Boxing stardom matches Teofimo Lopez, the person who toppled Vasiliy Lomachenko

For a person identified for emphatic post-fight celebrations, a raised handcrafted a louder assertion than the rest Teofimo Lopez has carried out within the ring.

No backflip, jersey or Heisman pose may match one of many easiest acts in boxing. Lopez defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko by unanimous decision to win three of the 4 main light-weight belts (and the WBC franchise belt), and when the light-weight’s title was introduced contained in the MGM Grand Conference Heart in Las Vegas on Saturday evening, regardless of it being void of followers and the ovation it deserved, it signaled {that a} new period within the sport had formally arrived.

Teofimo Lopez is boxing’s subsequent famous person.

He cemented that standing with a win over Lomachenko — ESPN’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter — by a transparent margin, as judges scored the combat 117-111, 119-102 and 116-112. Now, at 23 years previous, Lopez is a unified light-weight champion, and the showmanship he displayed throughout his rise within the sport has now been matched by his in-ring accomplishments.

“I am a fighter,” he mentioned within the post-fight interview on ESPN. “I gotta dig in deep. I knew he was coming. I can not give him that.”

Lopez (16-0, 13 KOs) managed the motion for the primary seven rounds till Lomachenko discovered his offense. And after faltering throughout the again finish of the combat, Lopez rallied within the twelfth spherical and answered Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) by digging deep and imposing his dimension on the previous featherweight.

Lopez did not draw back from going through one of many hardest challenges within the sport, and that end gave Lopez a reward that was nicely well worth the danger. Earlier than this weekend, Lomachenko had stopped 9 of his final 11 opponents, and was arguably boxing’s most dominant fighter. Lopez needed the problem of going through somebody akin to Lomachenko, even when it meant risking an undefeated report. Lopez cited among the sport’s historic greats who opted for that method.

“They did not care,” Lopez mentioned within the pre-fight press convention. “They simply needed to placed on a present for the followers they usually needed to point out and show (to) themselves that they’re one of the best of their division. And that is what it involves.”

By doing that, and by successful, the charismatic, marketable and affable Lopez accelerated his path into boxing superstardom and made appreciable progress down the trail of being one of many sport’s most profitable fighters.

For years, High Rank has appeared for tactics to construct Lopez’s model as he constructed the inspiration for his skilled profession. For the final two years, Lopez stole the present at Madison Sq. Backyard on the heels of the Heisman Trophy presentation on ESPN, and he delivered on each events.

Not solely did he win, together with a second-round TKO over Richard Commey for the IBF belt that arrange the Lomachenko alternative, however he celebrated the victories with backflips whereas sporting the jerseys of the Heisman winners. He knew that being a very good prizefighter meant being a terrific showman.

That held true throughout the build-up to the combat in opposition to Lomachenko. Lopez was vocal in his trash discuss forward of the bout. Whereas among the emotions of dislike could also be reliable, Lopez kind of admitted that it was the function that wanted to be performed to create some drama across the title combat.

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Teofimo Lopez breaks down his unanimous resolution victory over Vasily Lomachenko, saying he needed to dig deep if he needed to win. He additionally previews what might be subsequent for him.

“I am not making an attempt to get beneath his pores and skin,” Lopez mentioned. “I am simply being outspoken. Come that evening, he needs to take it out on me, nice. I am making an attempt to take it out on him, too. That is what makes it a very good combat. On the similar time, we’re making an attempt to advertise the rattling combat.”

With the win over Lomachenko, the mixture of Lopez’s marketability and his pugilistic craftsmanship provides him one of many highest ceilings within the sport. Others like Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia arguably have a higher fan base and title recognition, however neither of them has the kind of win that Lopez picked up this weekend, and his efficiency on Saturday may simply shut the hole when it comes to recognition and recognition.

And as Lopez continues to maneuver up in weight and chase down larger names in weight and stature over the subsequent few years, his attraction will solely enhance together with extra top-level performances. If he goes as much as junior welterweight, he may tackle Jose Ramirez or Josh Taylor, two different High Rank fighters who may maintain all 4 main 140-pound title belts early in 2021.

Identical to he wasn’t afraid to step as much as the problem of preventing Lomachenko, Lopez is not shy about taking up both man.

“I am going to have Josh Taylor within the morning,” Lopez mentioned, “after which I am going to have Jose Ramirez at evening.”

That joke summed up why Lopez has one of many brightest futures within the sport. For years, Lopez has displayed elite ranges of charisma. On Saturday, he matched that with a win over arguably one of the best boxer on this planet.

The takeover is full. And Lopez’s time on the prime is simply starting.

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