The Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez Jr. light-weight title unification battle on Saturday began off as a yawner.
Lopez was in management within the first half of the 12-round battle in Las Vegas, with Lomachenko exhibiting little signal of mounting an assault. That modified within the seventh spherical, and all of the sudden followers had the battle they have been hoping for.
Lomachenko, ranked No. 1 in ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings, threw blistering photographs the remainder of the way in which and appeared to make the battle a detailed name. His rally wasn’t sufficient, nevertheless, and Lopez walked away with all 4 main 135-pound titles and surefire superstardom forward of him. Now the query is: Was the joy of the ultimate six rounds motive sufficient for followers to desire a rematch?
Talking of must-see, Edgar Berlanga prolonged his first-round knockout streak to a whopping 15 on Saturday. He completed Lanell Bellows at 1:19 of Spherical 1, marking the primary time the veteran had been stopped in 29 professional fights.
Now 15-0 to start out his profession, Berlanga can begin occupied with higher-profile fights. May a title shot be in retailer for him within the close to future?
Once you discuss high-profile, there aren’t many fights larger than trilogies that includes Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennadiy Golovkin and Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder. However each matchups have key components that should be labored out. Will both bout happen?
ESPN boxing specialists Ben Child, Steve Kim, Nick Parkinson and Cameron Wolfe focus on what’s actual and what’s not actual regarding these subjects and extra.
Actual or not: Lomachenko-Lopez can have a rematch subsequent.
Child: Not actual. Lopez instantly shot down any notion of a Lomachenko rematch.
“For what?” Lopez stated in his post-fight information convention. “I beat him, and I did the whole lot that I needed to do to beat him.”
Lopez went so far as to say that there was no rematch clause within the contract for Saturday’s battle, and Prime Rank as a substitute instructed him what purses will appear like for different fights after Lomachenko, which to Lopez steered that the promoter did not plan on his successful.
Except for any potential politics, Saturday’s battle illustrated why a rematch does not make a lot sense. Earlier than they stepped into the ring, Lopez was eyeing a transfer to the 140-pound division, which fits him higher than light-weight. In the meantime, Lomachenko has not been almost as dominant since he turned a light-weight, and he struggled to cope with Lopez’s dimension and energy early within the battle. If Prime Rank needed to place Lopez and Lomachenko within the ring once more, there is a good likelihood that the battle would appear like it did within the first six rounds: a snoozer that was salvaged with an thrilling end.
Then there’s the side of Lopez’s profession trajectory. He wanted the Lomachenko matchup to show his legitimacy as a worthy champion. Now that he has that, the perfect strategy for him to proceed his path to superstardom could possibly be to face youthful champions with comparable identify recognition.
“Out with the outdated, in with the brand new,” Lopez stated.
Actual or not: Edgar Berlanga is prepared for a title shot in 2021.
Edgar Berlanga KO’s Lanell Bellows for the fifteenth first-round knockout of his profession.
Wolfe: Not actual. Berlanga has not confronted stiff sufficient competitors to be thrown right into a title bout, however he is actually able to face extra revered contenders. His first-round KO streak has been lots of enjoyable, and it’s serving to him earn a bigger fan base, notably amongst informal sports activities followers. Hopefully in 2021 we are going to see him towards worthy opponents. Then possibly 2022 could possibly be the 12 months that he circles a title shot.
A couple of worthy opponents I might like to see Berlanga face in 2021: Badou Jack, Caleb Truax and Anthony Dirrell. They’d assist him get rounds and exhibit his expertise past energy.
Actual or not: Oleksandr Usyk will win a heavyweight title in 2021.
Parkinson: Actual. This is dependent upon whether or not the WBO will agree for obligatory challenger Usyk to attend for the end result of a conflict between rivals Anthony Joshua (WBA, IBF and WBO champion) and Tyson Fury (WBC champion), which is the hope and plan for each boxers and their promoters. The plan can also be for Fury-Joshua to occur twice subsequent 12 months, and it appears unlikely that the WBO would put its obligatory protection obligations versus Usyk on ice till 2022.
What’s extra doubtless is that Joshua relinquishes the WBO belt to make the Fury battle. If AJ delays preventing Fury to face Usyk, that places the money-spinning Fury battle in jeopardy.
Promoters/broadcasters would like to go straight to AJ-Fury subsequent 12 months, reasonably than doing Fury-Deontay Wilder III and AJ-Usyk.
Except he has an off evening like his good buddy and coaching accomplice Vasiliy Lomachenko had final weekend, Usyk’s motion, velocity and boxing IQ will see him beat any of these within the WBO’s prime 10 subsequent 12 months to say a world heavyweight title. Different heavyweights are larger and extra highly effective, however they aren’t as intelligent or cellular and usually are not as skilled as Usyk.
Relying how Usyk progresses over the following 12 months after stepping up from cruiserweight, the Ukrainian may emerge as an actual menace to Fury, AJ and Wilder in ruling the heavyweight division.
Actual or not: Roman Gonzalez/Juan Francisco Estrada is the perfect junior bantamweight in boxing.
Kim: Given the truth that Estrada is the consensus No. 1 fighter at 115 and the truth that Gonzalez is coming off a robust outing towards Kal Yafai, there’s an argument to be made that whoever wins their showdown in early 2021 is the perfect fighter within the division.
Though Estrada is at the moment rated atop the division by ESPN, Gonzalez has a victory over him. That got here in 2012 at junior flyweight, so it won’t have a lot which means because it pertains to this dialogue. Nevertheless, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai actually has an argument. He has break up two fights with Estrada and has two victories on the official document towards “Chocolatito.” However to be sincere, his latest performances have been missing.
Here is how this needs to be settled: After Estrada and Gonzalez battle it out subsequent 12 months, the winner faces Sor Rungvisai.
Actual or not: Canelo-GGG 3 will occur earlier than Fury-Wilder 3.
Kim: I don’t know. This is dependent upon the authorized state of affairs because it pertains to Canelo Alvarez with DAZN and Golden Boy Promotions. If that is not settled, nicely, chances are high that he’ll sit for some time (and it seems to be like he will not battle in any respect in 2020). Gennadiy Golovkin will almost certainly fulfill his IBF obligatory in late November. Then he’ll look ahead to his long-awaited third chapter with Canelo, supplied he is not sidelined.
As for Fury-Wilder III, ought to Fury face Anthony Joshua within the spring, as deliberate, Fury-Wilder III almost certainly would not happen till the second half of subsequent 12 months.
Actually, it is a toss-up as to which battle occurs first.