Teofimo ‘El Brooklyn’ Lopez 16-0 (12) claimed the undisputed lightweight world championship with a 12-round unanimous decision win over Vasiliy Lomachenko 14-2 (10) at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.
The 23-year-old Lopez, who entered the fight as the IBF titleholder, had the better of the early action with WBA and WBO champion Lomachenko boxing off the backfoot and showing little in the way of offence.
The 32-year-old Ukrainian southpaw isn’t known for his fast starts, but he was so slow out of the blocks this time that all three judges gave Lopez the first seven frames. CompuBox had Lopez out-throwing and outlanding in each of those rounds.
Lomachenko got going in the eighth and continued to work hard until the final bell, but the early deficit proved insurmountable.
If the plan was to take Lopez into deep waters and drown him, it seems the waters were not deep enough.
When the final bell rang judge Tim Cheatham had the fight 116-112 while judge Steve Weisfeld saw it 117-111. Judge Julie Lederman awarded Lomachenko just one round – the 11th – with her card of 119-109.
“I’ve got to thank God, and this is for my boy who passed away earlier this year, two days before Kobe passed away,” Lopez said.
“I had to dig deep man. I’m thankful, I’m grateful and each and every day I take that in. I thank God first because I couldn’t do it without him. I walk by faith for a reason. And it feels good.
“I’m a fighter. I gotta dig in deep. I knew he was coming. I didn’t know if they had him up on the scorecards or not and I love to fight. I can bang, too. I don’t care, man. I’ll take one to give one. That’s what a true champion does. I find a way to win.
“You just gotta keep pressuring him, press the gas, stick the jab and don’t really give him that opportunity to set up. Every time he did want to throw, I had something ready for him.
“Man take me to 140. Or I could fight the two-time email world champion Devin Haney if they want that!”
Lopez indicated the fight was easy for him but admitted the long layoff between fights for Lomachenko probably helped him.
“All you’ve got to do is not give him the opportunity to set up and when he did want to throw, I had something for him,” he said.
“On top of that he had a 14-month layoff and I knew it was going to take a while for him to catch up.”
Lomachenko was less than pleased with the result.
“Definitely I am not agreeing with the scorecards,”‘ he said.
“I think the first half of the fight he got more rounds than I did but in the second half of the fight I took over.
“I was much better.”
In the main support bout junior welterweight Arnold Barboza Jr 25-0 (10) outpointed former world title challenger Alex Saucedo 30-2 (19) over 10 by scores of 97-92, 97-92 and 96-93.