Teofimo Lopez Jr. upsets Vasiliy Lomachenko to claim undisputed lightweight crown in masterful performance
Lopez took it to a pound-for-pound great over 12 rounds to win all four recognized belts at 135 pounds
For nearly two years, to anyone willing to hear it, Teofimo Lopez Jr. and his father/trainer have said the 23-year-old brash slugger was ready to take over the sport. It turns out they were right.
Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) held off a furious rally from pound-for-pound ranked Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) to score an upset victory by unanimous decision on Saturday to unify all four lightweight titles inside the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. Lopez, the IBF titleholder, unified the WBA, WBO and WBC titles from Lomachenko.
The judges scored it 116-112, 119-109 and 117-113 for Lopez, a native of Brooklyn, New York. CBS Sports also had it for Lopez, 116-112.
"All it is, it's 'The Takeover,'" Lopez said, referencing both his nickname and common catchphrase. "It's time for the new generation to come up and it's time for me to lead the way for everybody."
Although it was expected that Lopez's lone shot at victory would come through a knockout, the biggest upset on this night was that he largely outboxed the best pure boxer in the world in Lomachenko to get the victory.
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Despite the gap in experience coming in, Lopez's speed and pinpoint accuracy forced the 32-year-old Lomachenko into a shell that he didn't come out of until the second half of the fight. Although Lomachenko's defense was on point throughout, the former two-time Olympic gold medalist looked rusty following a 14-month layoff and felt enough of Lopez's power early to prevent him from coming forward when the younger fighter was fresh.
"I have to thank God. I had to dig deep," Lopez said. "I'm thankful, I'm grateful and each and every day I take that in. I walk by faith for a reason and it feels good."
Lopez outlanded Lomachenko by a margin of 183 to 141, according to CompuBox. He also did well to hold off a late surge from Lomachenko as it was obvious that Lopez was visibly tiring.
"Honestly, it was just to keep pressuring him, that's all you have to do. Use the jab and never give him the opportunity to set up," Lopez said. "Every time he wanted to throw, I had something for him to break his momentum. He was coming off a 14-month layoff and I knew it was going to take him a long time to catch up."
Although a dejected Lomachenko left the ring immediately after the decision was read, he connected on 45% of his power punches overall and became the aggressor in the final five rounds of the fight. Lomachenko appeared on his way to winning the final round by getting off first with clean combinations until Lopez hurt him with a left hook and continued to pile on power shots of his own until the final bell.
"I'm a fighter, I've got to dig in deep. I can't give him that," Lopez said of the final round. "I don't know if they have him close on the scorecards or not. I love to fight and I can bang, too. I don't care. I'll take one to give one and that's what a true champion does. I'll find a way to come out and win."
Lopez became the first fighter in the four-belt era to become an undisputed champion at lightweight. With his body still growing, he wasn't sure after the fight exactly where he might go next. "Take me to 140 or I could go fight Devin Haney if they want that," Lopez said.
Elsewhere on the card, Edgar Berlanga showed why he also may be the future -- just in the super middleweight division. The 23-year-old Brooklyn native scored his 15th consecutive first-round knockout in his 15th pro fight with a dismantling of Lanell Bellows. He hasn't so much as broken a sweat in his pro debut that began just four years ago. Plus, Arnold Barboza outpointed Alex Saucedo in a brawl over 1,600 punches thrown in 10 rounds of action.
CBS Sports was with you throughout the entire way on Saturday, so. be sure to follow along with the live results and highlights below.
Lomachenko vs. Lopez card, results
- Teofimo Lopez Jr. (c) def. Vasiliy Lomachenko via unanimous decision (116-112, 119-109, 117-111)
- Arnold Barboza Jr. def. Alex Saucedo via unanimous decision (96-93, 97-92, 97-92)
- Edgar Berlanga def. Lanell Bellows via first-round TKO
Lomachenko vs. Lopez scorecard, live coverage
Scorecards: 116-112, 119-109 and 117-111 for Teofimo Lopez Jr. It's a unanimous decision. What an upset.
We head to the scorecards in Las Vegas. Great rally from Lomachenko but this feels like an upset.
I've got it 116-112 for Lopez.
R12: Big power surge late for Lopez is enough to steal the round, 10-9 (Overall 116-112 Lopez).
R12: Time is called after an accidental head butt causes a cut on Lopez's right eye. Blood is spilling as the ringside doctor comes in yet there is only 10 seconds left in the round.
R12: Big left hook from Lopez! Another one. Loma might be hurt.
R12: They trade jabs as the action heats up. Both guys are tired. Lead left hand from Lomachenko and a right hook inside. Another two-punch combo from Loma.
R12: Leaping lead jabs from Loma are hitting. Nice right hand from Lopez to gain back some respect. A flurry from Lomachenko splits the guard.
R12: Loma getting the better of the action on the inside as the busier fighter. Nice counter shot from Lopez.
ROUND 12: Right hand from Loma to start. He needs at least a knockdown on my card to pull even but you never know what the judges have.
R11: Give another round to Lomachenko with educated pressure 10-9 (Overall 106-103 Lopez).
R11: Loma ducks a hook and lands a counter jab. Nice left cross to the body from Lomachenko. This is turning into an interesting rally.
R11: Lomachenko is all over him with quick punches and he's doing it from the pocket. Nice counter jab from Lopez and a body shot.
R11: Stiff jabs now for Lomachenko as it looks like Lopez is fading.
ROUND 11: Loma is getting off first with jabs and power shots. He ducks counter fire and lands again. The veteran is heating up.
R10: Another round for Lomachenko, 10-9 (Overall 97-93 Lopez).
R10: Time is called as Loma gets hit on the belt line with a right hand. It was ruled low.
R10: Nice right to the body from Lopez. Loma answers with a short flurry and some quick jabs.