then his power is his most important element here,” Atlas said in comparing Teofimo to Canelo Alvarez for when he fought Mayweather.
Nakatani’s size was hard for Lopez to adjust to because he was able to take away his power shots by staying on the outside. Lomachenko and his dad will have studied the Teofimo-Nakatani fight closely, and you can bet they’ll be following Nakatani’s blueprint.
Atlas picks Lomachenko to beat Teofimo
“Everyone thought that the size was going to be an advantage for Canelo. The difference here is, Lopez has quicker feet and is more explosive. Also, Lomachenko isn’t Mayweather.
“He’s a real great counter puncher, but I differentiate earlier. He’s [Lomachenko] an aggressive counter puncher. Mayweather makes you find him, and that shows the shortcomings that Canelo had,” said Teddy.
“Loma is going to force him to punch and miss, and that’s going into the lion’s den a little bit,” Atlas continued. “That’s taking more of a risk than Mayweather takes.
“Is he still going to be that guy at 32? I’m seeing a little slide. Or is he going t make adaptions instead of being an aggressive counter puncher, he’ll be a counter puncher in a more conventional sense?
“He’ll use his legs. He has the best legs in boxing, he still does. He’ll use his legs from the outside to get Lopez to give him what he needs to stay outside and pot shot and pickpocket him.
“I’m going to say he’s going to adapt. He needs to be what he used to be. I can see Lomachenko getting dropped in this fight. There’s that kind of danger. I can see him getting stopped even.
“They [Lomachenko and his dad/trainer Anatoliy] know that knowledge and respect will show in the ring.
“They will make changes and be ready as they can be, even if your foot starts to touch the shadows a tiny bit.
“Loma will go and do what he did against great fighters in the Olympics that were great punchers, and great punchers that he’s faced in the pros and be what he needs to be to disarm them and he’ll win a unanimous decision,” Atlas said in predicting a win for Lomachnko.
More Boxing News:
- ESPN ranks Terence Crawford #1 pound-for-pound, above Errol Spence
- Chris Algieri: Lomachenko isn’t slipping; he’s in the wrong weight class
- Devin Haney: Lomachenko needs to take his loss and move on
- Mikey Garcia: Lomachenko beat weaker & smaller fighters
- Gervonta Davis: Teofimo Lopez’s win over Lomachenko wasn’t convincing