Superstar and champion Teofimo Lopez is still reeling from being upset by his opponent. But there are always lessons to be learned in boxing, as I take you behind the scenes.
On Saturday night in the Hulu Theater, inside of Madison Square Garden the boxing world got a shock to it’s system. As budding superstar Teofimo Lopez, who was the unified champion at the 135 pound lightweight division, took a majority decision loss.
George Kambosos, was his mandatory opponent and the winner. Last year in one of the few big fights that happened in 2020, Lopez beat Vasily Lomachenko to win the unified championship.
The tantalizing matchups, that his win created was numerous. He could have set up a fight with Tank Davis, WBC Champion at 135 Devin Haney, or speedy social media sensation Ryan Garcia.
None of the above fights were setup and to maintain his belts at 135, Lopez ended up taking a mandatory bout against Austrailia’s Kambosos.
The mandatory fight between Kambosos and Lopez ended up going to a purse bid because Lopez didn’t like the offer he received from Top Rank. Winning the purse bid with a huge multi-million dollar offer was Triller who was new to the true boxing market.
Triller tried putting on the fight several times with lots of stops and starts, date changes, venue changes, and location changes. After originally slating the fight for Miami, then getting bumped by a Mayweather fight, a battle with Covid for Lopez, then a move to New York Lopez’s hometown, with the fight being discussed to be at the Barclay’s Center.
Eventually Triller decided to pull out of the fight, and the fight then went to the second highest bidder of the purse bid which was Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom USA. Hearn took on the fight and brought it to his global content provider for boxing DAZN.
With DAZN being in the mix, and a relationship being created with Matchroom, now a fight with Devin Haney who is also partnered with DAZN and Matchroom was a possibility for the next fight, had Lopez handled his business on Saturday.
That dream fight would have to be put on hold as Kambosos put Lopez on the canvas in the first round, and was outboxing and outfoxing Lopez at every turn. Many believed that Lopez came out too aggressively and that he underestimated Kambosos, and that making the weight at 135 was difficult for Lopez whose body is probably ready for the 140 pound division.
Also an issue for Lopez was his corner which seemed woefully prepared, and as if they had no plan B strategy once Kambosos proved to be a tougher opponent than Lopez team thought.
In a year with upsets happening regularly, with Manny Pacquiao losing to last minute replacement Yordenis Ugas, Mikey Garcia losing a to Spaniard Sandor Martin, and Anthony Joshua losing to the smaller Oleksandr Usyk, pile this fight up with the ones we didn’t quite see coming.
Kambosos now has a ton of options from going home to Australia for a victory lap defense of his titles, or he can stay in the states and test his meddle with a fight against Devin Haney. That is the most likely route that Kambosos will take if Haney can win his fight against JoJo Diaz this Saturday on DAZN.
Upsets are a shock to the system and it reminds fans that there aren’t many gimmie, and soft touch fights. Fighters have to be ready every time out, well trained, hitting weight in a healthy way, and that they can’t over estimate anyone. Hopefully Teofimo Lopez has learned the lesson especially after Saturday.