Who is Teofimo Lopez and Can He Defeat Vasyl Lomachenko?

Boxing Lopez Vs Lomachenko

I watched the first episode of TopRank/ESPN Blood Sweat and Tears: Lomachenko vs Lopez.

The narrator ended with a monologue and these were the first two sentences.

“In boxing, while supreme confidence can be a gift, talk only goes so far. And inside the ring, years of sweat equity can vanish in an instant.”

Most 23 year old Lightweight boxers of today put Vasyl Lomachenko on a pedestal.

That simply isn’t the case with Teofimo Lopez.

The Brooklyn-born rising star has more confidence than Jon Jones and Khabib Nurmagomedov combined or at least it appears that way.

The only person more confident on planet earth, it looks like, is the fighter’s father, Lopez Sr.

Like his opponent this Saturday night in the Mojave desert, Vasyl Lomachenko, Teofimo Lopez was and is trained by his father.

Many of the greats were.

Floyd Money Mayweather is another Jr who turned out to be pretty darn special.

Of course, Vasyl is special. There has never been anyone like him before and he is near the top of the pound for pound list today.

As intricate and complicated as his style is, we are still more familiar with Loma than Lopez.

Who is that guy?

He got my attention with his most recent win, an early TKO of Richard Commey.

I wanted to talk about this guy a bit today so we can get to know him this fight week.

The biggest boxing fight of the year is between these two men this Saturday night at my favorite place to watch a fight, the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

You can have the T-Mobile Arena.

I love the idea and the atmosphere of a massive crowd but I have to hear it.

I’m such an auditory learner, it doesn’t make sense.

It’s how I learned Muay Thai, just like a musical instrument by feel and sound.

Follow that and the power will come.

You can be rail thin like me with wittle Trump hands but get a good teacher and when you’re on your own, follow that formula and feel your power grow.

I came up fighting and cornering guys in high school gyms, rec centers, and boy scout headquarters.

  • You could not only see everything but hear it, feel it, and even smell the action.
  • There wasn’t a bad seat in the house.
  • Our sport has, of course, grown tremendously and I am very happy with where we are today.
  • It’s just not worth it to me to sit in the nosebleeds and watch a couple of quiet ants battle.

What would be the ultimate experience other than sitting cage side with my favorite fighters would be watching a fight live on my own big screen with surround sound but with the commentators muted.

They’re great at what they do but we could all do without them.

At least, I could.

I see it in MMA more than boxing but commentators can be quite biased in the moment.

They just end up centering their calling of the fight around one guy or girl. It’s not on purpose, I don’t believe.

Apologies for the rant but the commenters can really screw me up when I’m trying to break down a fight or enjoy a live one, for that matter.

The same goes for you guys. If you’re breaking down an old fight, you want the volume so you can hear the shots landing but do your best to disregard the commentary.

Let’s get back to Teofimo Lopez.

Who is this kid and what makes him and his father’s belief in his abilities so strong?

We will try to answer that the best way we can today but you’re going to have to tune into the fight on Saturday night if you want the 100% truth.

Teofimo Lopez

Born in the borough of Brooklyn, New York to Honduran immigrants, Teofimo Lopez Jr has been training in the sweet science under the tutelage of his father Teofimo Sr since the age of 6. It shows too!

That boy can hit as well!

He hasn’t even got his grown man strength yet.

What separates Teofimo Lopez Jr from a lot of other power punchers in boxing is that he has the precision and timing to match his power and speed.

After all, Conor McGregor taught us that precision beats power and timing beats speed.

With all due respect to Teofimo Lopez, though, it’s very difficult to rate anyone’s timing or precision better than that of The Matrix himself.

Teofimo fought for the Honduran team in the 2016 Olympics.

Why didn’t he fight for the American team?

Well, he won the Olympic Trials but could only qualify as an alternate to the guy who lost in the quarterfinals of the Trails.

Makes sense. Balderas, who was the lone Lightweight rep in the Olympics for the U.S. that year has previously won a tournament that qualified him for the spot.

Lopez knew the best he could do was be a backup but he went through with it and won anyway.

Teo lost to the eventual Silver Medalist and finished his amateur career up with a record of 150-20.

That really goes to show you how high the level is in boxing. You had better have one heck of a pedigree.

Vasyl Lomachenko was 396-1 as an ammy!

That is a lot of fights, man!

Look at the difference in MMA since many of the most talented fighters have just a couple of amateur fights and then they are pros.

It’s not that boxing has anything that mixed martial arts doesn’t.

Well, other than time.

Time is the biggest reason why the levels are so much more pronounced even among the professionals.

MMA will get there but it will be a while.

Teo wasted no time after the Olympics and signed with Top Rank Boxing in October of 2016.

After rattling off several impressive wins over weaker competition, Teofimo, who was now 12-0 faced off against Honduran fighter, Diego Magdaleno.

He knocked him out brutally in the 7th round.

After another win, he fought long and lean Japanese star ranked 1 spot above him at the time in the IBF Lightweight rankings and he won a unanimous decision.

Next was the champion from Ghana, Richard Commey.

Lopez landed a clean one as Commey was throwing a right hand of his own and after a strong hearted showing from Commey to stand again even with rubber legs, Teo poured it on for the TKO win.

That was at the age of 22 at The Mecca, Madison Square Garden in his hometown for a world title.

I would have really liked to have seen this fight go into the later rounds but it is what it is.

The kid is for real.

Is he Loma Level, Though?

We have to remember that Vasyl Lomachenko is not a natural Lightweight fighter.

The Lightweight limit in boxing is 135 pounds.

Vasyl started his professional career at Flyweight or 126 pounds.

His first professional fight was for a Flyweight world title and his next two matches were no different except that he lost his second fight.

I guess that’s the kind of respect you have at 0-0 when your amateur career was as spectacular as it was.

He won the Junior Lightweight world title at MSG and after defending the belt a few more times including making Cuban Olympian Guillermo Rigondauex quit on his stool out of sheer frustration, Vasyl was about to receive his biggest test to date.

  • Jorge Linares, the Lightweight and Super Lightweight World Champion.
  • Jorge was the much bigger man in there and he dropped Loma in that fight.
  • Vasyl went on to TKO the Venezuelan star in the 10th securing a world title belt in his third weight class.

Yes, he won the Super Lightweight (140) belt from Linares as well but he really shouldn’t have because the fight took place at 135 pounds.

In my humble opinion, you shouldn’t lose a belt if the fight isn’t at that weight but boxing breaks enough “rules” with all their different sanctioning bodies and weight classes.

Loma has been collecting belts ever since. That’s all he does, really. Most of his fights are for at least one world title.

That will probably be the case until he retires.

Can Teo beat him?

He absolutely can!

I don’t think it will be Saturday, though.

Lomachenko won’t likely be going up too many more weight classes.

I think 135 will be the limit besides we have some serious talent working their way up the Lightweight ladder including The Money Team’s Gervonta Tank Davis and the speedy Ryan Garcia.

Tank is fighting next weekend. We will have that one covered for you as well.

Ryan is fighting in late November I believe.

Linares has a ton of power but I don’t think his boxing is as sharp nor does he possess one punch power in both hands as Lopez does.

Teofimo is a big underdog this week and he will probably lose a hard fought decision or TKO to Loma.

That doesn’t mean he is done, though! The kid just turned 23 in late July.

Right now, he is just a little too flat-footed for my taste, especially in a fight against Vasyl Lomachenko.

Teo has put people to sleep with both his left hook and his right hand.

This is a southpaw vs orthodox matchup for as long as The Matrix decides to stay lefty.

The fluidity of his “stance” is something of storybooks. I believe that will be the difference in this fight.

Teo will go back to the drawing board and in 3 years, when Loma is 35 and he is 26, watch out!

In Conclusion

I know you guys probably wanted a pick out of me.

I pick Lomachenko but his odds aren’t exactly affordable.

Teo is tough and Loma has a hard time putting away 126 and 130-pound fighters away with power so you would imagine he could hang tough for a decision.

  • Linares was TKO’ed by Loma but he now has 5 TKO losses on his record.
  • Teofimo Lopez Jr doesn’t exactly fight like he wants to impress the judges, though.

He wants to impress pops and the fans at home with a highlight knockout.

If Teo Jr and Sr can come into this fight with a legit game plan to catch Vasyl on the chin on one of his fancy exits, they could very well do so.

Loma has said that Lopez gets lucky.

I don’t know if I buy that but we will see on Saturday night – and maybe we can get lucky too!


Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.

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