Saturday’s undisputed lightweight title showdown between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez has captured the imagination of the boxing world.
For the last six years, Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) has seemed virtually unbeatable and breezed past all-comers en route to becoming a three-weight world champion. But the 32-year-old isn’t a genuine lightweight and won’t have benefited from a 14-month absence from the ring.
Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) is a huge, hungry and powerful 135-pounder with talent to burn and chilling power. His two-round decimation of the stout Richard Commey last December illustrated that his credentials are very real.
So, who wins? Boxing Social’s intrepid band of writers and soothsayers look ahead to a potentially explosive encounter and try to predict the outcome.
This is Lomachenko’s biggest test since facing Gary Russell Jr. in June 2014. The Ukrainian is masterful as we know, but he is campaigning out of his natural weight class. He’s better suited as a 130-pounder so a huge, hungry and heavy-handed Lopez brings significant threat. Does Lomachenko have great moments left in his career? Most definitely. He’s not done yet. Lomachenko will rise from the canvas and score a competitive but clear win on the scorecards. The pound-for-pound king will remain on the throne. – Mark Butcher.
Everything we’ve seen from Teofimo Lopez suggests he’s a special, unique talent. Against anybody else in the division, I’d fancy him to win emphatically. But Lomachenko isn’t “anyone”, and I think he puts on a boxing clinic to win by a handful of points. – Craig Scott.
At some point, Lomachenko’s reflexes will dull sufficiently for him to be beaten – if he hasn’t retired first. However, the Ukrainian maestro will find his way past Lopez on points, in what I expect to be a thrilling encounter in which both men may hit the deck. – Luke G. Williams.
Top Rank are amongst the best in the business at getting their future stars the right fights at the right time. Despite the fact that Bob Arum promotes both men, a Lopez win would be a lot more lucrative for him. These calculated risks rarely back fire for them. The reason they’ve made the fight is clear: Lomachenko isn’t a natural lightweight. Lopez’s combination of power and timing could well be the undoing of the great Ukrainian. – John A. MacDonald.
While fully aware of the threat posed Teofimo Lopez, particularly early in the fight, I feel that we will see the absolute best of Vasiliy Lomachenko on Saturday. His crowning moment as a professional. I think the fight will be nip-and-tuck for a couple of rounds, but see Lomachenko‘s body-punching being the difference, with him taking control somewhere around four or five, en route to wearing Lopez down for a late stoppage somewhere in the championship rounds. – Rob Tebbutt.
Even though I think Teofimo Lopez is an incredible talent who will go on to do great things in boxing, it’s incredibly difficult to go against a Lomachenko victory. Lopez will have his moments of success, but Loma will make the right adjustments to make this a comfortable points victory. – Shane Dyer.
I’ve loved Lopez’s attitude throughout the build-up to this one, and I fully expect that same power that destroyed Richard Commey to buzz Lomachenko. Ultimately, though, his experience and intelligence will see him through some difficult moments and he’ll pull ahead in the championship rounds. But both men will leave with credit. – Phil Rogers.
If Lopez was British we would all be utterly convinced he would dethrone Lomachenko. He has talked the perfect game; backed up by his Dad and some memorable promotional content from Top Rank. The size and power aided by superb hand speed, crisp jabs and ruthless body shots would be enough to put most if not all lightweights away in 2020. Lomachenko is a cut above Lopez and the rest. We all know about the reflexes, the angles, the hand speed and his own power which can be overlooked but everyone is exaggerating how close Lopez is to Lomachenko in terms of ability. We are not just dealing with one of the best fighters of this century we are watching one of the best of all-time. Lopez has to be perfect, disciplined and accurate. If not he will be exposed by a man who has had a fuse lit by his opponent. Lopez will have his moments, I think he may even put the Ukrainian down but I truly believe Lopez is going to run out of ideas and discipline sooner than his fans might think and Lomachenko will then pick him apart en route to a unanimous decision win – once again cementing his place as one of the all-time greats. – Shaun Brown
OUTCOME: Lomachenko 7, Lopez 1.
Main image: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.