“You know, when I was a boy, my father said to me, ‘If you are strong, show your weakness, but if you are weak, show your strength.’
“The strong person is never going to shout about it, they are never going to try to insult someone. That person is going to do the thing quietly, they are going to prove it by their actions, not by words.”
This is what Vasily Lomasenko said about Theofimo Lopez in April 2019, long before the two signed on to fight. The Lomasenko-Lopez hustle was built even then. Lopez, a young, hotshot power puncher, has never even won his first world title. But he was calling Lomachenko. There was already a real hatred between the two.
Lomachenko, who speaks English as a second language, does not speak much of that language in interviews, is understandable, and does not even come out as succinctly or clearly as he would like to say. But in his mother tongue, he was very clear about Lopez.
“I’m going to hold him accountable in that fight for every word that is said.”
Eight months later, Lopez won the IPF title with a second-round knockout of Richard Comey, a tough and tested player. Now, 10 months later, the fight is on. On Saturday, Oct. 17 (ESPN, 10pm ET), Lomasenko and Lopez meet in three world titles in a row.
Loma-Lopez was due to take place in the spring, although the Covid-19 epidemic was not officially signed before the game closed from mid-March to mid-June. There were issues in the negotiations, but not so important now. Base fights going on. This is the fit we always want to see more in boxing.
From a fan’s point of view, this is probably the most anticipated fight of 2020. It’s not the general main appeal of a fight like Wilder-Fury 2 in February, but it’s an unpaid vision, which means easy expression, and the fight was greatly encouraged by ESPN. This is a big fight, and it has some casual / major appeals.
This is an attractive easy sale. The world’s foremost lightweight, a fighter’s guide with attack and defense, is 32 years old and still his prime minister, but may soon be at its end. He is also the overall consensus choice for world pound-to-pound top spot, and he has won two Olympic gold medals as one of the best amateur fighters of all time. Also he faces the 23-year-old power center, with speed and skills and a great personality.
How to see Lomachenko vs Lopez
Date: Sat, Oct.17 | Start time: 10:00 pm ET (Main Card) / 7:30 pm ET (Prelims)
Location: MGM Top Rank Bubble, Las Vegas, N.V.
TV: ESPN (Main Card) | Stream: ESPN + (Prelims)
When Loma Senko returned pro in October 2013, he did so with great enthusiasm and chatter, and he did not fight a scrub. Jose Luis Ramirez is no star, but he has a 25-3 pro record and a good win against Ray Batista.
Lomachenko beat him to four, and demanded a smaller WBO featherweight belt, which meant a higher WBO ranking, meaning Ukraine could move towards its true goal: a world title in his second pro fight. In March 2014 he had the opportunity to face the rugged senior player Orlando Salido. Solido lost weight (a lot), but the fight continued.
Salido taught Lomachenko some valuable lessons in that fight. A great talent like Lomachenko, the pro game is not an amateur game, and Salido (41-12-2 at the time, and better than the record) was able to harden Loma and do some useful “dirt” work. Lomachenko hung on to the fight and made some changes, but he still abandoned a fair split decision.
It changed Loma a little, but was better as a fighter. He went out three months later and lost to Santodo with Gary Russell Jr. for the now-vacant belt, and defeated a terrible fighter by the end. Since then, almost every fight has been all Lomachenko. He dominated so badly at the age of 126 that he had to go as far as 130 to find good fights. He did the same with that weight, and moved to 135 in 2018.
George Linares gave Lomasenko a tough test, and in May 2018 gave up even when Loma went for the light weight, but in the end Lomachenko was fine again, putting the talented Venezuela in the top 10. Jose Petrazza had a few moments, but Lomasenko had too much for him and had two more wins in 2019 than Anthony Crola and Luke Campbell. He drove the most-matched fan favorite in Crowe and Campbell on the road in London.
Skill wise, I think there is no one in boxing at the level of Lomasenko and certainly no one is lighter, including Theofimo Lopez.
But it doesn’t always come down to talent. Diffimo Lopez has some advantages over paper.
As mentioned, Lopez is the youngest of nine-year-old Lomachenko – young, but he’s very green, or at least it’s his team’s hope. There are comparisons with the 2013 fight that took Floyd Mayweather Canelo Alvarez, and while Lopez openly denies it, this is not an unreasonable thought.
Mayweather was 36 when he battled 23-year-old Canelo. Floyd was unbeaten 44-0, but he was battling a talented, strong youngster who was naturally big in body. Alvarez was more suited to the 154-pound division (actually the 152-pound catchweight) than Mayweather, but it was a big fight, and they did it.
Despite Mayweather having a majority decision-making battle, it was a clear victory for Floyd. Alvarez had a few moments, but even many of them felt like Mayweather had given up a little dull to figure things out. Alvarez and his team made a very different decision to try Mayweather, which apparently didn’t work and was never going to work. Canello is a good boxer, and has gotten everything better since appearing to Floyd, but Mayweather is a master.
If Lopez tries to think or manipulate Lobasenko outside, it is a very bad idea. He can not try to set things up, can try to provoke him, can not say that sometimes you can not try to put in the box with him, but it can not be Plan A, if for some reason it is, in fact, good plan B. And C and D may also be.
Lopez, like Canelo, has some crunch or nothing. He has boxing ability, he has arm speed, he folds his punches well, he sets things up well. But he is not going to get Lomachenko out.
Box is what he can try to do With Enough to set Lomasenko his expected great advantage: pure, source power. If he can get Lomachenko into the business, he can find a home for something bigger. Lomachenko is not a natural lightweight. He’s legally small at 135 pounds, enough to question whether he can consistently take power shots from this weighty serious puncture Lopez.
Lopez, now the No. 2 man at 135, wants the crown. He wants to be that top guy, that superstar, he wants to be the guy who dismisses a king. Personally, Lopez’s ego – a healthy thing for any fighter or any pro athlete, at least to a certain extent – is too big for him, for example, in the eighth or ninth round he can accept ‘if things go badly, beat this person and phone the rest of the fight. If he has a sense that things are urgent, I expect Lopez to put it all in order.
This is definitely a must watch boxing, must watch game, must watch TV. This kind of fit, no matter how it really turns out, is the thing that raises boxing again, only on a weekend, the “big” type that makes this game better than the others when you get all of this game over and over again now.