IBF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) is confident he could beat his opponent, reigning WBA/WBC/WBO lightweight champion Vasily Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs), when the two boxers will face each other inside the ring on October 17, 2020. Lopez thought of himself as the bigger guy of the two, as well as the one who can give Lomachenko the second but most devastating loss of his boxing career.
Their Oct. 17 fight, right now, could easily pass as the biggest and most exciting event on the boxing calendar, at least for this year. And while Lopez says he respects Lomachenko’s ambition, he doesn’t respect the man behind the champion’s name. He even went on to say that Lomachenko was simply too small for him at 135 pounds and that this fight is a great opportunity for him to send the Ukrainian star back at 130 pounds.
“Him and I are both going for glory, we are trying to make a legacy, trying to build our legacy, and we hang up our gloves, we want to be satisfied that we have left our footprints in this world,” says Lopez in an interview with Scott Van Pelt in SportsCenter.
“That’s all I can take my hat off to him about, but when it comes to us being in the ring, I don’t like him, he don’t like me, and I don’t respect him. I’m sorry, I don’t respect him. That’s just what it comes to. I’m a hungry fighter, he’s a hungry fighter as well, and it’s going to be a great fight. But I’m younger, I’m smarter, and we’re going to see on Oct. 17.”
Many boxing analysts believe that Lomachenko is not an easy fight for Lopez and, in fact, are convinced that the Ukrainian boxing champion may be Lopez’s toughest test yet. It would be a great opportunity for Lomachenko, too, given his high-level boxing skills, to show how a good little man like him can get the job done against a younger, hungrier, bigger, faster, knockout artist in the person of 23-year-old Lopez.
But can Lopez’s confidence and physical advantages be enough to beat Lomachenko? How will fighting against a very experienced and very skilled fighter in Lomachenko turn out for him? How will his power shots find their marks on the body of the man nicknamed “The Matrix”?
Trainer Ben Davison, in an interview, shares his thoughts on how Lopez should fight Lomachenko. He points out that Lopez should never let Lomachenko dictate the fight. “Yeah, I think that’s how he should approach it. He has to be full of confidence and he has to make sure he never give Lomachenko a chance to dictate,” says Davison.
“He has to be physical there and try to be the aggressor. I think if he allows Lomachenko to dictate the pace and flow, it suddenly becomes a very difficult night for him.” So the fighting strategy is clear for Lopez to follow, based on Davison’s advice, that the only way he can keep Lomachenko from dictating the pace is to go after him early and not let him get comfortable.
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