It has been nearly 14 months since Vasyl Lomachenko has been inside the competitive boxing ring.
When asked, he said this was the longest break he has had in between any of his fights, amateur or professional.
He has never taken a full 365 off from competition before but 2020, of course, is a roll with the punches kind of year.
It has been a fight for me. 2020 couldn’t have started any better swimming with whale sharks and sea turtles while island-hopping around the Philippines. COVID hit and things went dark for me, emotionally and then they got a little bit worse. I had a very difficult summer with my father’s health complications but he has recovered and soon after that, I took the next step in my professional writing career. Now both my mother and father used this as a wake-up call and are living much healthier lives. 2020 is still far from over and the biggest decision is yet to be made but I will tell you this: You never really learn who you are until something you hold the closest is taken away from you. I learned that this year at the age of 38 and I believe both the 23-year old Teofimo Lopez and Vasyl Lomachenko at 32 learned even more about themselves in 2020.
Teofimo Lopez’s last fight was in December when he shocked the world by knocking out Richard Commey in just the second round winning his first legit world title, the IBF Lightweight World Title.
I’m sure he was on top of the world for a couple of months.
That’s where this gets interesting. We all went through something real over the quarantine/lockdown, something that changed us.
Maybe a close relationship changed.
I believe I thought about my father because both Teofimo Lopez and Vasyl Lonachenko have been trained by their fathers their entire lives.
Our relationship was probably at its weakest right before he had a stroke, and it’s been really strong over the years, and it was like a savior.
If I wasn’t locked down, I would have been in Thailand having to scramble home to see him.
I’m not sure but what I have picked up on is that Teo and his father went through something similar but in the opposite order.
Lopez and his father celebrated the big win for a while and then when it was time to keep up their rhythm and get back into camp, the world stopped turning.
Sorry, Alan Jackson, you’re my boy but I think COVID-19 is a little bigger than 9/11.
The vaccines haven’t even started yet…
When Teo Jr and Sr couldn’t get right back in there, the relationship may have taken a turn.
I don’t worry about Teo too much as he is as locked in as any other athlete in the world but Sr is a wild one.
Listening to Teofimo Lopez Sr speak, I get it, he loves his son and he, of course, couldn’t be any more proud but he has poured 100% of himself into his boy becoming a world champion and possibly an all-time great in the sport of boxing.
I know who Teofimo Lopez is inside the ring for the most part. We can quickly learn all we need to know by watching a few of his fights.
His physical abilities are top notch and they match up so well with his opponent’s skill set.
What I am rambling on about and trying to get to is the mental and emotional maturity of Teofimo Lopez.
I don’t doubt that he is light years ahead of 99% of other 23-year olds running around but that still doesn’t put him up there with someone like Vasyl, who is arguably the pound for pound best boxer in the world at 32 with over 400 fights.
When I listen to Teo speak, I can tell he has higher than average intelligence and I think he has heart for days.
That heart can get out of hand, though.
More on that in a minute.
Let’s look at the tale of the tape for these two Lightweight World Champions.
Tale of the Tape
|Vasyl Lomachenko||Teofimo Lopez|
|Pro Record: 14-1||Pro Record: 15-0|
|Height: 5’7”||Height: 5’8”|
|Reach: 65.5”||Reach: 68.5|
|Born: Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Ukraine||Born: Brooklyn, New York|
|Gym: Team Loma||Gym: Team Lopez|
It’s pretty cool that they both have 15 professional fights but the age gap is, of course, the most glaring statistic.
So glaring, I didn’t want to hurt your eyes.
That’s why it isn’t listed…
32 for Vasyl and 23 for Teo.
That is a big difference but you could consider this an advantage for the Ukrainian.
32 is about as far as I would go with that if we are talking a 9-year gap.
Vasyl has about 400 ammy fights and Teo has 200.
Lomachenko fought at a higher level and has higher accolades.
I was listening to the legendary boxing trainer Teddy Atlas give his take and he said it’s not just about a fighter’s age. You gotta look at the mileage.
There are people out there saying that Vasyl Lomachenko might be slowing down just a hair.
I watched the Luke Campbell fight but the Brit is a very long guy who wasn’t really concerned with winning.
It appeared that after he realized he didn’t have much for The Matrix, Luke halfway packed it in.
He is a very lengthy guy who had 6 inches of reach on Loma.
It’s hard to look great against a guy like that.
Let’s dig a little deeper, though.
We can buy the narrative that Loma is starting to slow down…
Or we can formulate our own theory.
I think Vasyl was starting to get bored.
Collecting belts is fun, I guess, but when you have to fight 5 or more guys who aren’t on your level to get all the belts…
You see where I’m going with this.
It happened to Anderson Silva in the UFC.
- He got bored at 38, though, and paid for it.
- Loma got bored at 30-31. He is good enough to get by.
That may not be the complete truth anymore, though, or at least this weekend at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
I believe that Teofimo Lopez Sr talking all that trash to Loma saying my son is gonna knock you out etc may not have affected Vasyl very much at the time but signing the fight is another story.
Teo Jr and Sr would have been better served to come in here not talking too much but you gotta be yourself.
That’s like telling Joe Frazier to be Ali and vice versa.
I think they missed their opportunity to catch Loma still bored.
Too late now, though, guys.
This might be like Canelo Alvarez vs Floyd Mayweather.
Floyd was very smart to catch Canelo early in his career and Vasyl Lomachenko might be low-key making a very smart move this year against Teo.
23 years and 2 months Alvarez was when he received the one and only loss in over 50 professional boxing fights.
Teo’s age this weekend, 23 years and 2 months…
We have seen Loma dropped by Linares who I think doesn’t have the power and definitely doesn’t have the speed of Lopez.
If Teo drops him, I don’t think Loma will be able to recover so easily.
I’m not sure if he will, though.
We know the story on paper. You can take a shot on Teo getting the KO/TKO and it will pay quite well.
I have nothing against that at all, really.
That denotes an implied probability of 15%.
If you think it’s a 1/5 or a ¼ chance of happening, then go for it.
What scares me the most about Teofimo Lopez is that he has one punch knockout power in both hands.
Here we go again with the physicals.
This fight is likely going to come down to emotions.
We have seen next to zero emotion from the Ukrainian, Lomachenko throughout his professional boxing career.
He expects to win so why would he get overly excited when he does.
Also, he doesn’t get rattled when things don’t go his way.
What about Teo?
Well, we haven’t really seen things not go his way in there.
He is 15-0 and never been knocked down.
You have two different kinds of fighters.
He wasn’t the only one of Vasyl’s victims who chose this path to losing.
Could Teofimo Lopez as confident as he is really quit?
His extreme confidence is the reason he could quit.
I said there were two types of fighters.
The other kind of fighter is the Luke Campbell’s of the world. I talked about how he fought Loma a bit ago.
He gave it the old college try for a couple of rounds then it was okay, let’s just get by.
Those guys are less likely to break because they have something to fall back on. They already kinda knew they were probably gonna lose.
- Teofimo doesn’t have that in him.
- He is a born fighter but Vasyl Lomachenko is, undoubtedly, one of a kind.
If I would have told you before the fight that Rigondeaux was going to quit on his stool, would you believe me?
“That guy has two Olympic Gold Medals, man!”
The betting odds for this fight are right where they opened up according to proboxingodds.com
You can take a stab on that Teo by TKO prop for (+545).
That isn’t bad but I believe that Lopez is too young and too emotional.
He has made his high emotions work for him in the past and he naturally will try to do the same thing if and when his meter gets high whether it be from success or failure as the fight plays out.
Maybe Lopez doesn’t quit on the stool and it’s very possible he makes it to the scorecards but that’s just not how he fights.
If Loma gains control and keeps it for several rounds, Lopez won’t pack it in mentally and try to get to the scorecards.
He is the type of guy to leave it all out there.
His dad isn’t a calming voice, either, and not the type to tell his son to try to make it to the scorecards.
Loma is (-110) for a decision win.
That sounds pretty sweet with the betting line at almost even money but I don’t think Lopez lets it go 12 rounds.
Take Vasyl Lomachenko to win by stoppage for (+260) over at 5dimes.eu .
Not many sportsbooks are offering this opportunity, only 3 that I can see right now.
Biggest fight of the year!
I can’t wait for this one and it is going to be on ESPN for free!
The UFC is starting and finishing up early from Fight Island to stay out of the way of Vasyl Lomachenko vs Teofimo Lopez.
His opponent on Saturday night on the Las Vegas Strip, Teofimo Lopez, is a star rising that could be rising too quickly.
Hopefully, the shutdown helped the man grow but I have a bad feeling it did irreversible harm to the relationship between his father/coach, Teofimo Lopez Sr.
Hearing Jr speak about how their relationship has been damaged lately really worries me.
With that speculation aside, I don’t believe that Teo is quite ready for Loma.
And I think that Teo has such a strong belief in himself as well as a kill or be killed mentality, that he will eventually get frustrated, probably sometime in rounds 7-10 or so, and push all of his chips to the middle of the table.
Checkmate, Team Loma.