By Kenneth Friedman: Using constant pressure and hard power shots, Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) outworked the older fighter Vasily Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) to beat him by a 12 round unanimous decision last Saturday night in their lightweight championship contest in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Fighting in front of a small crowd of guests, Lopez hurt Lomachenko in rounds 10 and 12 with hard shots and outthrew him to get the win in ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Lopez, 23, came into the fight as the IBF lightweight champion, and he came away with an additional three straps, winning the WBA, WBC, and WBO belts from Lomachenko.
Teofimo is now the undisputed lightweight champion, which is something that he’d been excited about going into the match with the 32-year-old Lomachenko.
Lomachenko didn’t o much in the first seven rounds of the fight to say that he deserved to win any of them. He looked small, scared, and overtrained, and he let Teofimo win the first seven rounds without doing anything.
It’s possible that Lomachenko overtrained for the fight because his upper body looked too lean, and he didn’t have the normal strength that we’re accustomed to seeing from him.
Teofimo out-threw Lomachenko by a huge margin
The 32-year-old Lomachenko wasn’t able to keep up with Lopez’s output, and he didn’t even appear to try to match his work rate. When Loma attempted to increase his punch output from the 8th round on, Teofimo more than matched him. The difference was that Teofimo’s shots had a lot more power on them than the lighter unches that Lomacehnko was throwing.
Teofimo threw 659 punches and landed 183 for a connect percentage o 28. For his part, Lomachenko threw less than have the number of shots. He connected on 141 of 321 for a 44% connect rate.
In the power punch department, Teofimo landed 148 to Lomachenko’s 77. That’s twice as many power punches landed for Lopez than Loma, and, of course, Teofimo’s shots were harder.
“The kid made history tonight; he’s 23-years-old. He’s the undisputed lightweight champion of the world,” said Tim Bradley to ESPN on the win for Teofimo over Lomachenko.
“He got Loma at the right time. I told you, ‘timing is everything.’ The timing in this fight, every time Loma would do something right back. The uppercut was a very effective punch during the course of this fight.
“But early on, what Lomachenko did was he was too cautious. He gave the young man too much respect in going down the line; he came on strong towards the back end of the fight,” said Bradley.
Were the scorecards were too wide?
“I love the close, the last round, the 12th round, the championship in how Lopez was able to deliver and come through and win the last round. I wasn’t too happy with the scorecards,” said Bradley.
“I thought they were wide. It was a close fight, but a great performance by the young undisputed champion now,” said Bradley.
“There was a lot that happened. He called his shot two years ago, and he marched his way to this moment and to this fight little by little,” said Andre Ward about Lopez.
“Not everybody believed. I knew he had the ability to do it, but I didn’t see him doing it, and I didn’t see him doing it like that.
“It’s not about what the writers say, the analysts, the pundits. It’s about what you feel and you believe His [Teofimo] believe is probably his greatest asset, and he backs it up with action.”
You can argue that the scorecards were fine. Even the 119-109 score turned in by Julie Lederman was realistic because Teofimo still landed the better shots than Lomachenko in the championship rounds.
Lomachenko was at his best in rounds 8 through 11, but he still was getting hit by some monstrous shots. The two fighters’ work rate still favored Teofimo by a slight margin, but his punches were landing with more power.
ESPN’s commentators made a big deal about Lomachenko landing some shots in rounds eight through eleven, but that’s because he’d done nothing in the first half of the contest.
It makes sense to give Lomachenko two or three rounds, but that’s it. He didn’t hurt Teofimo, and he was getting outworked, and the harder punches were hitting him. Moreover, Lomachenko’s body language was a scared fighter who didn’t want to get hit.
Teofimo’s speed and power were too much
“When you have speed, power, timing, the ring IQ like Lopez, you can do anything in the ring,” said Bradley. “He showed us tonight. He even beat Vasily Lomachenko.
“I’ve got to give props to his dad. I’ve got to give props to Lopez Sr. He’s been telling us this for the longest time now.
“Everything he said in the past came true, and he said his son was going to beat Lomachenko tonight, and that came true,” said Bradley.
Lopez’s timing and speed were too much for Lomachenko, and he wasn’t able to get away with the things that he normally does in his fights.
Lomachenko usually stands in front of his opponents and throws a massive amount of fast punches thrown with little power. That’s how he’s made them quit in the past, but he couldn’t do that against Teofimo because he was too powerful.
The best movements that Lomachenko had in the fight was when in the clinch with Lopez, and he would have him with shots while he was relaxing.
Teofimo clearly was taken by surprise when he was hit during the clinches, as he’s used to his opponents not working. Lomachenko took advantage of Lopez’s rookie mistake of relaxing, and he nailed several times in the fight.
It wasn’t until the later rounds where Teofimo answered back with his own shots when the two came together for a clinch.
If there’s a rematch, Lomachenko may attempt to take advantage of Lopez’s habit of relaxing in the clinch by throwing. It might be the best way for Lomachenko to beat Teofimo by mauling him for 12 rounds.
If Lomachenko can stay close to Lopez, grapple with him inside, and throw short punches, he could beat him using that approach. It would be an ugly way to win, but we’ve seen fighters do that in the past. Andre Ward used that approach to beat Sergey Kovalev in their first fight.
Lopez deserves credit for defeating Lomachenko
“Yes, Lopez was the bigger man tonight, but we can’t say that this isn’t Loma’s weight class,” said Ward. “He’s campaigning at this weight class.
“When he won the belts, we said, ‘wow, a third weight class. Look at this guy, he’s amazing.’ This is also a fighter that won a world championship at 132 pounds, and he won a gold medal at 132 pounds.
“He’s familiar with this weight class or a similar range. We’ve got to take this off the table and just let this be a win for Teofimo,” said Ward.
“I can tell you right now. We are not going to see another 23-year-old four-belt champion,” said Mark Kriegal. “But let me tell you about what he did when he was 22, late last year.
“He started talking about having panic attacks and he went to therapy. At 22, Teofimo had to confront his demons, and then he confronted Vasily Lomachenko. Guess what? He won.”
Lomachenko and his boxing fans shouldn’t start discrediting Teofimo for his win by saying that he was the bigger fighter, but that’s already started. On social media, fans negate Teo’s win, saving that Loma was fighting in his third weight class.
As ward points out, Lomachenko fought at 132 when he was in the amateur ranks, and he captured gold medals at that weight. As a pro, Lomachenko showed that he belongs at 135 in winning the WBA, WBC, and WBO lightweight titles.
Lomachenko lost to Lopez, not because of his size, but rather the speed, power, and the youth were too much for him. Also, the fear factor played a big part in the victory. Lomachenko looked scared to take risks when Teofimo was fresh in the first seven rounds.
In the last five rounds from the eighth to the twelfth, Lomachenko still wasn’t to go all out because of Teofimo’s speed and power. When Lomachenko got too aggressive, he was hurt by a body shot in the tenth and a right-hand in the 12th.