THE post-Floyd Mayweather boxing world is ruled by Vasyl Lomachenko (14-1, 10KOs). You can probably make a case for Terence Crawford or even Canelo Alvarez, but few will dispute that Loma is arguably on top of most pound-for-pound lists.
A two-time Olympic gold medalist and a world champion in three different weight classes, he currently holds the WBC, WBA and WBO lightweight belts. Dubbed “The Matrix” for his seemingly preternatural boxing skills, Loma is so good he is thought to be invincible.
CHALLENGE. Boxing is a superstar-driven sport and its fortunes rise and fall with the capacities of its superstars.
But boxing fans love a good challenge, and because Loma has been so good for so long and has seemingly breezed through the opposition, his reign has been bereft of the requisite drama and hasn’t really captured the imagination of the casual boxing fan.
He might be its best fighter, but he isn’t its most marketable superstar.
Sure he has exhibited some signs of vulnerability here and there, like that knockdown from Jorge Linares in the 6th round, but for the most part, Loma has reigned with a veneer of invincibility.
What he needs is good challenge from a worthy rival.
LOPEZ. Enter Teofimo Lopez, holder of the IBF diadem, the only belt left to be coveted by Loma. Undefeated in 15 fights with 12 knockouts.
If boxing were a video game, and you had the option to create your own version of a fighter that would match up quite well with Lomachenko, Lopez is your avatar.
A big, strong lightweight with sleeper power in both hands, Lopez will be a tough challenge even for the accomplished Loma.
Prior to this event, some bad blood had already been boiling. A few years back, Lopez’s father and trainer Teofimo Sr. had a nasty verbal exchange with Loma backstage. Leading up to this fight, the buildup has been incredible, considering everything that the pandemic has brought.
This is a fight that the boxing world needs right now. The fight that could resurrect the sport before the year ends. Who will emerge victorious?
MY TAKE. Boxing isn’t only about being the better fighter. It’s about being the better fighter every second of every round. You might have caught your opponent with a huge uppercut, but watch out in the next minute as he will do you better by catching you with a left hook-right straight combo.
And that’s how it goes until one fighter gives up or is beaten or until the final bell sounds after which your entire body of work is judged.
This is where Loma excels. Lopez will have his moments and might even hurt Loma, but the latter’s experience and skill level will be the huge difference.
Loma by late stoppage or unanimous decision.
VERBATIM. “I won’t be surprised if he knocks him out in the first... second round.”--Teofimo Lopez Sr. (Top Rank Boxing Video)
LAST ROUND. It’s on Mandaue City’s prolific councilor, Atty Joel Seno, who recently celebrated his birthday. Cheers!