Vasiliy Lomachenko ducked under a rope separating him and Teofimo Lopez Jr. during Friday's weigh-in and stared him down face-to-face, as the tension between the two ignited and hit a fever pitch.The momentmade a bout already laden with bad blood even more of a must-see in just an instant.
Well, Lomachenko, the WBC Franchise/WBO/WBA lightweight world champion, and Lopez, the IBF titleholder, will finally settle things Saturday night in a nationally-broadcasted fight at theMGM Grand conference center in Las Vegas. Lomachenko's WBA and WBO titles and Lopez's IBF strap will all be on the line.
Though the highlyanticipatedbout has all the ingredients of a possible Fight of the Year, Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) has done whatever it takes to remain even keel throughout the buildup.
I think its just a ring and judges and TV," he said during the press conference Thursday."That's it."
Boxing's arguable pound-for-pound best is looking forward to trying to dissectand negatethe explosive Lopez with his brand of top-notch boxing skills and footwork.
For me," Loma continued,"I think it will be a chess match.
Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) doesn't think the fight will be anything of the sort. The undefeated 23-year-old doesn't even believe that Lomachenko will be his toughest opponent to date.
"It's not going to be my biggest challenge," Lopez told Stats Perform earlier in the week."I'm just going to adapt to the fighter."
Will Lopez snatch the throne in explosive fashion or willLomachenko reinforcethat there arelevels to boxing and that Lopez isn't of the same caliber?
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(All times Eastern)
Round 11:Loma rakes a left across the jaw of Lopez, but Lopez eats it. Loma is pouring it on thick with crisp, accurate punches. He pops Lopez's head back with a straight right seconds later. Is Lopez winded? He looks fatigued and has a bit of swelling around his eye. A short left hand lands for Loma. The unified champ is coming on strong in his best round of the night. Left hand to the body lands for Loma. He seemingly hurt Lopez there. But Lopez comes back with a right. Lopez is tired, but he moves forward and plants a right on Loma's chin. A good finish of the round by Lopez, but Lomachenko takes the round. (10-9 Lomachenko, 106-102 Lopez)
Round 10:Lomachenko is doing whatever it takes to get inside and close the gap, but Lopez is standing his ground. Lopez should go back to the body, as he has inexplicably abandoned that attack last few rounds. A quick surge from Lopez, but Lomachenko answers back with stinging shots. Stiff, crisp left hands land for Lomachenko now. Very precise. Right hand to the body lands for Lopez. Moments later, Lopez lands a crunching body shot at the belt line. The ref pauses the action and warns Lopez about hitting too low. That was a close round, with the slight edge going to Loma. (10-9 Lomachenko, 97-92 Lopez)
Round 9:Lopez greets Loma with a hook coming out the corner. A good combination from Lomachenko, but Lopez counters with a combo of his own. Lopez opens with a lead left uppercut and keeps flicking the jab to follow. Lomachenko showing more desire, but enough to take this round? No, because Lopez answered any burst of offense that Loma showed. (10-9 Lopez, 88-82 Lopez)
12:30 a.m.:Loma's urgency is really picking up here, as it should.
Round 8:Fighters exchange brief fire with Lopez getting the better of it. Lomachenko has to close the distance. The ref warns Lomachenko about headbutting. Right hand from Lopez seconds later. Lopez with two lefts and a right that splits the guard. But Loma returns fire with a stinging shot and he's stepping to Lopez now. Lopez back with a right hand. The action is picking up considerably now. Lomachenko is letting loose now. But Lopez fires back with a stiff right jab. And another jab lands moments later. The best round of the fight thus far. (10-9 Lomachenko, 78-73 Lopez)
Round 7:Loma punches in the clinch, but Lopez is back to pumping the jab. A left-right combo brushes Loma back, as Lopez presses forward. The left to the body from Lopez is a real weapon this fight. Lopez is outboxing Loma and he's doing it with smarts. Loma closes the gap and lands a quick shot. Lopez just misses upstairs, but takes this round, too. (10-9 Lopez, 69-63 Lopez)
Round 6:Lopez rocks the body and just misses a head shot. He unloads a right hook to the head thatLomachenko just manages to avoid. Loma is more active this round, but Lopez is still walking him down and picking his shots behind the jab. Loma lands a short left hand, but Lopez returns fire with a hook. A left-right hook to the body lands for Lopez. And another left to the body lands for Lopez. Uppercut and right hand for a solid end of the frame for Lopez. When is Lomachenko going to pick up the urgency? Lopez is banking rounds. (10-9 Lopez, 59-54 Lopez)
Round 5:Lopez looks to be in firm control and he's doing it with boxing skills and patience early on. He flicks the left jab and lets loose with a right hook. Another body shot follows off a big right hand. Loma is keeping his body exposed and Lopez is taking advantage. Lopez digs into the body yet again after attempting a shot upstairs. (10-9 Lopez, 49-46 Lopez)
Round 4:Lopez comes out with the jab, trying to establish and work behind the punch. Lopez is boxing very well so far. Lopez bangs the body and then lands a left. He adds an uppercut as well and goes back to the body seconds later. He plants two rights for good measure. Another solid round of work for Lopez. (10-9 Lopez, 39-37 Lopez)
Round 3:Lopez lands with a sweeping right hook to the body and adds a left hook for good measure. A left to the body lands for Lopez as well. Lomachenko is changing levels and trying to bait Lopez, but the younger champ is remaining poised. A crunching body shot lands for Lopez, but Lomachenko returns fire with a combination. Lopez takes the round. (10-9 Lopez, 29-28 Lopez)
Round 2:Lopez shooting the jab and using it to lunge toward the body with his next punch. Left hook and then a right hand drives Lomachenko back a bit. The unified champ felt Lopez's power there. Visible redness on the right side of Loma's body. Lopez keeps digging to the body with his right. But Loma returns fire with a stinging left and it got Lopez's attention.Loma did split his guard late in the round as wellwith a lightning-quick combo. (10-9 Lomachenko, 19-19)
12:00 a.m.:Lopez probably surprised many with his patience that round.
Round 1:Lopez sticks a right hand into Lomachenko's midsection to start. Now, he's pumping the jab, as Lomachenko computes. Lopez pieces together a combination that bounces Loma off the ropes, although the unified champ was largely unscathed. Lopez walking Loma down here. Loma patient as can be, analyzing in real time. Lopez sticks another right hand to the body and adds a left jab moments later. A lot of jabs from Lopez early. Lopez was pretty calculated early, as he didn't come out unloading with power shots as many probably thought he would. (10-9 Lopez)
11:55 p.m.:Seconds away ... here we go!
11:51 p.m.:And here comes the unified champion, Vasiliy Lomachenko. Champ vs. Champ ... winner takes all.
11:50p.m.: An ultra-confident IBF lightweight champ, Teofimo Lopez, comes out bopping his head to the sounds of "Another One Bites the Dust."
11:45 p.m.:The most highly-anticipated boxing bout of 2020 to date is upon us just moments away.
11:34 p.m.: The scorecards are in, as it's96-93, 97-92 and 97-92 all in favor of Barboza. A well-deserved victory, as Barboza improves to 25-0.
Round 10:Barboza snapping Saucedo's head back with some crisp jabs.Saucedo lands a right and Barboza returns fire with a hard right of his own. Barboza is still moving well and punching while doing so. He's a crisp, accurate boxer. Solid showing from both, but Barboza should take this one, as we wait for the judges' scorecards. (10-9 Barboza, 96-93 Barboza)
11:30 p.m.:Barboza can really be a problem in this division. There's no doubt.
Round 9: Barboza lunges forward with a left, while ripping the body with a right hook moments later. When Barboza is moving and staying outside, he's in complete control and Saucedo has zero answers for him. Barboza hit Saucedo with an elbow during one of their exchanges there. Another round for Barboza. The 10th and final round next. (10-9 Barboza, 86-84 Barboza)
Round 8:The official review rules that Saucedo did indeed score a knockdown of Barboza, giving him the 10-8 round for the seventh. Yet, Barboza enters the eighth and looks to be back in control behind the jab and a continued high work rate. Saucedo isn't moving his head at all and Barboza is feasting with punches because of it. (10-9 Barboza, 76-75 Barboza)
Round 7: Barboza goes back to the jab, as he works behind the punch to open up more offense. He's fighting a great fight. Just as that's said, Saucedo drops Barboza with a left!But it's ruled a slip and he's right back on his feet.This can be reviewed and changed under the new Nevada State rule. Let's see if that gets changed to an official knockdown. Certainly looked like one. (10-8Saucedo, 66-66)