There have been multiple (perhaps a record-breaking amount?) postponements, there has been and is a ton of bad blood, with some near brawls taking place before the fight, and at one point it looked as though the fight might never happen. But now – Finally! – unified lightweight champ Teofimo Lopez will make the first defence of his 135 pound belts against unbeaten IBF mandatory challenger George Kambosos.
And after all the waiting, and waiting, and waiting…..Lopez says he will end the fight in the very first round. “I hope not,” said Eddie Hearn who came in and won the purse bid for the fight (Triller having initially won the bid), “It’s cost me a lot of money.” So, will Lopez 16-0(12) make good on his boastful prediction/vow? It would be quite the statement from the man who dethroned Vasyl Lomachenko to become champ last October. Kambosos, 19-0(10), for his part, says he welcomes Lopez coming right at him and that he is fully prepared for it.
Of course it could be talk and nothing more from Lopez; or maybe it’s a bluff, and he will instead come out and try to outbox Kambosos, try to make him look levels below him, which of course Lopez feels his challenger is. We could get a great fight on Saturday and both men are brimming with confidence. It must have been tough having to wait so long to get in the ring and both fighters may well come out blazing, ridding themselves of some of the pent-up frustration they have endured.
And one or both men may make a mistake and get caught. After over a year of inactivity for both fighters, and with the risk of rust being there, anything could happen. Lopez is the bigger puncher but Kambosos is a tough fighter who we know will be in superb shape. This is the Australian warrior’s big chance, one he may not get again should he lose (Kambosos says he will go down as the greatest Australian boxer ever).
For the winner, there are a number of excellent 135 pound match-ups to look forward to (for however much longer the big-for-the-weight Lopez can continue to make 135), but for now, this long-awaited fight has to be taken care of. Who wins? Lopez has to be the pick, yet Kambosos has sure got under his skin and there must be a reason for that. And Kambosos has said he feels Lopez has a “suspect chin.”
How good is Lopez? How great might he be? We should get some answers on Saturday night in New York. Finally!