LAS VEGAS — Teofimo Lopez was brash sufficient to problem Vasiliy Lomachenko, and ok to beat him.
Lopez dominated early and completed robust Saturday night time to win a unanimous 12-round choice over Lomachenko to unify the light-weight titles in a struggle he demanded though some thought he wasn’t skilled sufficient.
Lopez took benefit of a sluggish begin by Lomachenko to construct up an early lead, then completed the struggle with a giant twelfth spherical that left Lomachenko bloodied and crushed on the scorecards. The 23-year-old from Brooklyn turned the unified light-weight champion and managed to do what few in boxing thought he might do — outbox maybe the most effective technician in boxing.
Lopez (16-0) added the three titles held by Lomachenko (15-2) to the belt he gained final 12 months to develop into the undisputed 135-champion.
Lopez was favored 119-109, 117-111 and 116-112 on ringside scorecards in a bout held with out followers on the MGM Grand convention heart. The Related Press had Lopez successful 117-111.
Lopez proved sooner and stronger than the 32-year-old Lomachenko, who gained two Olympic gold medals as an novice and was thought to be one of many prime pound-for-pound fighters as a professional. Surprisingly sufficient, he was additionally the higher boxer and proved he might shut the present by bloodying Lomachenko’s eye within the twelfth spherical.
“I needed to dig deep, man,”’ Lopez stated. “I’m a fighter, I’ve bought to dig in deep.”
Lomachenko, ordinarily a sluggish starter, was too sluggish this time as he gave away rounds early as he tried to determine the fashion of Lopez. By the point the struggle bought aggressive within the eighth spherical he was too far behind to come back again.
“He’s been in a 14-month layoff,”’ Lopez stated. “I knew it was going to take him a very long time to catch up.”
Lomachenko, who misplaced solely as soon as in almost 400 novice fights and had just one loss as a professional, thought he did higher than the scorecards indicated.
“Undoubtedly I’m not agreeing with the scorecards,”’ he stated.
The struggle was the largest for the reason that pandemic started and would have been a pay-per-view occasion in regular occasions. However with no followers it was televised on ESPN, offering boxing with an even bigger showcase than it will have gotten in any other case.
Lomachenko was a 4-1 favourite however appeared rusty early as he tried to resolve the fashion of Lopez. He threw punches solely sparingly the primary half of the struggle, touchdown simply 31 punches within the first seven rounds, earlier than lastly choosing up the tempo within the eighth spherical.
“I believe the primary half of the struggle he bought extra rounds than I did however within the second half of the struggle I took over,” Lomachenko stated. “I used to be a lot better.”
Punch statistics confirmed Lopez landed 183 of 659 punches whereas Lomachenko was credited with 141 of 321. Within the twelfth spherical Lopez outlanded Lomachenko 50 to 19 and opened up a reduce that despatched blood flowing down his face and prompted referee Russell Mora to cease the struggle with 10 seconds left to have the ring physician have a look at it earlier than resuming.
Lopez was instructed by his father within the nook earlier than the twelfth spherical that he was forward and to not danger something. However he got here out robust and beat Lomachenko to the punch.
“I didn’t know if they’d him up on the scorecards or not,” Lopez stated.
Lopez did his trademark backflip within the ring after the unanimous choice was introduced.
Lopez turned the youngest fighter to develop into a four-belt champion in solely his second title struggle. He had sought the struggle in opposition to Lomachenko, angering the Ukrainian along with his brash techniques.
“I like to struggle and I can bang too.,” Lopez stated. “That’s what a real champion does, I’m going on the market and discover a solution to win.”