How Teofimo Lopez made the most of his one opportunity and is now among boxing’s elite!
2020 was certainly an odd and very unique year for boxing. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sport was forced to shut down for a significant period. As a result, many fighters were left fighting just once during that year. It was difficult for practitioners of the Sweet Science to make an indelible imprint as a result. For many, there was only one chance to have their shining moment that would leave fans and pundits alike buzzing. But alas, there was indeed one boxer in particular who did just that. That boxer would be one Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12), 3KingsBoxing.com’s 2020 Fighter Of The Year.
Like so many, the 23-year-old from Brooklyn, New York, was only able to fight once this year. And man, did he make his one ring appearance count! On October 17, 2020, he stepped into the ring and upset Vasiliy Lomanchenko (14-2, 10 KOs) to unify the IBF, WBA “Super” and WBO World Lightweight titles.
Besides the fact that the match-up was one of the best on paper for the year, what made Lopez win over Lomachenko so memorable was how he attained the victory. Facing someone who came into the fight hailed by many as the best Pound-4-Pound boxer in the world, Lopez won the bout by out-boxing the master craftsman.
OVERCOMING THE LOMA PUZZLE
Many fans affectionately viewed Lomachenko as someone who literally fought in a matrix, hence the nickname. The more experienced 32 year-old Ukrainian would be too intelligent, too skilled and give the young pup a boxing lesson. However, the fight did not turn out that way. It was Lopez who was the calm, cool, and calculated one for much of the fight. Known for his explosive power, he showed that he’s a skilled craftsman as well with a heightened ring I.Q.
Furthermore, he showed he could overcome adversity to bite down and grind to the finish line. Many watching the fight saw how Lomachenko came close getting Lopez out in the eleventh round. However, the young lion immediately returned in the last round and won it convincingly, showing he will not be deterred from victory. Although the official scorecards did not reflect how close the fight really was, many pundits felt the twelfth round was the deciding factor in Lopez’ victory.
Skill and a willingness to bite down late in the fight was the difference as he piled up enough points to earn a hard-fought, unanimous decision win.
HIGH ON BOXING’S PERCH
Lopez is now in an exclusive province in the sport; a unified world champion. We have him as the #6 fighter on Boxing’s Top Ten Best Fighters in the Sport while many other media sources have his name checked in their Pound-4-Pound lists. He has become one of boxing’s major players overnight!
When you reach for greatness and succeed, you deserve acknowledgment. Therefore, because Lopez capitalized on his single opportunity to do something special, he is 3Kings Boxing’s pick for Fighter Of The Year in 2020.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.