For a guy famous for emphatic post-fight parties, a raised hand made a louder statement than anything else Teofimo Lopez has done in the ring.
No backflip, jersey or Heisman pose may fit one of the easiest functions in boxing. Lopez defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko by unanimous decision to win three of those four leading lightweight straps (along with the WBC franchise buckle ), and whenever the lightweight’s title was declared inside the MGM Grand Convention Center in Las Vegas on Saturday night, despite it being void of lovers along with the ovation it deserved, it indicated a new age in the game had officially arrived.
Teofimo Lopez is boxing’s next superstar.
He cemented that standing with a win over Lomachenko — ESPN’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter — with a transparent margin, as judges scored the fight 117-111, 119-102 and 116-112. Now, in 23 years old, Lopez is a coordinated lightweight winner, and the showmanship he displayed throughout his rise from the game has been matched with his own in-ring accomplishments.
“I’m a fighter,” he explained from the post-fight interview on ESPN. “I gotta dig in deep. I knew he was coming. I can’t give him that.”
Lopez (16-0, 13 KOs) controlled the action for the first seven rounds till Lomachenko discovered his crime. And after faltering through the rear end of this struggle, Lopez rallied from the 12th round and replied Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) by digging deep and imposing his dimension on the prior featherweight.
Lopez did not shy away from confronting one of the toughest challenges in the game, which end gave Lopez a reward which was worth the danger. Before this weekend, Lomachenko had ceased nine of the final 11 opponents, also has been arguably boxing’s most dominant fighter. Lopez desired the challenge of confronting someone for example Lomachenko, even though it meant risking an undefeated record. Lopez mentioned a number of the game’s historical greats who chosen for that strategy.
“They didn’t care,” Lopez stated from the pre-fight press conference. “They just wanted to put on a show for the fans and they wanted to show and prove (to) themselves that they are the best in their division. And that’s what it comes to.”
By doing this, and by winning, the magnetic, marketable and affable Lopez hastened his route into boxing superstardom and made significant progress down the route of becoming one of the game’s most rewarding fighters.
For years, Top Rank has looked for ways to construct Lopez’s new as he constructed the basis for his professional career. For that the previous two decades, Lopez stole the show at Madison Square Garden on the insides of this Heisman Trophy demonstration on ESPN, and he delivered to both events.
Not simply did he win, such as a second-round TKO over Richard Commey for the IBF belt which put up the Lomachenko chance, but he observed that the successes with backflips while wearing the jerseys of those Heisman winners. He understood that being a fantastic prizefighter supposed being a fantastic showman.
That held true throughout the build-up into the struggle against Lomachenko. Lopez was outspoken in his garbage talk ahead of this bout. While a number of those feelings of dislike might be valid, Lopez more or less admitted it was the function that had to be performed to make some play around the name battle.
Teofimo Lopez breaks down his unanimous decision victory over Vasily Lomachenko, stating he had to dig deep when he wished to win. He additionally previews what might be next because of him.
“I’m not trying to get under his skin,” Lopez said. “I’m just being outspoken. Come that night, he wants to take it out on me, great. I’m trying to take it out on him, too. That’s what makes it a good fight. At the same time, we’re trying to promote the damn fight.”
With the win Lomachenko, the mixture of Lopez’s marketability along with his pugilistic craftsmanship gives him one of the greatest ceilings in the game. Others such as Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia possibly have a better fan base and name recognition, but neither of these gets the kind of win that Lopez picked up this weekend, along with his performance Saturday can certainly close the gap concerning recognition and popularity.
And as Lopez continues to move up in fat and also chase bigger titles in weight and prestige during the upcoming few decades, his appeal is only going to increase along with much more top-level performances. If he moves up to junior welterweight, he can shoot on Jose Ramirez or Josh Taylor, two additional Top Rank fighters who might hold all four leading 140-pound name straps early in 2021.
Just such as he was not afraid to step up to the challenge of battling Lomachenko, Lopez is not bashful about taking on guy.
“I’ll have Josh Taylor in the morning,” Lopez stated, “and then I’ll have Jose Ramirez at night.”
That joke summed up why Lopez has one of the brightest futures in the game. For years, Lopez has displayed outstanding degrees of charisma. On Saturday, he paired that with a win over arguably the best boxer in the world.
The takeover is complete. And Lopez’s time in the top is only starting.