The much-anticipated battle between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez Jr. to unify light-weight world titles is as evenly matched as a battle may be and really tough to foretell. Lomachenko is the older, extra skilled fighter, having amassed a file of 396-1 as an beginner, and profitable world titles in three divisions in 15 professional fights.
Lopez is among the most fun fighters in boxing. The 23-year-old has energy, charisma and the boldness to turn out to be the game’s subsequent celebrity. However does he have what it takes to beat Lomachenko, who’s acknowledged as ESPN’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter on this planet?
We spoke to some of Lomachenko’s previous opponents to see what labored — and what did not — in opposition to some of the technically sound fighters on this planet.
Once I was making ready to battle him, I knew that Lomachenko was a really good fighter. We knew we needed to make him uncomfortable, not let him suppose, and be on high of him to make him a great battle — and that is what occurred that evening.
I deliberate to be there, at all times by his aspect, throwing punches, not letting him suppose, not letting him act, as a result of we knew he was a fighter with many weapons.
I did not watch any movies of him earlier than the battle. I’m not used to watching movies, as a result of perhaps it scares me. Higher to see how the battle performs out within the ring. We ready to improvise relying on what he did.
I didn’t really feel his energy throughout the battle, however his punches to the physique have been brutal. Within the final two rounds he received me with two hooks to the liver that made me bend over. I actually felt them.
Lomachenko has been far superior to all of the opponents he has confronted to date. No one needs to battle him as a result of they know the way tough and the way good he’s. He strikes very effectively, he has pace of arms and legs, he’s clever.
Once I fought him, I received on high of him, attempting to not give him distance and never let him suppose. In case you let him suppose, he begins along with his aspect steps, his actions, his left-handed guard, and that makes him very harmful.
I wished the rematch, however they did not wish to pay. I used to be prepared to provide him an opportunity for revenge, however I wished to promote my defeat, I wished to receives a commission. Once we fought the primary time, he was a phenomenon, a terrific fighter and he made like 5 occasions greater than me.
Prediction: I believe Lomachenko wins, both by choice or KO. Lomachenko is a greater fighter, he has extra mobility, he is aware of how you can benefit from your timing to keep away from punches and he has many variations to his recreation.
Jose Pedraza: misplaced to Lomachenko by UD on Dec. 8, 2018
Vasiliy Lomachenko brings José Pedraza to a knee twice within the 11th spherical, however Pedraza survives for a choice.
Lomachenko is certainly a boxer with a really excessive IQ. He adapts to every opponent model. In the course of a battle, for those who change your technique, which is what I did — I did not use a single model, I used many methods — each time I noticed that he dominated me, I modified methods and he tailored instantly. As well as, he at all times is available in in an unimaginable bodily situation that helps him do these lateral actions makes him an much more tough boxer.
He’s very affected person. In his battle with Jorge Linares, on the time Lomachenko was despatched to the canvas, he was a bit determined, that is what he left himself open. However the knockdown helped him in a manner — he calmed down a bit and returned to his rhythm of constant to press and ready for the best moments, and by doing that, he managed to win the battle.
That makes him a really difficult fighter to face. He’s very affected person and really clever.
“In dropping, we gained so much. I didn’t have the victory, however we gained loads of respect from my followers and his as effectively.”
Jose Pedraza on preventing Vasiliy Lomachenko
About lateral actions — it’s a must to have the bodily situation that he has, or higher, to do what he does, to maintain up with him. If he does these lateral actions, you progress laterally as effectively, which is principally what I did. Whereas I fought him, I saved him at a distance. I additionally saved transferring round in order to not be a simple goal, as a result of he finds it very simple, along with his lateral actions and his pace, to catch fighters who don’t transfer, who keep planted on their ft. That is what I did, I moved and turned, and I did that effectively in loads of rounds.
If I needed to battle Lomachenko once more, I might do the identical factor I did in my first battle, however I might be a bit of extra aggressive. Mainly I used to be boxing, utilizing loads of distance, I did not let him get near me as a result of that is his battle plan, utilizing his lateral actions so much and dealing the physique. That’s what we didn’t wish to let him do. However I wish to be extra aggressive, throw extra punches. I threw many punches within the first battle, however I would throw extra when he’s coming nearer. If he manages to scale back the space, I wish to throw stronger punches, be extra aggressive, to get him out of rhythm and transfer him away.
Lomachenko is certainly an influence puncher, however he does not use that energy all through the battle, he makes use of it at acceptable occasions. With me, and with different boxers, he did not throw that many energy punches, however he’s breaking you down little by little. He retains his rhythm and places extra stress on you, and when he finds the best second, he throws his robust blows. And the place does he throw his heavy punches? To the physique. And that works in Rounds 9, 10, 11 and 12 the place you’re most drained, and a robust blow to the physique is devastating.
I used to be not annoyed within the battle with Lomachenko. However that is one other issue that makes Lomachenko higher than his opponents. Other than tiring them, he frustrates you, as a result of he retains throwing punches, and also you wait and see the best distance, throw your punches and they do not get to the touch him. You are getting punched after which if you wish to throw yours, you possibly can’t discover him — that is irritating.
Once I educated to battle Lomachenko, I did not wish to fall into that frustration, get caught in his recreation. I simply wished to be effectively centered and mentally robust and observe the plan to the letter. Thank God we didn’t get annoyed and we achieved one thing. In dropping, we gained so much. I didn’t have the victory, however we gained loads of respect from my followers and his as effectively. Many Lomachenko followers and boxing commentators and media members congratulated me for the great work I did in that battle.
Prediction: Teofimo is an excellent fighter, there isn’t any doubt about that. He is a fighter with loads of expertise, loads of power. He’s very explosive and Lomachenko undoubtedly has to maintain himself. However I perceive that if Teofimo does not do something within the first 5 or 6 rounds [a KO or knockdowns], he is not going to do something from there on. I see Lomachenko profitable by choice. And be careful for a knockout if he does a great job irritating Teofimo, carrying him down little by little after which throwing his energy punches. If Lopez does not knock him out within the first 5 or 6 rounds, I do not suppose he’ll obtain something from there on.
What was so tough was attempting to get the best sparring. We needed to get a spread of sparring companions in, there can be three sparring companions to attempt to do issues Lomachenko does effectively between them. But it surely’s close to inconceivable to get somebody who’s like Lomachenko.
I do not suppose anybody has nearly as good ft as him in boxing. He is so onerous to learn with the photographs he likes to throw. He is a really distinctive fighter. I want I might have taken the battle to him extra fairly than attempt to field him, however we did not anticipate him to return out so aggressive. You attempt to cowl all bases, however he is so versatile.
He is a whole fighter. I used to be stunned by just a few issues after I fought him. He wasn’t the largest single puncher I’ve confronted, or the largest puncher I’ve confronted, however he’ll gown energy up by touching photographs after which whip in a shot onerous. He was economical with punches and the space was nice, he would see me fall brief and make me pay.
I bear in mind years earlier than I fought Lomachenko, Russ Anber, who wraps Lomachenko’s arms, advised me he was the perfect he had seen. He stated he sees strikes, three or 4 strikes earlier than they occur and that is what got here to my head after I was on the ground face down. It got here again to me what Russ stated. He sees issues occurring earlier than you do.
He clothes up the strikes and thinks forward, he is the perfect I have been in with. He was simply going by means of the gears and I had no say in what he was doing.
Prediction: I believe Lopez is the actual deal. Prime Rank has performed a terrific job with him, however I simply do not consider he is the person to beat Lomachenko. He has riled Lomachenko a bit [with his comments in the build up of the fight] and Lomachenko would possibly come out a bit extra aggressive due to it, which could permit Lopez to land photographs. Lopez is a world-class puncher as we noticed in opposition to Richard Commey, however I see Lomachenko breaking him up, hurting him to the physique, carrying him down and stopping him in eight or 9 rounds.
Vasiliy Lomachenko and Luke Campbell change heavy blows in an electrical seventh spherical of their championship bout.
I did not really feel like there was an enormous distinction in there in opposition to Lomachenko, and loads of the rounds have been shut. He would nick it with a 15-second burst on the finish of the spherical. There have been just a few he gained convincingly, however there have been just a few rounds I felt I gained too.
I’ve watched Lomachenko since I used to be 15 years outdated and he was destroying all people, chinning individuals when he was an beginner with headgear, greater gloves and in three rounds. He used to field within the weight division above me, so preventing greater guys has by no means been an issue for him.
I’ve seen the press saying Lopez is simply too huge and highly effective, however aside from catching Commey with a great shot and placing him out early, I really feel a few of the press are making Lopez out to be an enormous monster who destroys all people, and that Lomachenko does not belong within the weight class. However I do not consider it.
Lopez can solely win by knocking out Lomachenko — however I can not see it occurring. Do not get me flawed, I actually like Lopez and his dad, I did just a few rounds of sparring with him in Miami just a few years in the past, and I hope he wins. However I believe will probably be very onerous for him and I do not suppose he’ll.
I am the one one in Lomachenko’s current fights the place he has not been in a position to be relentless proper the best way by means of fights, and I am greater than Lopez.
Prediction: Lomachenko will break him down the best way he breaks down everybody along with his agility, motion and boxing IQ. He is the perfect physique puncher I’ve ever seen and he appears to get extra relentless because the battle goes on. I am huge for the burden so I used to be in a position to nullify him a bit. Lopez is brief and if he stays within the pocket, he’ll play into Lomachenko’s arms.
Vasiliy Lomachenko toys with Miguel Marriaga and knocks him down twice en path to a seventh-round TKO victory.
Once we have been notified of the battle with Lomachenko, we traveled from Colombia to Mexico Metropolis to organize. We centered extra on the waist actions as a result of we knew that Lomachenko is a superb fighter who throws loads of punches and we wished to make him miss, and that confirmed within the battle. We received to the battle in nice situation, however I used to be preventing at a weight that was not mine (130 kilos) — I at all times fought at 126. That distinction in weight helped him — I might really feel the ability of Lomachenko.
Lomachenko is a counter-puncher, fairly robust. I used to be transferring backward as we deliberate, so when he counterattacked, I might catch him. I even swelled his proper cheekbone. That tactic labored for me in opposition to Lomachenko for just a few rounds. However the weight distinction was key for him.
The blows to the physique — I felt them so much. He did not hit me a lot within the face as a result of I used to be slippery, transferring my waist and head and I made him miss. He did not land his highly effective blows to the face, however I did really feel the blows to the physique.
His actions and turns didn’t shock me. We knew that if we stayed standing in entrance of him, he would benefit from it, flip to the best aspect and throwed blows. That is simple for him, however as I moved backward, he was by no means at a proper distance and we made it tough for him. That annoyed him a bit and at one level he referred to as me to the nook to go battle him there and I obliged, in order to not be left with the need, but it surely was not a terrific thought. It’s best to maintain your distance from Lomachenko in order that he can’t counterattack. Lomachenko is among the finest fighters on this planet.
To beat Lomachenko it’s a must to make him miss and hit him again and hit him onerous, as a result of one factor is to throw blows and one other to land them. Lomachenko may be very elusive, he strikes so much. However it’s a must to hit him onerous to remove the pace he has.
Prediction: Teofimo is a superb boxer, and he has some expertise, good approach and he’s an excellent energy puncher. That is going to be key, his energy. However Lomachenko has far more expertise on the beginner degree and though he has solely 15 fights as an expert, he has discovered so much, has loads of stamina, throws loads of punches, may be very elusive and may be very quick. I believe Lomachenko goes to beat Teofimo. Lopez is an excellent fighter and the battle can go to a choice, however I believe Lomachenko wins by KO within the ninth spherical.