Now a prodigal icon of the 135 pounds lightweight boxing division, Teofimo Lopez secured a shocking upset in what could arguably be the fight of the year. Of course, to the public at large, the lighter weight categories attract little interest, but to the afficionados the prospect was tantalising. On one hand the young hard puncher, known for his hard-hitting style. On the other hand, the seasoned veteran and exquisite technician of the craft. Listening to the pundits talking in the fight build up, everyone rallied behind the older and much more accomplished Lomachenko. And, of course, how not? A regular feature on pound-for-pound lists, Lomachenko was the clear favourite to win the fight. However, we had surprises in store from the opening round.
With a three-inch reach advantage and one inch height advantage, Lopez began the fight by fluidly establishing his range and jab. To the trained eye, from very early on, his ability to keep up with Lomachenko’s formidable and bamboozling footwork stood tall. A strong jab, followed by front font domination, the audience counted four clear rounds where Lopez kept Lomachenko well outside of his preferred range. The threat of Lopez’s power was clearly established. Most commentators have actually described the first half of the fight as uniformly in Lopez’s favour. However, as his brilliance played out before our eyes, a slight drop in his game gave rise to Lomachenko’s rally. People say, well, he starts slow, he downloads information – but, I say he was rendered ineffective.
As fatigue set in on both sides, apparently more on the side of the older Lomachenko, flurries of activity livened up proceedings. Lomachenko, realising the gravity of the situation, rallied in the latter half of the fight. Entering the final round, scores were pretty much even, despite the ludicrous scorecards which represent a scandal in their own right. Nevertheless, Lopez fought on. Defying his corners instructions to box his way around Lomachenko, Lopez fought back. It was no Castillo/Corrales, but Lopez romped to victory with a unanimous decision in his favour.