A seventh-round stoppage was the result of a successful debut for Teofimo Lopez in the super lightweight division last night.
The 25-year-old returned after nine months out of the ring to take on Mexico’s Pedro Campa.
Held at the Resorts World, Las Vegas the 10-round main event was the ideal comeback for the former lightweight champion.
After suffering his first career loss to George Kambosos Jr in November last year Lopez chose to leave behind the weight struggle at 135lbs for a healthier and more manageable 140. And against Campa it was evident that Lopez was solid and sturdier.
His opponent had been fighting at the 10-stone limit for the majority of his career and proved that the power of Lopez, often too much for opponents to handle at 9st 9lbs, may not have the same effect when he takes on fighters equal to himself.
Throughout the fight Campa proved to be tougher than a two-dollar steak as he ploughed forward regardless of what was thrown at him.
In the early stages Lopez was sharp, switched on and his jab lasered in on his Mexican target. The speed difference was highlighted throughout the contest. At times Campa could not see what was coming at him which was the exact opposite for Lopez.
The punch selection of the heavy betting favourite displayed a natural confidence from Lopez who had fun during the fight. A variety of shots from hooks to uppercuts drew crowd appreciation as did his superior upper body movement off the ropes which would then set up stinging attacks.
However, it began to look like a long night at the office when Campa was still standing after a difficult first few rounds. The underdog grew confidence himself when he started tagging Lopez which invariably came when the Top Rank star chose to engage in tight spaces.
Occasionally Lopez punches took a walk on the wild side, the type that landed him in trouble against Kambosos, but Campa never possessed the ability or tactics to punish the infrequent mistakes.
Lopez seemed surprised at times that Campa marched on, eyes swollen, choosing to walk through the artillery that exploded in front of him. He and his team perhaps didn’t expect the fight to reach the second half and therefore had to slow the pace down. Lopez knew he was the superior fighter and could catch Campa with shots in first gear or fifth.
A slight reset proved to be a smart move for the Brooklyn fighter. Thirty seconds into the seventh round Lopez threw an unorthodox upward jab that was followed by a relaxed left hand. The result was Campa down on his backside. Campa showed experience to take his time though and get back up.
A minute and a half later the now stalking Lopez stepped in with an uppercut from either hand. The smell of victory was in the air. ‘The Takeover’ was about to take his 17th career win. Shots from either side move Campa left and right. An accumulation of shots from the rounds previous had taken their toll and referee Tony Weeks had seen enough stepping to save the weary Mexican with forty seconds remaining.
Lopez celebrated with dance moves and his signature backflip. There was happiness and relief from the crowd pleaser who later revealed that his next fight will be an ESPN pay-per-view on December 10 at Madison Square Garden.
Watch fight highlights and victory celebrations below courtesy of Top Rank Boxing:
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) August 14, 2022