This coming Saturday October 17,2020, there will be a huge clash to determine Lightweight Supremacy. Vasiliy Lomachenko, the current WBO, WBA, and WBC “Franchise” champion, will take on IBF Lightweight champion, Teofimo Lopez Jr.
Lomachenko (14 -1, 10 KOs) last fought on August 31, 2019 where he claimed a unanimous decision victory over Luke Campbell. That victory saw him unify the WBO/WBA/WBC Championships. He was stripped of his WBC title shortly after, and named their “Franchise” champion. Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) picked up the IBF championship via 2nd round demolition of Richard Commey in December 2019.
This fight seems to have adopted a personal tone. Lopez Jr. as well as his father and trainer, Teofimo Sr., have been very vocal about wanting this matchup. Not only have they been requesting this matchup, they have been adamant about their ability to dethrone Lomachenko. Among the comments made, Lopez’s father told ESPN “the fight won’t last three rounds” and “When that monster hits him you are going to see a hurt dog with no legs”. If the goal of Lopez & Co. was to get under the skin of Lomachenko, it seems to be working. Speaking on the same ESPN program, Lomachenko told media “In my country, if you insult somebody, you’d better be prepared for them to hurt you. If we were back in my country, he would learn pretty quick that he can’t run his mouth like that.”
Analysis & Prediction
This fight presents a classic example of youth versus experience. Lomachenko only has 15 fights, but each and every fight has been either to claim a title, or defend it. He is also recognized as one of, if not the top for pound fighter in the sport. He is a 2x Olympic Gold Medalist, and amassed 396 amateur wins to only 1 loss, which he avenged twice. His footwork, conditioning, and IQ is some of the best the sport has ever seen.
One would theorize the inactivity would hinder the 32-year-old Lomachenko more so than it would the younger Lopez. Lopez is also a natural lightweight, campaigning at 135lb. for his entire career thus far. Lomachenko has come to the 135lb weight class, after starting his career at 126lb., then moving to 130lb. While Lomachenko has been dominant most of his career, 135lb. might be his limit. When he fought Jorge Linares in 2017, Linares was able to knock him down in the 6th round. That said, Lomachenko did ultimately get up from the knockdown and score a 10th round TKO victory. Lopez being a natural lightweight, with a good skillset might be able to utilize his size to produce similar success.
Lopez vs. Lomachenko is truly a 50/50 fight. I think Lopez will look to land something big early to see how Lomachenko will react to his punching power. He will probably look to use his size to impose his will upon Lomachenko. The longer the fight goes, I think the advantage then moves to Lomachenko. He is the more experienced fighter, and a supremely conditioned fighter. Lopez has a good skill set, while Lomachenko possesses an elite skill set. The quote, “Skills Pay the Bills” comes to mind and for my money there are very few as skilled as Vasiliy Lomachenko. My Prediction: Lomachenko by UD
Lomachenko vs. Lopez will air on ESPN. Preliminary bouts will being at 7:30p.m. EST on the ESPN+ app, with the main card beginning at 10:00pm.