There has been a lot of anticipation building up for one of the most exciting fights on the upcoming calendar: Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez. What makes this fight so intriguing to fans is that the undefeated Lopez is bigger, stronger, talks trash, and has a crazy highlight reel of knockout punches and backflips. Many believe that these traits give the up and coming star the edge to be victorious against the smaller tactician in Lomachenko.
While Lopez is one of the most promising young stars in the game, and he has the potential of having a great career, my prediction is that Lomachenko will win by a competitive but convincing Unanimous Decision, or quite possibly by a late round TKO stoppage.
Here are the reasons why:
1) Lopez’ game is tied too much to his power.
Power in boxing can be a blessing and a curse. As we’ve seen throughout Deontay Wilder’s career, he’s been able to erase losing scorecards with just the extension of his right arm. His power has been like a fire extinguisher in a box, “break in case of emergency.” However, as we saw in his most recent bout against Tyson Fury, there comes a day when you can’t access the “fire extinguisher,” so you better have other options. Unfortunately for Wilder, he’s a one-trick pony who had nothing else to work with.
Like Wilder’s last bout, I don’t think that Lopez will be able to rely on his knockout power to be victorious against the highly skilled Lomachenko, who is constantly using lateral movement to get around his opponents, causing them to be off-balance. If Lopez is unable to plant his feet, his power punches will not have the force he is used to punching with and this part of his game will become a moot point.
2) Lopez hasn’t been in a match where he’s been hit often.
According to BoxRec, Lopez has only had 31 amateur fights with a record of 24 and 7. Not only that but this will only be his 16th professional fight. Throughout his short career, he has not been on the receiving end of many punches, especially not the kind of barrage that Lomacheno is capable of bringing against any opponent.
My concern for Lopez is that he will not be experienced enough to know how to deal with the constant punches that will be coming at him. Naturally, he will want to use his power to help him escape but once again, chances are that his 1-punch knockout power will be out of play.
And that leads to my final analysis of why Lomachenko will win.
3) He’s only gone 12-rounds once in his career.
Many of us have watched Lopez’ win against Nakatani. While he won by a convincing margin, most would agree that he did not show the pedigree that it takes to compete at the highest level. Perhaps it was Nakatani’s skill and size that offset Lopez, but it would be a mistake to dismiss that his stamina took a hit as the rounds went on.
If you consider the constant movement and punches that Lomachenko brings, Lopez will likely get tired. By rounds 6-8, I predict that the gas tank will lower significantly, making him a much lesser threat in the later rounds.
So far, it seems that I’m giving Lopez no shot to win. Not so, I just find it unlikely. He still has a chance to catch Vasiliy with that one punch that will knock him out. But let’s be for real, it’s probably not going to happen.
If Lopez wants to win, I think he needs to do 2 things.
1) DO NOT EVEN THINK about outboxing him.
We all witnessed Canelo’s mistake in trying to outbox Mayweather. In hindsight, he should have tried to maul him and use his size because his skills paled in comparison to Money’s. Similarly, Lopez has to realize that boxing Loma is not an option. While he possesses amazing athletic ability, he’s just not better than Lomachenko… not even close. This is not a knock on Teofimo, since even most of the biggest names aren’t on this level.
So, instead of trying to outskill Loma, what option does Lopez have?
2) Take a page out of Linares’/Salido’s books.
These two fighters have given Lomachenko his most difficult fights. Salido did so by being rough and dirty to the body and balls *ouch*. Linares did so by using his speed and power to attack Loma’s body.
Like these two fighters, Teofimo will need to make this a rugged fight where he’s constantly attacking the abs and ribs of Lomachenko. He will have to put himself at risk to hopefully slow him down enough to start laying down heavier damage as the fight goes on.
Even if he is successful in putting damage to the body, he will still have to be fairly flawless.
I recognize in a boxing match that anything can happen. But if things play out as they should, I believe we will see Lomachenko unify all of the belts at 135 on the evening of Oct. 17.