The hype was the fans would witness the “fight of the year” on this card. They were right except it was the co-feature between Alex “El Cholo” Saucedo and Arnold Barboza, Jr. Barboza came off the canvas to take the decision in a fight that both never stopped throwing punches!
Let’s get back to what was supposed to be the “fight of the year!” Just before fight time the betting odds suddenly went to IBF Lightweight champion Teofimo “El Brooklyn” Lopez with the 4-1 favorite WBO, WBA, WBC Lightweight champion Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko falling behind in the betting. Did the gambling city of Las Vegas know something the boxing people didn’t? The referee was Latino Russell Mora, judges were New York’s Julie Lederman and New Jersey’s Steve Weisfeld both from the east where Lopez was originally from. Tim Cheatham the other judge was from Nevada known for the worst decisions in boxing. Was Lopez being favored going in?
The commentators made it clear from the first round that Lomachenko was a slow starter. He threw so few punches for six rounds it was like did the fourteen month layoff cause it or was he growing old in one night? Lopez was coming off a twelve month layoff but was 23 compared to Lomachenko’s 32.
Suddenly starting in the seventh Lomachenko took over though he wasn’t showing his well-known angles. Right up until the twelfth and final round it was all Lomachenko on this writer’s card 6-5 in rounds for Lopez. The commentators made it clear the father-trainer of Lopez wanted his son to just play it safe feeling he was well ahead. The fighter had nothing to do with his advice and had his biggest round easily taking it from the three belt champion. Why did www.boxrec.com not include the WBC belt being on stake?
Then former world champion and now commentator Andre Ward had it 114-114 somehow giving Lomachenko the second round. This writer had it 115-113 for Lopez though rooting for Lomachenko the entire fight.
Then the judge’s scorecards were announced starting with Lederman’s 119-109. Was this Adalaide Byrd’s normal bad score? Next was Weisfeld’s 117-111 score. Cheatham followed with a 116-112 score all for Lopez.
Where does Lomachenko go from here? Will it be back to his natural weight of 130? Will the first defense by Lopez as he mentioned be against smack talking unbeaten Devin “The Dream” Haney? In looking at Fight News rankings of the four organizations I don’t even see Haney’s name. In November he is scheduled to defend his WBC World Lightweight title against a shop worn Yuriorkis Gamboa coming off a December beating he suffered at the hands of Gervonta “Tank” Davis being stopped in the final round.
Glad this was not a PPV show or the paying customers would have rioted giving boxing another black eye. This writer felt it was a close fight but not worthy of a rematch.