Pound-for-pound No.1 Vasiliy Lomachenko and young rival Teofimo Lopez expect vastly different fights in Saturday’s fascinating undisputed lightweight title clash at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The old master and young lion will collide to decide lightweight supremacy as two years of bad blood will finally be settled in the ring. Lomachenko is the understandable favourite, but there is a sneaking feeling that the explosive Lopez could be a superstar in waiting.

The great Ukrainian hasn’t fought since flooring and handily outpointing Luke Campbell in London in August 2019 and doesn’t quite know how that break will affect him. 

“I won’t know until Saturday night. I have never been out of the ring for one full year like this. Ever. I don’t know how it will be,” admitted WBA Super, WBO and WBC ‘Franchise’ champion Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) at a socially distanced, pre-fight press conference.

“I think it’s just a ring and judges and TV. That’s it. And, of course, four belts. I’m thinking only about my future fight and the fight on Saturday. That’s it. For me, I think it will be a chess match.”

The super-confident Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) sees an entirely different night altogether. He feels this is his moment to seize control of the lightweight division and ‘take over’ boxing. Bold words, but if he can back them up on Saturday there will be few disbelievers. 

“Hard work pays off. Eighteen years in and it’s just the beginning, You haven’t seen anything yet,” said IBF champion Lopez, who won that crown by blitzing Richard Commey in two last December. “The Takeover is not just a phrase we throw out there. This is the part where I’m leading the new generation. Winning this is a stamp and a mark to put on for the new era.

“Get your popcorn ready and just enjoy the show. It’s The Takeover.

“A true champion can adapt to everything. It goes for both of us. He fought in arenas sold out. I fought in arenas sold out. My job and my thing are having all of these belts wrapped around me.”

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.