By Sean Jones: Teofimo Lopez fought last weekend with a potentially life-threatening condition known as pneumomediastinum for his title defense against George Kambosos Jr. at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Teofimo was diagnosed with pneumomediastinum at Bellevue Hospital in New York, according to Mark Kriegel of ESPN.
Teofimo began having problems at the weigh-in last Friday, experiencing shortness of breath.
The usually buoyant Teofimo looked ill at the weigh-in, but it was thought at the time by some boxing fans that his appearance was the result of his weight loss to make the 135-lb limit.
According to ESPN, Teofimo wasn’t aware that he was suffering from pneumomediastinum, a condition that makes it difficult for a person to breathe.
The air escapes between the chest and lungs, resulting in a collapsing of one lung from the pressure. The condition could have killed Teofimo, who thought he was having a reoccurrence of his lifelong asthma problem.
The previously unbeaten Teofimo (16-1, 12 KOs) looked exhausted from the first round, taking deep breaths like a fish out of water and laboring against a weaker fitness-level fighter that he arguably should have trampled in one round in 28-year-old Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs).
According to ESPN, in the condition Teofimo was in, he shouldn’t have been fighting, as he was putting his life at risk against the little-known Kambosos. Teofimo should have been in the hospital being treated for the life-threatening problem with a condition like that.
The unheralded Kambosos, who struggled against B-level opposition during his career, took advantage of Teofimo by outworking him with his high punch output, movement, and constant clinching.
Teofimo could have died
With Teofimo too tired to throw more than a small trickle of shots in each round, Kambosos capitalized on his fatigue by hitting him with a lot of shots that cut him over his eyes and bloodied his nose.
The shots from Kambosos didn’t look robust, but he landed so many of them that they did damage to the exhausted-looking Teofimo.
“He could have died, for sure,” said Dr. Linda Dahl to ESPN about Teofimo. “How he breathed, I can’t even explain to you. It’s like somebody tied a 300-pound set of weights around his chest … like his neck and chest were in a vise. That’s how he fought.”
So there it is. Teofimo was so physically ill that he couldn’t defend his four titles the way he needed to for him to make what should have been a low-key defense against a non-puncher, who had done little to earn a title shot.
This revelation about Teofimo’s medical condition takes all the air out of Kambosos’ victory over him, as he’s got many casual boxing fans convinced that he beat Teo at his best and that he would be a threat to the elite lightweights like Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, Vasily Lomachenko and Devin Haney.
It is evident from the second round that Teofimo looked exhausted, barely throwing punches, and unable to sustain activity without backing off from fatigue. Teofimo looked like a FISH out of the water, taking gulps of air and appearing reddish in the face
Doctor says Teofimo is lucky he’s not dead!
“He’s lucky he’s not dead,” said Dr. Peter Constantino, the New York Head and Neck Institute executive director. “I mean, really lucky.”
Understandably, Teofimo states that he didn’t want to pull out of the fight due to the pressure he had on him.
Teofimo was able to fight hard for 12 rounds with him unable to breathe correctly shows you what a warrior he is.
“I don’t know how he went 12 rounds without being able to breathe,” Dahl said.
Once his medical condition is cleared up, Teofimo will move up to 140 to campaign at light welterweight in 2022. While it would be nice to see Teofimo face Kambosos in a rematch, it’s not possible unless the Australian is willing to go up to 140 to meet him in that weight class.