Former and current pro boxers have given their breakdown of the upcoming lightweight unification bout between Vasiliy Lomachenko 14-1 (10) and Teofimo Lopez 15-0 (12).
WBA and WBO champion Lomachenko will meet IBF counterpart Lopez at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.
Retired former world champion Roy Jones Jr believes Lomachenko will win but the 32-yar-old Ukrainian southpaw won’t have it all his own way.
“Teofimo Lopez has the kind of explosive power that Lomachenko has issues with in taking it to the chin,” said Jones Jr to FightHub. “So we’ll have to see what Lomachenko can go into his bag and get to make himself deal with that explosiveness from Teofimo Lopez.
“He’s going to show why he is one of the top three of the pound-for-pound fighters today because he’s got to use every trick in the book to get past Lopez.”
Former two-time welterweight world champion Shawn Porter agreed.
“I think Lopez is explosive, he’s fast and shape, but I don’t think he’s seen all of it in the ring I don’t think he’s biting off more than he can chew, but I don’t think he’s ready for a fighter like Lomachenko,” said Porter.
“But he’s young, he’s vibrant and he’s ready and that’s a dangerous combination. Loma, I think we know what we’re going to get with him. Lomachenko is going to come out, find his rhythm, figure out what’s going to work, and use it. So I don’t think the fight is more complex for Teofimo than it is for Lomachenko.
Porter added that a Lopez win wouldn’t entirely surprise him.
“I do think he’s good,” he said. “Shakur Stevenson is literally right behind him, not far off at all. They’re both very polished. There’s something about Teo. This fight against Lomachenko, I do like this fight up and down. I think it’s going to be a great fight.”
Former three-weight world champion Jorge Linares, who was stopped in the 10th round of a close fight against Lomachenko in May 2018, sees it as a competitive matchup too.
“I think it’s a very dangerous fight for Lomachenko because Teofimo has power, he’s a very difficult guy, difficult style, but come on, Teofimo is not like me,” said Jorge Linares. “Teofimo isn’t fast like me, he doesn’t have speed like me.
“He doesn’t have this too [brains]. He’s more of a hungry guy, and he wants to try and kill him. That’s it. So it’s not an easy fight for Lopez too because Lomachenko is a very smart guy, and very fast.”
Three-weight world champion Leo Santa Cruz says it’s hard to split the pair.
“I see it as a 50-50 fight,” Santa Cruz said. “The only difference is, Teofimo is stronger, he’s more natural at that weight, he looks bigger, and I think if he catches Lomachenko, he could hurt and knock him out.
“Lomachenko is a great, skilled fighter. He’s really fast and if he doesn’t get caught and he throws his combinations, I think he can beat Teofimo by a decision. So it’s going to be a really, really good contest and I want to see it already to see how it goes.”
Meanwhile, leading welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz Jr gives the edge to Lomachenko.
“I think Lomachenko has a little bit too much experience, but Teofimo doesn’t lack for experience. He was an alternate [in the Olympics],” said Ortiz Jr.
“He’s strong, he’s fast and he’s smart. I feel that Teofimo is going to try and take it to him, and Lomachenko is pretty good. He does that bull ring thing.”