WBO and WBA lightweight world titleholder and WBC “franchise” champion Vasiliy Lomachenko faces IBF world champ Teofimo Lopez Jr. for a unification fight at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas on Saturday. Here’s a complete preview, including updated boxing odds and our betting pick.
Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez
Saturday, October 17, 2020 – 08:05 PM EDT at MGM Grand Conference Center
Why This Is a Grudge Match
As reported by Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated, the feud between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez stems from an incident in which Lopez’s father and trainer, Teofimo Lopez Sr., confronted Lomachenko last year.
Teofimo Lopez was fighting on the undercard of Lomachenko’s headline bout against Jose Pedraza and his father and him were not thrilled with their “secondary” positioning in relation to Lomachenko.
Lopez Sr. even confronted Lomachenko that day and told him that his son would steal the show in the event and that one day he would steal his titles. Lomachenko recently shared his thoughts about what happened.
“Back home, if you said something or insult somebody, you can get hit and get into a fistfight right in the street and nothing is going to happen. Here in the States, it's a completely different law. Back home, people don't run their mouth like this because they know they'll have to answer for it somehow,” Lomachenko said during a Zoom media call last week.
Lomachenko had almost 400 fights as an amateur and he has 14 wins in his first 15 bouts as a professional. The Ukrainian is a former featherweight and super featherweight and he became the fastest three-weight world champion in history after beating Jorge Linares on May 12th, 2018 at Madison Square Garden, as a lightweight.
The 32-year old won gold at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing as a Featherweight and at the 2012 Olympic Games in London as a Lightweight and he added the WBO World Light Title by defeating Jose Pedraza on December 8th, 2018 at Madison Square Garden. He then defended his titles easily in a fourth-round knockout of Anthony Crolla on April 12th in Los Angeles and winning a unanimous decision against Luke Campbell on August 31st, 2019 at the O2 Arena in London.
“I've heard this a lot of times from a lot of boxers,” Lomachenko said. “Then you come in the ring and you forgot about your words and your promise. You try boxing, you try fighting (but it doesn't work). For me, it's just trash talk, it's just words. We'll see what happens in the ring.”
- Born: February 17th, 1988
- Age: 32
- Country: Ukraine
- Division: Lightweight
- Stance: Southpaw
- Height: 5’7″
- Reach: 65½″
- Bouts: 15
- Rounds: 131
- Record: 14-1 (10 KOs)
- 66.67 KO percentage
Teofimo Lopez has a chance to cement his status as an elite boxer. Right now he is an exciting, young champion, coming off a TKO win in the second round against Richard Commey in just his 15th pro fight. Dethroning Commey for the IBF strap in two rounds was impressive, considering how durable his opponent usually was.
Lopez has been calling for a showdown with Lomachenko for a while and he believes he can defeat him. The 23-year-old is a gifted performer that has it all: technique, speed, size
“I'm not trying to get under his skin, I'm just being outspoken. Come that night, if he wants to take it out on me, great, I'm trying to take it out on him too,” said Lopez. “I can't wait to put hands on this man. I'm sorry Bob (Arum), I know that's your guy, but he ain't gonna be your guy after this.”
- Born: July 30th, 1997
- Age: 23
- Country: United States
- Division: Lightweight
- Stance: Orthodox
- Height: 5’8″
- Bouts: 15
- Rounds: 60
- Record: 15-0 (12 KOs)
- 80.0 KO percentage
Lomachenko has the same number of bouts as Lopez but, at a much higher level, with nine of his opponents being former, current
This is the fight of the year. We have two of the best lightweights in the world: a proven champion and a young challenger looking for more gold. The play I like is the Over. Both fighters will be tested and this will be a war from start to finish. I see it going the distance.