For a person recognized for emphatic postfight celebrations, a raised handcrafted a louder assertion than the rest Teofimo Lopez has performed within the ring.

No backflip, jersey or Heisman pose may match one of many easiest acts in boxing. Lopez defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko by unanimous decision to win three of the 4 main light-weight belts (and the WBC franchise belt), and when the light-weight’s title was introduced contained in the MGM Grand Conference Middle in Las Vegas on Saturday evening, regardless of it being void of followers and the ovation it deserved, it signaled {that a} new period within the sport had formally arrived.

Teofimo Lopez is boxing’s subsequent famous person.

He cemented that standing with a win over Lomachenko — ESPN’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter — by a transparent margin, as judges scored the struggle 117-111, 119-102 and 116-112. Now, at 23 years previous, Lopez is a unified light-weight champion, and the showmanship he displayed throughout his rise within the sport has now been matched by his in-ring accomplishments.

“I am a fighter,” he mentioned within the postfight interview on ESPN. “I gotta dig in deep. I knew he was coming. I am unable to give him that.”

Lopez (16-0, 13 KOs) managed the motion for the primary seven rounds till Lomachenko discovered his offense. And after faltering throughout the again finish of the struggle, Lopez rallied within the twelfth spherical and answered Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) by digging deep and imposing his measurement on the previous featherweight.

Lopez did not draw back from dealing with one of many hardest challenges within the sport, and that end gave Lopez a reward that was properly well worth the danger. Earlier than this weekend, Lomachenko had stopped 9 of his previous 11 opponents, and was arguably boxing’s most dominant fighter. Lopez needed the problem of dealing with somebody resembling Lomachenko, even when it meant risking an undefeated file. Lopez cited among the sport’s historic greats who opted for that strategy.

“They did not care,” Lopez mentioned within the prefight information convention. “They only needed to placed on a present for the followers they usually needed to indicate and show [to] themselves that they’re one of the best of their division. And that is what it involves.”

By doing that, and by successful, the charismatic, marketable and affable Lopez accelerated his path into boxing superstardom and made appreciable progress down the trail of being one of many sport’s most profitable fighters.

For years, Prime Rank has appeared for tactics to construct Lopez’s model as he constructed the muse for his skilled profession. For the previous two years, Lopez stole the present at Madison Sq. Backyard on the heels of the Heisman Trophy presentation on ESPN, and he delivered on each events.

Not solely did he win, together with a second-round TKO over Richard Commey for the IBF belt that arrange the Lomachenko alternative, however he celebrated the victories with backflips whereas sporting the jerseys of the Heisman winners. He knew that being a superb prizefighter meant being an incredible showman.

That held true throughout the build-up to the struggle in opposition to Lomachenko. Lopez was vocal in his trash discuss forward of the bout. Whereas among the emotions of dislike could be respectable, Lopez roughly admitted it was the function that wanted to be performed to create some drama across the title struggle.

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Teofimo Lopez breaks down his unanimous choice victory over Vasily Lomachenko, saying he needed to dig deep if he needed to win. He additionally previews what might be subsequent for him.

“I am not making an attempt to get below his pores and skin,” Lopez mentioned. “I am simply being outspoken. Come that evening, he desires to take it out on me, nice. I am making an attempt to take it out on him, too. That is what makes it a superb struggle. On the similar time, we’re making an attempt to advertise the rattling struggle.”

With the win over Lomachenko, the mixture of Lopez’s marketability and his pugilistic craftsmanship provides him one of many highest ceilings within the sport. Others together with Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia arguably have a higher fan base and title recognition, however neither of them has the kind of win that Lopez picked up this weekend, and Lopez’s efficiency on Saturday may simply shut the hole by way of reputation and recognition.

And as Lopez continues to maneuver up in weight and chase down greater names in weight and stature over the following few years, his attraction will solely improve together with extra top-level performances. If he goes as much as junior welterweight, he may tackle Jose Ramirez or Josh Taylor, two different Prime Rank fighters who may maintain all 4 main 140-pound title belts early in 2021.

Similar to he wasn’t afraid to step as much as the problem of preventing Lomachenko, Lopez is not shy about taking over both man.

“I am going to have Josh Taylor within the morning,” Lopez mentioned, “after which I am going to have Jose Ramirez at evening.”

That joke summed up why Lopez has one of many brightest futures within the sport. For years, Lopez has displayed elite ranges of charisma. On Saturday, he matched that with a win over arguably one of the best boxer on the planet.

The takeover is full. And Lopez’s time on the prime is simply starting.





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