By Sean Jones
Robert Garcia says Teofimo Lopez has the punching power and the talent to hurt Vasiliy Lomachenko if he lands one of his shots. Garcia is giving Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) a great chance of beating Lomachenko, who is starting to take increasingly more punishment with each fight.
Lomachenko and Teofimo will be fighting on May 30 in New York on ESPN. The fight rumored to be taking place at Madison Square Garden. Staging the fight in New York will Teofimo a big advantage, as he’s from there and he’s got a big fan base. But as we’ve seen from Lomachenko recently, he’s not afraid to fight in his opponent’s backyard as the visiting fighter.
Robert believes that the shots that have been doing damage to the face of the 32-year-old Lomachenko in his last 3 out of his last 4 fights could result in him getting knocked out with the powerful Teofimo throwing them. Lomachenko looked worn out after his fights against Jose Pedraza, Luke Campbell, and Jorge Linares.
Lomachenko has taken punishment at 135
Although Loma won all three of those fights, he took the kind of punishment that he hadn’t taken before in his career. Even in Lomachenko’s loss to Orlando Salido in 2014, he didn’t get marked up around the face like he did in his fights with Pedraza, Campbell, and Linares.
Lomachenko wants to move back down in weight to 130 if/when he unifies the 135-lb division by beating Lopez. Loma may not like what he finds down there.
The reason Lomachenko is getting marked up at 135 isn’t because of the fact that he’s facing slightly bigger guys. It’s because he’s getting older, and getting hit more because of his diminishing reflexes. Now he’s about to face the young powerhouse Teofimo, and it could go badly for him.
The kind of shots that Lomachenko is getting hit with now is a clear sign that age is starting to rear its ugly head with hm. It’ll be interesting to see whether Lomachenko will be able to hang in there against the young lion Teofimo on May 30.
Teofimo Lopez has a GREAT chance against Lomachenko
“He has what it takes. I still believe Lomachenko wins by decision, but I do believe he has what it takes,” said Robert Garcia to Fino Boxing. “He’s confident, he’s a world champion, so that gave him a little more confidence,” said Garcia on Teofimo. “He’s got power, he’s got skills. I think he does have a great chance.
“I think Loma is a little bit better to win a decision, but if you look at all Loma’s fights, he got dropped by Linares. Most of the fights he’s had against so and so and a few Peurto Ricans that he’s fought, he got hit. He does get tagged up,” said Robert.
Lopez does have a great chance of unseating WBA/WBC [F]/WBO lightweight champion Lomachenko in this fight. The youth, power, and strength of Teofimo gives him a better than average shot at winning the fight. Moreover, Lopez has a bigger frame than Lomachenko, and he’s more of a light welterweight than he is a lightweight.
Lopez is still able to make the 135-lb limit due to his youth, but he’s arguably a 140-pounder, who drains down to campaign at lightweight. The older fighters like Lomachenko can’t do that. If he fights out of his weight class by draining down to compete at 126, he would be weakened, and likely ineffective at this point in his career.
He’s older now and his body won’t let him do that. After this fight with Teofimo, Lomachenko is going to try and reinvent himself at super-featherweight. Don’t be surprised if Lomachenko struggles in that weight class now, and isn’t the same fighter he was when he fought in that division in 2016 and 2017.
Teofimo could hurt Lomachenko
“He comes out with bruises on his face, so he does get hit,” said Robert about Lomachenko. “Teofimo is much stronger than those guys. If Teofimo lands the right punch, Teofimo could hurt him and finish him. Can he? I think he can, but I still pick Loma. I like Teofimo…but it might be a little too soon for the Loma fight,” Garcia said.
I’m saying it right now: If Lopez lands the same right hand on Lomachenko that he knocked out Richard Commey with, he’ll stop him. Lomachenko is an excellent fighter with great boxing skills and amazing talent, but he’s human. He can be hurt just like anyone, and Teofimo has the kind of power that nullifies his opponent’s skills.
With Lopez, if he hits Lomachenko with 50 to 100 power shots similar to the one that he knocked Commey out with, he’s going to stop him. That’s Lomachenko’s entire problem. He’s not a baseball pitcher capable of throwing a no-hitter. Lomachenko has defensive skills, but not’s not going to be able to keep Teofimo from landing at least 40 huge shots during the fight.
Can Lomachenko take getting hit HARD 40+ times during the fight by Teofimo? I don’t know if he can. Even if Lomachenko can handle getting hit that much, he’s going to be there to be beaten in the championship rounds between 9 and 12. For this reason, Lomachenko will be vulnerable in the later rounds against Lopez and possibly even punch drunk by that point in the fight. When that happens, it might just take one big shot from Teofimo to knock him cleanout.
It would be wise for Lopez to make sure that he directs some of his punches to the body of Lomachenko because he’s good at dodging headshots.
Lomachenko can win another title at 130
“Even though after that, Loma might come down to 130, and he’ll get another title,” Robert said. “He’ll be champion again. I have no doubt he’ll be a champion and a great one. One loss isn’t going to do much to him. He can still come back and be a superstar that he is,” said Garcia on Lomachenko being good enough to capture a world title at 130.
There’s no doubt that Lomachenko will have a soft landing when he returns to the super featherweight division, seeing that his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank will likely match him up against WBO champion Jamel Herring.
That’s a very winnable fight for Lomachenko, as he won’t need to worry about getting punched up like he will against Teofimo. Herring isn’t a puncher, and it would a simple case of Loma outboxing him to win an easy decision.
Where Lomachenko will have problems in going back down to 130 is if Arum chooses to match him against WBC champion Miguel Berchelt, who can punch as well as box. It’s not likely that Arum will make a fight between Lomachenko and Berchelt because there would be too much for him to lose in making that fight. Arum promotes both fighters.
Lomachenko getting old
The fight won’t bring in a lot of money given that Berchelt isn’t a big name in the U.S. To be sure, Berchelt has loads of talent and is arguably the best fighter at 130 now, but he’s not well known with casual boxing fans. With that said, if Arum matches Lomachenko against Berchelt, he’ll be cutting off one of his revenue streams, and he won’t have anything to show for it.
As such, Lomachenko will be fighting soft guys largely at 130, but he’ll still take the punishment because he’s aging. He’s an old 32, and you can argue that his true age is closer to 38. You don’t get too finesse level fighters that are still competing at a high level at that age, unfortunately.