By Dan Ambrose: Trainer Teofimo Lopez Sr is upset with what he claims were “dirty” tactics by Vasily Lomachenko last Saturday night with him head-butting his son Teofimo Lopez in their fight in ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 23-year-old Teofimo (16-0, 12 KOs) won the fight by a 12 round unanimous decision by 116-112, 119-109, and 117-111. Teofimo Sr says he agrees with the judge that scored the fight 119-109 [11 sounds to 1] because that’s how he had the contest scored. He felt that Lomachenko deserved to win just one round.
Teofimo Sr maintains that Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) got “desperate” and went for broke after he fell behind in the first half of the contest. As a result, Lomachenko clashed heads with Teofimo frequently in the second half of the ESPN and ESPN Deportes televised match
Perhaps a better explanation for why there were so many accidental head-butts during the fight was the size difference between them. Lomachenko being smaller with shorter arms, made it necessary for him to get close to throw his combination punches.
With both guys coming together, the result was for them to bang heads now and then.
Lopez outboxed Lomachenko
“I told him to keep his composure. We got this thing called a pyramid. Basically, it goes in an angle where you can touch a fighter, but they can’t touch you,” said Teofimo Sr during the post-fight news conference last Saturday.
“When I saw Lomachenko having a hard time with that, I knew we were going to win this fight. Right away, I found out. I got to give Lomachenko a lot of respect for taking those big shots early on in the fight.
“He [Lomachenko] wanted to win, but he couldn’t figure out my son. My son was the better man today. We did something that everybody thought we couldn’t do. And we outboxed him. We gave him a clinic.
“I didn’t see him winning any rounds because my son was hitting him with the bigger shots. He [Lomachenko] was playing dirty in there; he was trying to headbutt him. And he head-butted him a lot of times in his eyes.
“I was telling him, ‘Listen, don’t let this guy keep on going because he’s going to end up cutting you. I told him this around the eighth round, and it came to happen.
“Yeah, he got desperate because he knew he could only win by knockout. No, I told him he had to be tougher, keep away from him, stay composed and move around,” said Teofimo Sr when asked if he told his son to fight dirty in response to the headbutting and hitting on the break that Lomachenko was doing.
Lopez outboxed Lomachenko during most of the rounds in the first half of the fight, but not in the second part. Lomachenko was the better fighter in the second half of the match.
For whatever reason, Lomachenko chose not to fight hard in the first seven rounds, which cost him the fight. You can’t say that Lomachenko was outboxed during that time. He was holding back with his punches intentionally.
Teofimo Sr says Loma was fighting dirty
“Of course not, he does that, and that’s why we told the official before the fight to watch him,” said Teofimo Sr about Lomachenko using the head-butts as a tactic to try and win.
“I saw that in the Linares fight in almost all his fights, and he does that when he’s a little bit frustrated. He was gunning for it, and he wanted to cut him and make him unsure and make him uncomfortable in there.
“It didn’t work. My son always stays composed, so I knew that wasn’t working. I never got nervous, but there were times when he would walk in and start throwing his little patty-cake punches.
“It got me a little bit worried about my son because I wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to absorb all those head-butts, and that’s why I wanted him to take him out in the earlier rounds.
“I told him, ‘Listen, this guy is going to cut you. I don’t want him to cut you and hurt you with his head-butts,'” said Teofimo Sr about the head-butting from Loma.
Teofimo was getting hit with a lot of shots, not head-butts from Lomachenko during the match. The reason Teofimo’s face was so badly swollen up afterward was because of the “patty-cake” punches that Loma was hitting him with.
Lomachenko was able to land the “patty-cake” shots with a degree of power to them, and Teofimo didn’t like it one bit. In 8, 9, 10, and 11, Lomachenko connected a lot with punches that were snapping Teofimo’s head back repeatedly.
It sounds like Teofimo Sr is either in denial about the problems his son was in during the fight, or he’s confused. The fat is, Lomachenko was landing a lot in the championship rounds, and Teofimo was struggling, looking tired.
Lomachenko confused by Teofimo’s style
“He’s [Teofimo] a great boxer. His whole 170 amateur fights were boxing, and we needed that today,” Teofimo Sr. “We showed the world that my son is not just a puncher, as I said before.
“We just made the best boxer in the world look like nothing. So we were here to stay for a long time. This kid is only 23, and we’re making history.
“He’s the first one to win four belts in the 135-lb division and the first one to unify so young. It was the pyramid, as I saw,” Teofimo Sr said when asked why Lomachenko couldn’t hit Lopez early in the fight.
What a duo 🤝 pic.twitter.com/k6YehDaHxu
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) October 19, 2020
“If you try to get in, you’re going to pay for it. He [Lomachenko] couldn’t understand that style, and it was too late when he tried to figure it out. He just went for broke,” said Lopez Sr.
Lomachenko is a counter puncher, and he didn’t have much to work with due to the single shots that Teofimo was throwing. Teo was throwing a lot of jabs and right hands.
With those single shots, Lomachenko couldn’t work off them the way he would against a more aggressive opponent.
What further gave Lomachenko problems was the counter punching from Teofimo. He was hitting Lomachenko with body shots when he would throw punches, and that really bothered him more than anything. Lomachenko didn’t like getting hit to the body.
Teofimo Sr warned Lopez
“That’s what I saw in him. He said, ‘What the hell, I don’t want to lose.’ So that’s why he started going crazy and going in with his head under and hitting my son with those shots to the head with his head,” Teofimo Sr said.
“He was just trying to make the fight dirty. My son stayed composed, and that’s what true champions do. It was an amazing fight. I knew that once we adapted to him, the fight was over.
“Going into the 8th round, I told my son, ‘You’ve won every round. This guy can only win by knocking you out, so stay careful and stay composed.
“He’s going to try and take you to deep waters, but be careful and watch your head because he’s trying to hit you with his head. He’s trying to head-butt you, so be careful.’
“I told him, ‘You’re going to get cut. He’s going to cut you, so take him out and don’t let him do that to you.’ It happened, but it’s okay. I’m happy. It’s the best way that we could have eon.
“It’s better than if we knocked him out because now the world knows this kid is the best boxer out there and puncher,” Teofimo Sr said.
Some of the head-butts that occurred appeared to be a case of both fighters coming together to throw power shots. It didn’t look like Lomachenko was intentionally trying to head-butt Teofimo.
Lopez Sr is seeing things that weren’t there because Lomachenko was fighting clean. Loma’s southpaw stance clashed with Teofimo, resulting in them sometimes crashing into each other headfirst.
Teofimo Sr wants Lopez to move up to 140
“If we didn’t have these people helping him, he wouldn’t have made weight so comfortably,” continued Teofimo Sr. “I think it’s time for him to move up and try to win all the belts in the 140-pound division.
There’s no reason why we have to stay at 135 unless they give us something we want to fight for. It depends, but I’d rather he got to 140. He’s been suffering at this weight for seven years already.
“If the fight was close, then yeah, maybe,” said Teofimo Sr when asked would he give Lomachenko a rematch. “I know what my son can do, and I don’t want anyone to doubt him.
“I know what he deserves. Let’s see what he gets now. I didn’t stutter when I said, ‘we’re going to beat this guy [Lomachenko] up. The only thing I was surprised was, he took those shots really good. I’ve got to give it up to Lomachenko.
“He’s a strong fighter, and that’s why he has two gold medals and 400 fights. The guy has been in with all these different styles, but he’s never fought anyone like my son. Out of all those 400 fights that he had, my son had the kryptonite for him. Tonight, we showed it.
“My son wants bigger things. He wants to be pound-for-pound #1 in the world, and that’ what he’s going to be,” continued Teofimo Sr. “I told my son that we’re not in this sport to go backward. These kids have got to do their thing and step up to the plate.
“I don’t want none of them losing because those are mega fights.
“Devin Haney, I’d take Devin Haney,” Teofimo Sr said when asked what fighter he wants for his son as a mega-fight in a couple of years.
If Lomachenko wants a rematch, Teofimo should consider giving him one. It’s not as if Loma is a mediocre fighter that is unworthy of a reach. He’s a great talent who will end up in the Boxing Hall of Fame after he retires. x
We don’t know right now if Lomachenko wants a second fight with Teofimo, but if he does, they consider giving him the shot out of respect for what he’s done in the sport.
Loma couldn’t attack from the sides
“I saw all the fights with Pedraza and Linares, and I saw something with Lomachenko where every time he stepped in to the sides, he couldn’t do that with my son because he had him double-stepping back. He couldn’t go to the side all night. We took that away from him,” Lopez Sr said.
“From the moment that he couldn’t do that, I knew we had him. We stopped him from doing everything that he’s comfortable with. He’s used to fighting fighters with their hands up, so it’s easier for him to get in inside the pocket and do his work.
“I was watching a lot of videos of every time he jumps in; I told my son, ‘You’ve got to hurt him to the body.’ We stood in and chased the body the whole night, and I think that hurt. He was hurt a lot of times.
“There were a lot of times where he was ready to go. I think my son could have finished him, but he decided not to. I like it because he gave him a whopping. That’s what we said we were going to do. There was no way we were going to get robbed in this fight.
“Even though they had it 116-112 on one of the cards, I felt that as ridiculous. I think the right score was 119-110. And I could give him that. I think that judge [Julie Lederman] was watching the fight.
“And I think the fight that we had today, I think he had the best score,” said Teofimo Sr in not realizing that the score was 119-109, not 119-110.
The footwork of Teofimo proved to be exceptional, allowing him to cut off the angles of attack that Lomachenko attempted to use. Early on, Lomachenko was trying to attack Teofimo from the sides, but it didn’t work.
With the Lomachenko’s ability to attack from the sides effectively eliminated, he was forced to stand in front of him and fight a conventional style. That was never going to work for Loma, as he was too small, too weak, and too fragile to fight him that way.
Lopez didn’t follow directions
“A lot of things we have to improve on,” said Teofimo Sr, when asked if there are things Teofimo needs to improve on. “There are a lot of things that he didn’t listen to me in there.
“A lot of stuff that is going to make his fights easier, and we’re going to work on. In the next camp, I need to make him do things that I tell him to do.
“There were times where he had him, and I would tell him to shift, which is something we do to finish a fighter. He had many opportunities to do it, but he decided not to.
“Anyway, I’m happy because he gave this guy a beating. He’s going to feel it tomorrow. She’s the one that got it right,” said Teofimo Sr about Julie Lederman.
Had Teofimo attacked more, and threw more punches when pressing, he might have stopped Lomachenko. When Teofimo finally did go on the attack in the 12th, Lomachenko was reeling and in trouble.
What we saw in the final round was a glimpse of what Lopez could have potentially done to Lomachenko if he’s not been so cautious and careful. Lopez gave Loma way too much respect, and he held back until the 12th.
If Teofimo had fought Lomachenko the way he did fighters like Mason Menard, Richard Commey, and Diego Magdaleno, he could have knocked him out. Also, the fight would have been a lot easier and he wouldn’t have suffered a bad cut in the final round.
Teofimo let Lomachenko stay around way too long, and it resulted in him being cut and bruised around both eyes.
Teofimo Sr says no rematch for Lomachenko
“Everybody about ‘Papa Chenko here, papa-chinko there.’ I told everybody all that stuff that they do is to just hype everybody. I already knew it. Now, I just want papa Chenko to go back to Ukraine and give him son a few more dance lessons.
“I told him that the most beautiful thing is you boxed the s*** out of this guy,” Teofimo Sr said about what he told his son. “And I told him that, ‘it would be amazing if you don’t knock him out, and you just beat him in every round.’
“I cannot believe all the punches this guy was taking. And I hope he’s okay tomorrow because of those devastating punches. Anyone else would have been down on the floor.
He stayed composed the whole fight, and we outclassed this guy—that’ why I don’t want any rematch. There’s no rematch clause for the same reason because everyone thought he was going to win. There are bigger things to come,” said Teofimo Sr.,
If the only option for Lopez’s next fight is an obscure opponent for 21-year-old WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney, the boxing world would prefer seeing a rematch with Lomachenko.
Haney isn’t popular enough for Teofimo to pick him over a second fight with Lomachenko. That would be a step backward for Teofimo. Haney can’t punch, and he’s nowhere near as talented as Lomachenko.
Teofimo Sr wants Lopez to fight the winner of the Josh Taylor vs. Jose Ramirez, but those guys won’t be fighting until 2021. In the meantime, Teofimo needs to fight someone while he waits for the smoke to clear from the Taylor-Ramirez match. A rematch with Lomachenko would be a good option.