Home Sports Monday scorecard: What next for Vasiliy Lomachenko after loss to Teofimo Lopez?

Monday scorecard: What next for Vasiliy Lomachenko after loss to Teofimo Lopez?

By

staronline@reachplc.com (Chris McKenna)

Welcome to Vasiliy Lomachenko as the new honorary chairman of the ‘Who needs ’em club?’.

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Well, maybe.

A long-running joke in boxing is that there is a special group of fighters that you dare not fight.

Not necessarily the unbeatable ones, some of them offer lucrative pay days or world title opportunities that you just can’t turn down.

But the ones who are brilliant yet offer financial reward nowhere near what you deserve for taking them on and are often without a belt.

Lomachenko has just entered that select club and gone straight in at the top of the list.

Teofimo Lopez pulled off one of the great wins by dethroning Lomachenko as pound-for-pound king.

It was a superb performance as the 23-year-old brash Brooklynite proved he can walk the walk as well as talk the talk by backing up his pre-fight predictions.

Lopez was huge in comparison to Lomachenko in the ring, and he used that size effectively in the first half of the fight to rack up a commanding lead not even the great Ukrainian could chase down.

Teofimo Lopez dominated Vasiliy Lomachenko in the opening rounds of the bout

His power troubled Lomachenko, a fighter who since he lost to Orlando Salido in his second professional fight has rarely looked perturbed by anything an opponent has thrown at him.

Undisputed lightweight champion Lopez, with no rematch clause and little interest from him in one, will now look to either secure a bout with rival Devin Haney or move up and seek titles at light-welterweight.

Lopez has the gift of the gab and all the skills needed to now become a superstar in the sport.

But what next for the 32-year-old Lomachenko?

The 23-year-old American ace delivered with a deserved unanimous points victory
The 23-year-old American ace delivered with a deserved unanimous points victory

Having won the WBO title at featherweight in just his third pro fight against Gary Russell Jnr in 2014, he has reigned as a world champion for six years.

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But he struggled to get unification fights in that division and in the one above when he became a two-weight world champion.

So his move to lightweight, a weight class he admits is probably above where he should be, was needed to get the super fights he wanted to cement his legacy.

There was enough financial incentive to get in the ring with him as well as the belief that at 9st 9lb he was beatable even if Jorge Linares, Jose Pedraza, Anthony Crolla and Luke Campbell failed.

Vasiliy Lomachenko has won world titles at three weight divisions

But now Lopez has beaten Lomachenko, will others step up?

Certainly beating the Ukrainian would add to your stock greatly but there is unlikely to be the same financial incentive there and now, having lost his world titles. there is no lure of the belts.

To say Lomachenko’s defeat has taken some of the shine off of his career would be wrong, too.

Just like when he lost to Salido, it was his ambition that cost him here.

It was always felt the only way he would lose was to a bigger man who had too much power for him.

But it may be disrespectful to Lopez to just say he only won because he was bigger. At times, was the smarter boxer in the fight as Lomachenko laboured in the early rounds.

The Ukrainian is regarded as one of the finest amateur boxers of all time

However, as a two-time Olympic gold medallist and three-weight professional world champion after just 12 bouts his vote into the sport’s Hall of Fame is surely just procedural at this stage.

If Lopez moves up, the titles will become scattered again which will give Lomachenko another opportunity to regain them.

Or he may opt to move back to super-featherweight where he was able to make fighters quit and he was not punching above his weight.

His promoters Top Rank have two fighters competing the WBO title later this year in Carl Frampton and Jamel Herring.

The winner might be tempted for a legacy fight to finish off their career.

Retirement can’t be ruled out either after 397 amateur bouts and now 16 in the pro ranks.

But expect to see Lomachenko back in the ring next year as he won’t want to go out on a defeat.

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