LOMACHENKO vs. Lopez was exactly what the sport of boxing needed, amidst these uncertain times.
The sport’s erstwhile pound-for-pound king facing off against a young, brash, undefeated, up-and-coming star with all the lightweight belts on the line.
Being your resident boxing columnist, I know when a fight generates more than the usual interest as I get inundated by messages and texts from friends asking about the fight, and this one was exactly just that.
And this fight surely delivered on the intrigue it promised.
THE FIGHT. Vasyl Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) is typically a slow starter and this fight was no exception.
Unfortunately, it would come back to bite him big-time on this one as by the time he primed his punching pump, Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) had already built a wide enough margin on the scorecards of the judges, that Loma practically needed a knockout or several knockdowns in the last two rounds to win.
But aside from his usual diesel-like approach to fights, this one was different because his opponent was not only fast, big and strong- Lopez boxed well enough to keep Loma at bay and deter him from being more aggressive and taking chances.
Loma finally woke up in the second half of the fight and increased his output. He clearly won rounds 8, 9, 10, 11 on my card.
But unlike previous opponents who would typically wilt under a scorching Loma rally, Lopez wasn’t outclassed and kept his composure. He was right in there with Loma during the exchanges and often landed a telling blow here and there.
He won the 12th on all the judges’ cards and even from the body language alone when the final bell rang, you knew that Loma was doubtful about his performance while Lopez acted irreverently certain of his body of work.
SCORE. The judges turned in scores that were hardly emblematic of the close nature of the proceedings, especially Julie Ledermans’ who tallied a woeful 119-109 (the others scored it 116-112, 117-111.)
Boxing has a peculiar judging criteria where rounds are scored individually and tallied up in the end, so it’s possible that one fighter might actually win most if not all of the rounds, even though all of these are closely fought, depending on the bias or preference of a judge.
But Lederman’s was still way off as she gave Loma only one round which was the 11th. Loma arguably won at least 4 of those rounds clearly.
Is Loma done? Not by a mile. Despite what the cards said, it was still a highly competitive fight. To me, Lopez was just too big and strong and must have outweighed Loma by at least 10 pounds at fight time. The skill level was comparable, but it was in the power department where Loma was thoroughly decimated.
Remember that this is his 3rd weight division. If he doesn’t opt for a rematch, he can easily move back down to the junior lightweight division where can still be dominant.
LAST ROUNDS. Are on a couple of boxing gurus in their own right, Hon. Judge Hernani A. Espina of the MTCC Borbon-Tabogon Circuit and Atty. Alan F. Siu who both celebrated their birthdays yesterday. Cheers!