Las vigas Teofimo Lopez was daring enough to challenge Vasily Lomachenko, and was good enough to beat him.
Lopez dominated early and finished hard on Saturday night, winning a unanimous 12-round decision over Lomachenko to standardize the lightweight titles in a fight he demanded even though some believed he had insufficient experience.
Lopez took advantage of Machenko’s slow start to make an early lead, then finished the battle with a big 12 round that left L Machenko bloodied and punched on the scorecards. The 23-year-old from Brooklyn became the Unified Lightweight Champion and managed to do what few in boxing thought he could do – Outbox is perhaps the ultimate boxing technician.
Lopez (0-16) added the three titles that Lu Machinko (15-2) kept to the belt he won last year to become the undisputed champion.
Lopez 119-109, 117-111 and 116-112 were favored on ringside scorecards in a match held without fans at the MGM Grand Convention Center. The Associated Press won Lopez in 117-111.
Lopez proved faster and stronger than 32-year-old L Machenko, who won two Olympic golds as an amateur and was seen as one of the sterling’s best fighters as a professional. Surprisingly, he was also a better boxer and proved that he could close the show by blood in Lomachenko’s eye in the twelfth round.
“I had to dig deep, man,” said Lopez. “I am a fighter, I must dig deep.”
Usually slow, Lomachenko was so slow this time giving rounds early on while trying to figure out Lopez’s style. By the time the fight became competitive in the eighth round, he was very far from returning.
“He’s been on layoff for 14 months,” said Lopez. “I knew it was going to take a long time to catch up.”
Lomachenko, who lost only one time in nearly 400 amateur fights and only one loss as a pro, believes he performed better than the score cards indicated.
“I definitely don’t agree with the scorecards,” he said.
The fight was the largest since the pandemic began and it would have been a pay-to-watch event in normal times. But with no fans it was televised on ESPN, giving boxing a bigger show than it would otherwise get.
Lomachenko was the favorite 4-1 but looked rusty early on when he tried to solve Lopez’s style. He threw punches sparingly only in the first half of the fight, landing only 31 punches in the first seven rounds, before finally gaining speed in the eighth round.
“I think the first half of the fighting got more rounds than I did, but in the second half of the fighting I took control,” said Lomachenko. “I was much better.”
Punch stats showed Lopez landed 183 out of 659 punches while Lopez got 141 out of 321. It took 10 seconds to catch a glimpse of the ring doctor before resuming.
His father told Lopez in the corner before the 12th round that he was ahead and would not risk anything. But he came out strong and beat Lomchenko.
“I didn’t know if they’d put it on the scorecards or not,” said Lopez.
Lopez flipped his background branding in the ring after the decision was announced unanimously.
Lopez became the youngest fighter to become a four-belt champ in his second fight for the title only. He sought to fight against Lomachenko, angering the Ukrainian with his reckless tactics.
Lopez said, “I love to fight and I can pop, too.” “ This is what a true hero does, I go there and find a way to win. ”
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