By Dean Flessel: Vasiliy Lomachenko wasn’t impressed with the performance from fellow Top Rank stable fighter Teofimo Lopez with his 12 round unanimous decision victory over Masayoshi Nakatani last Friday night in an IBF lightweight title eliminator on on ESPN+. The victory for the unbeaten Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs) makes him the mandatory for IBF 135 pound champion Richard Commey (29-2, 26 KOs), and those two are expected to fight this summer.
The winner of the Commey vs. Teofimo will then face Lomachenko in early 2020, if he beats Luke Campbell in their fight next month on August 31 at the O2 Arena in London, England.
Most boxing fans expect Lomachenko to breeze passed Campbell (20-2, 16 KOs) without any problems next month, but Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn doesn’t see it that way. He says Campbell has the talent to send Lomachenko down to his second career defeat, and he’s betting that’ll happen. We’ll soon see whether Hearn is right about his prediction.
Lomachenko: Richard Commey beats Teofimo Lopez
“But with who? 12 rounds with nobody. It’s a very big question for him, for his father, for his bulls*** what he say before,” said Lomachenko to Talksport… His fight with Commey, I think Commey wins, but I don’t want. I want Lopez.”
Teofimo, 21, fought poorly last Friday night in struggling to beat the previously undefeated 5’11 1/2″ Nakatani (18-1, 12 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. The judges scored it 118-110, 119-109 and 118-110. However, many boxing fans saw the fight as either a draw or a narrow 115-113 win for Teofimo.
It was a close enough fight for it to be ruled a draw. Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) makes it clear that he viewed the 30-year-old Nakatani as an unknown fighter, and he now thinks that Commey is going to beat Lopez.
Teofimo’s boxing fans point out that Lomachenko struggled to defeat Jose Pedraza last December, and took a lot of facial damage in winning a 12 round unanimous decision. The young 24-year-old Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis made easy work of Pedraza in stopping him in the seventh round in 2017. Teofimo hasn’t shown the same amount of talent as Gervonta, however.
Teofimo Lopez uses gimmicks to gain attention
What has gained Teofimo so much attention is his trash talking, his knockouts of weaker opposition, and the back flips likes to do after winning. In other words, there’s a lot of gimmicky stuff that Teofimo is using to get the spotlight put on him. He hasn’t beaten anyone of note during his short three-year pro career, and his poor performance against Nakatani suggests that he’s not a great talent inside the ring.
Teofimo’s trash talking is second to none, but he appears to lack the talent to back up his bold talk. The Nakatani fight was supposed to have been a showcase fight for Teofimo to impress the boxing public, and to help increase interest for a match against Lomachenko in 2020. It didn’t workout that way unfortunately, as Teofimo squeaked by Nakatani, but was given a strange set of wide scores by the judges that worked the contest.
Top Rank will obviously be pleased at hearing Lomachenko fire off some remarks about Teofimo’s recent performance against Nakatani. They need Lomachenko to talk as much as possible to help increase interest in a potential future fight between him and Lopez. The judges need to do a better job of scoring Teofimo’s fight with Commey if it goes to the scorecards.
Commey looking hard to beat right now
Commey, 32, is performing at a higher level than Teofimo in his recent fights. There’s no question that Commey is a level above Lopez with his recent string of knockout victory. In Commey’s last four fights, he’s knocked out the following fighters: Raymundo Beltran, Isa Chaniev, Yardley Armenta Cruz and Alejandro Luna. Commey has improved by leaps and bounds since his consecutive defeats to Denis Shafikov and Robert Easter Jr. in 2016. He learned a lot from those losses, and he’s come back stronger in winning his last five fights.