By Godfrey Falcon: You could say that Teofimo Lopez (14-0) won the fight cleanly, without controversy over Masayoshi Nakatani (18-1). You could even say he is one of the most talented young prospects at 135 lbs. But either due to the nature of his previous victories, or the fact that his opponent was a better than many thought, or that he was hype job from the start, Teofimo Lopez’s victory over Nakatani was unimpressive. Nakatani, a six-foot tall, lanky, unknown fighter from Japan did what very few people expected: not just survive against the dynamic Lopez, but give him problems. Not to completely overlook the work of Lopez, who outlanded Nakatani 166 to 124 punches.
Nakatani handily won the jab department, landing 55 to Lopez’s 37. Lopez severely outlanded Nakatani in the power punch department, 129 to 69.The physical evidence of the struggle was written on Lopez’s face – whereas Nakatani looked largely unmarked despite absorbing a great amount of punishment, Lopez’s face was bruised, and his nose was noticeably caved in. To Nakatani’s credit, he’s a tough customer, and even if he were to lose, it’s likely he’d give many top contenders problems as he did Teofimo today. With his tall frame, long reach, strong chin, and decent hand speed, I see him having success against good opposition in the future. Teofimo got the win, albeit with dubious scorecards of 118-110 twice, and and even more dubious 119-109. A more accurate score would be ringside observer and retired boxer Andre Ward’s: 116-112. I had it 115-113 for Teofimo, who deserved a close victory, though I wouldn’t have argued against a draw.
What of Teofimo’s incessant calling out of current unified Lightweight champion Vasily Lomachenko (14-1)?
After this fight, there were a lot of holes in his game which were exposed. And where vulnerabilities are exposed, much remains to be proven. There is a reason why Lomachenko is the top rated Lightweight and the top pound for pound fighter in the world, and it isn’t hype. Lomachenko has dominated his opposition since his first and only controversial loss. And because of Teofimo’s previous boasts, when much is expected, much is to be delivered. He will be in for tough time against the current IBF Lightweight champion Richard Commey (29-2), who also has two controversial defeats, as well as power and heart. Teofimo is a young talent who is still growing and learning. Part of his game is hyping himself up, and he has done a great job at that. He’s seemingly convinced himself that he is as great as he thinks he is. But he’s got a long way to go to keep people on his train aboard, and even further to convince those not aboard. He’s not pound for pound number one. He’s not the top lightweight. But perhaps he can be. Time will tell.