Two-plus years of bad blood between the WBC Franchise/WBO/WBA Lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko and IBF kingpin Teofimo Lopez will finally get settled on Saturday, October 17, 2020 live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The got a chance to trade verbal blows on Wednesday, as they had not been in the same room since last December 14. That was the night Lopez knocked out Richard Commey to win his world title. Shortly after that blowout, Lomachenko entered the ring and welcomed Lopez to his club.
Read on for Round By Round Boxing‘s staff predictions for this highly-anticipated clash between Lightweight champions. Let us know who you think will win this high-stakes bout.
Julio Sanchez, Photographer
R.L. Woodson, Staff Writer
Tons of ability and talent in the confident 23-year old Teofimo Lopez. His combination of timing, power, counterpunching and creativity is impressive.
I just see “The Takeover” continuing on after a brief suspension of all activities Saturday night inside The Bubble at MGM Grand.
I’m going with Vasiliy (vs. Vasyl) Lomachenko because the “I” is for IQ. The 32 year old bottles up most of Lopez’ strengths by relying on his ring IQ over the fight’s first half, and then he sees whether the kid is resilient enough to engage in a fight over the second half.
I think the well-rested Lomachenko’s competitive spirit is a bit undervalued, but it’ll be key in earning a hard-fought decision win. Expect a good mix of boxing and body work.
Michael Henken, Staff Writer
Many see this fight as being Vasiliy Lomachenko’s experience and pure boxing skill against Teofimo Lopez’s youth, aggression and power, and I can see the fight going either way.
Through 15 fights, Lopez has been unbeatable and has proved that he has the type of power that can end a fight with one shot. Against Lomachenko, I expect he’ll try to use his size advantage to find openings in which he can land heavy shots. I’m just not sure he’ll be able to do it, as he’s never fought a fighter the caliber of Lomachenko.
And if Lopez can’t land something significant early on, he may be in trouble. I expect Lomachenko to avoid the big shots before using his footwork, movement, and accuracy to break Lopez down over the course of the fight on the way to a late stoppage or decision victory.
Sean Connelly, Staff Writer
By far, the best fight that has been made during the pandemic, and the most significant one since Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder II. Teofimo Lopez (15-0 12 KOs) is very good. We KNOW that. The question is whether or not he can be great.
Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) is definitely great; his titles in three weight classes and near-perfect amateur record at the world level are proof. This fight could either be a passing of the torch or an affirmation that this is still Lomachenko’s era at Lightweight.
Much has been made of the age difference here, and it’s easy to see why. Loma is closer to 33 than 31, and Teofimo just turned 23. The idea that has been bandied about is that Lomachenko is slipping, and that Teo is the rising tide: the young, hungry lion.
In my opinion, this is a bit too much too soon for the younger man, despite the all of the bluster from him and his team. Lomachenko’s lessened recent dominance has been a function of opposition. Luke Campbell, who went the distance with Loma in the latter’s last fight was himself an Olympic gold medalist, and far rangier than either Loma or Lopez. Teofimo’s impressive victory his last time out was a statement in itself, but Richard Commey is no Campbell, and certainly no Lomachenko.
This fight will be highly entertaining for the first four to six rounds and, due to Loma’s skill and Teo’s power, will be “edge-of-your-seat” stuff throughout. However, this writer sees it playing out much like Mayweather/ Canelo. Lopez is already something special, and may just be the fighter of tomorrow, but Lomachenko is still the fighter of today at 135 pounds. Lomachenko by decision, somewhere in the neighborhood of 117-111.
Vladimir Lik, Staff Writer
This has a huge fight feel and while the betting odds are large in favor of Lomachenko I do see it much closer as Lopez can change the fight with his size and power.
The compelling part for me is will this be a repeat of Canelo-Mayweather where we knew Canelo was a budding superstar but it Mayweather who was not ready to relinquish his p4p status and was too good to beat that night. Or, stil Loma-Lopez resemble the Kostya Tszyu-Ricky Hatton fight where Hatton mauled Tszyu and made him look old and defeated before our eyes. Can Lopez bully Loma and take his soul and relieve him of his immortal status.
Loma will be the smaller man on Saturday but has the movement to negate Lopez’s reach and aggression. I see Lopez trying to assert his will I. The opening rounds not only in an attempt to end the fight but to at least make Loma feel his power and start to worry. More likely my take is Loma will feel his and power and even get hurt at times but that’s when Loma actually begins to step up and in. In both the Linares and Campbell fights it was only until his opponents started to land their shots did Loma absolutely reverse the tide and hurt them back.
I do believe Loma prevails here and the loss won’t hurt Lopez at all as I do expect him to either petition for a rematch or move to 140 and campaign there. I see a path for Loma to stop Lopez in the later rounds if Loma takes chances when he sees Lopez can’t evade his combinations but more likely both men will hear the final bell.
Joshua Diaz, Staff Writer
Teofimo Lopez is the bigger, stronger, and faster man in this fight. So it only makes sense that I think Lopez wins this fight.
I don’t believe Lomachenko can avoid the left hook, or straight right hand from Lopez all night. Lopez should be able to put down Lomachenko at least once, he may not stop him but a knockdown will be huge.
This is close to a 50/50 fight, but I see the underdog in Lopez with the “upset” on Saturday night.
Griffin Hill, Staff Writer
We all know the incredible talent Vasiliy Lomachenko is; by the end of his career he could very well be viewed as one of the best fighters ever with career accolades to match.
There’s also a peculiar collective assumption that Loma may be nearing the end of his career, but at the age of 32, I believe he’s only begun to scratch the surface of what we can expect from him for years to come.
That being said, Teofimo Lopez brings a youthful exuberance to the ring along with dazzling speed, thudding power and underrated ring IQ.
So, for the night of October 17, I am going with Lopez to get the job done in under 10 rounds (which is the current o/u line in Vegas; I’m compelled to take the under regardless of who wins) in a thrilling bout to set up an immediate rematch.
Andrew Kang, Staff Writer
Arguably the biggest fight since the pandemic started. One of boxing’s brightest stars, in Teofimo Lopez, takes on the sport’s best pound-for-pound boxer, Vasiliy Lomachenko (sorry Canelo). And all four world title belts are on the line in one of the traditional eight weight divisions: Lightweight. On paper, it does not get any better.
Lopez has a clear edge in size and power. Additionally, he is young, hungry and brimming with confidence. He also possesses fantastic hand speed of his own and solid boxing skills to go along with a his tremendous power. Whereas, at 32 years old, Lomachenko may have already peaked and is not a natural Lightweight.
But, I do not feel Lopez has had enough experience against world class opponents to prepare him to face the best boxer in the world. This fight might be a year too early for him. Lomachenko is going to feel the heat early, but his superb defense, unmatched hand speed and footwork, and huge edge in experience will be too much again for his opposition.
Both will be razor-focused and ready for war. Only one, however, is in a class by himself. Loma will frustrate and eventually breakdown Teo mentally, then physically. I like Lomachenko by clear decision victory or late rounds stoppage.
Brandon Glass, Staff Writer
I feel like Teofio Lopez is the seductive pick and understandably so. This is the biggest fight of his career and if he wins it will most likely be by KO, which would be a spectacle considering his opponent. Not only that, but it will upset the applecart by solidifying his place at the top of the Lightweight division and placing him on the pound for pound list, which he is currently not ranked by any site–including our own.
Who wouldn’t love to see it?
However, I think all this is a testament to how good Vasiliy Lomachenko is. Not that Teo isn’t, he deserves a ton of credit, but he’s not even ranked pound for pound. However Lomachenko has been an exceptional talent and that is why him losing to Teo would be a literal catapult in superstardom.
All that to say Lomachenko is 32 years old, hasn’t shown too much wear-and -tear, and I see no reason to pick against him yet. Loma will win by decision. I can see him confusing and frustrating the young Teo with technical brilliance, speed and footwork all night long.
Hans Themistode, Staff Writer
At this point, the same storylines have been regurgitated over and over again. Vasiliy Lomachenko, 32, is old. He has the experience and the skills but Teofimo Lopez is the bigger, younger, more explosive fighter. Also, his flippant attitude towards the multiple time champion will give him the edge mentally.
I’m not buying it. Lopez is a great fighter but Lomachenko is an all-time great.
Bettors have all rallied behind Lopez and his +300 odds, but after tonight, those tickets will be null and void as Lomachenko wins a decision. And it won’t be particularly close.
Alex Burgos, Editor-in-Chief
I’ve been following Teofimo Lopez for quite some time. Primarily because a good friend of mine is Honduran and he was excited when “some young American kid” was going to be representing Honduras in the Olympics. While Lopez’s Olympic run was short lived, he has arguably been the brightest star out of that whole class–regardless of country.
Flash forward a few years and the Lopez team was nice enough to invite Julio Sanchez and myself to a private gym session at Top Rank‘s gym on the eve of Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennadiy Golovkin 1. We got to chop it up with the father and son duo pre “The Takeover.” While the promo movement wasn’t in full swing at that time, they were still the loud and braggadocio combo ready to take on the entire boxing world.
The next time I saw Lopez was when he defeated Masayoshi Nakatani for the IBF’s No. 1 contender spot, setting up an opportunity to face Richard Commey. Speaking with Lopez after the fight, I laughed and admitted to him that it was incredible that all that big talk and planning they had laid out from the outset of his career was seemingly coming true. They’ve had a plan, followed through on it and here we are on the eve of possibly the biggest fight of 2020.
I like the kid and I believe that his style is really exciting to watch. I believe that regardless of the outcome of his fight against Vasiliy Lomachenko, Teo has to be given credit for taking this fight at this point in his career. In fewer fights, Lopez is challenging himself more than Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney and Gervonta Davis have up to this point in their careers.
Having said all of that, I have to go with Vasiliy Lomachenko. There’s something about his aura, the stoned-cold killer look he gave Lopez on stage during their Wednesday presser, and of course his dazzling skills.
Lomachenko is a calculated killer, and he’ll be ready for anything that Lopez throws his way (including his freakish power). I believe Lopez will be overly excited early on in the fight and while he looks to land a big right, Loma will use that energy against him. I expect Loma to use a steady dose of angles and body work to tire Lopez and score a mid-to-late rounds stoppage.