Vasily Lomachenko (15-2, 11 KOs) showed the world that he’s back and ready to return to his throne with his ninth round destruction job against Masayoshi Nakatani (19-2, 13 KOs) on June 26th in Las Vegas.
Lomachenko is now waiting for the dust to clear from Teofimo Lopez’s title defense against George Kambosos Jr in August or September so that he can face the winner in December or early next year.
It’s assumed that undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo (16-0, 12 KOs) will successfully defend his four titles against Kambosos Jr (19-0, 10 KOs) in their Triller PPV main event fight, but you never know.
Teofimo supposedly has been dealing with COVID 19, and he’s a different person now. His victory over Lomachenko last October changed his life forever, making him a wealthy man.
It’s a rare fighter that controls themselves after hitting the lotto by becoming rich overnight.
I mean, we saw what it did to Andy Ruiz Jr when he hit the jackpot with his victory over heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in their first fight in June 2019.
Teofimo making all that money for his fight with Lomachenko and his subsequent Triller upcoming Triller match against Kambosos may have taken away the hunger that made him the successful fighter he’d been.
If nothing else, it prevented Teofimo from going through with his previously scheduled June 19th fight against Kambosos.
Lomachenko had the perfect opponent
“It was a perfect fight for Lomachenko, and the matchmakers at Top Rank are among the best in the business,” said promoter Lou DiBella to Secondsout. “I gave Nakatani zero chance in that fight going in, and I gave him zero chance as I was watching it.
“It was somewhat a perfect match-up for Lomachenko. Nakatani just eats too many punches; he’s too straight ahead, not enough lateral movement, not footwork.
“It really was a perfect opponent. But do you know what? Nakatani was a legit guy.
“But anyone that thought a guy that knocked out that murder [Felix] Verdejo was going to beat Lomachenko was simply, they weren’t thinking clearly,” said DiBella.
Anyone would have been in trouble against Lomachenko on the night of the fight, not just Nakatani.
The way that DiBella talks, Nakatani is a nothing fighter, and we know he has loads of ability.
If you saw what Nakatani did to Felix Verdejo and the problems he gave Teofimo, the reason he lost to Lomachenko is that he was facing a guy that was just too good for him.
If Lomachenko had Devin Haney, Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, Ryan Garcia, or Teofimo on the same night, the outcome would be identical to what we saw in the Nakatani fight. Lomachenko was too good.
Can Lomachenko beat Teofimo?
“It’s hard to say based on that because [Teofimo] Lopez is not Nakatani, but I don’t think you saw the best of Lomachenko in that fight,” said DiBella when asked whether Lomachenko will do better against Teofimo in the rematch.
“I don’t know Teofimo having COVID and not having fought since Lomachenko yet, still waiting to fight [George] Kambosos.
“You know, having COVID when you’re an asthmatic is not the easiest thing on Earth. I mean, you don’t know if he’s going to be better.
“You have a lot of reasons to think he’s [Lomachenko] the same guy and will be more confident, but I don’t know that Teofimo will be better in a rematch.
“It’s not my first choice to see that fight [Teofimo vs. Lomachenko] again, but I’d watch it. It’s certainly a legit rematch and a legit match-up.
“After watching the Lomachenko fight with Nakatani, I’d love to see Lomachenko with Ryan Garcia, and I’d like to see Lomachenko with Devin Haney.
“I’d like to see him with any of those guys. But then again, you have your different side of the street, s***,” said DiBella.
There’s an excellent chance that Lomachenko will beat Teofimo in the rematch because the two-time Olympic gold medalist has everything going for now.
Loma is healthy, angry, and he will be dealing with a weight-drained Teofimo, who is overdue in moving up to 140. Teofimo should have made that move after his upset win over Lomachenko last October.
It’s rumored that the real reason Teofimo pulled out of his June 19th fight with George Kambosos Jr isn’t because of him having COVID 19.
It’s because his weight was in the 160s on the week of the fight, and there was absolutely no way that Teofimo could lose 25 lbs of water weight in the week of the fight without potentially putting him in the hospital.
It would have been an insane move by Teofimo to try and lose almost 30 lbs of water the week of the fight to get down to 135 so that he could keep his titles.
If Teofimo weren’t a world champion, it wouldn’t have been a big deal for him to change the weight in the contract and fight in the 140s against Kambososo.
Anyway, that’s what the rumor is. Having seen how big Teofimo was a week before the June 19th canceled fight date, it’s easy to believe that he wouldn’t have made weight.
Teofimo looked HUGE, and nowhere near 135 lbs. He looked like a short middleweight. It would have been pure hell for Teofimo to attempt to drop all that water weight in time for the weigh-in on June 18th.
Is Teofimo still the same fighter?
“We can’t forget that [Teofimo] Lopez just won the world title last year, and he now has to have a mandatory defense [against George Kambosos Jr],” said Shawn Porter on his Porter Way Podcast.
“We know he just got married, and we haven’t seen him in his title defense. He’s lived life and all that kind of stuff.
“I saw a difference in Loma. Yeah, the elusiveness and the angles and all that stuff but a little difference,” said Teddy Atlas on The Fight with Teddy Atlas. “He [Lomachenko] was more ferocious; he was more vicious.
“There was a different Loma. He knew what was on the line; he knew that his legacy. He’s always great, he’s always focused, and he’s always serious, but this was a different Loma.
“There’s a reason for it. Everything he’s done in the past was kind of up for sale. Yeah, I hate to say it, but with the way people judge things nowadays, he loses to Teofimo, and then he comes back.
“In this fight, everything was on the line, and I saw a different Loma. This was a killer instinct type of guy.
“He was always a good finisher. In the [Luke] Campbell fight, he let him survive.
“I thought he’d be able to finish him, but in this fight [with Nakatani], he wasn’t letting this guy survive,” said Atlas.
The combination of returning from COVID 19, being married, and dealing with an asthma problem may prove too much for Teofimo.
On top of that, Teofimo has become a millionaire after hitting it big with Triller paying him millions for his low-level title defense against George Kambosos.
All of the things that have happened in Teofimo’s life in the last several months could result in a terrible witches brew that will leave him possibly only 70% of what he was when he beat Lomachenko last October.
We know that Teofimo can’t beat Lomachenko if he’s only 70% because he barely beat him when he was firing on all eight cylinders at 100%.
You ignore the oddball scoring by the three judges that worked the Lomachenko vs. Teofimo fight.
The reality is, Teofimo barely won the fight, and he clearly would have lost if Lomachenko wasn’t dealing with an injured right shoulder.
Loma has the killer instinct
“I’ve seen him in fights where his father and him say, ‘Look, you got the fight in the bag. Don’t get careless, be smart, take it home,'” continued Atlas.
“No, no, no, this time was different. I think they [Lomachenko] went there to make a statement and to destroy somebody and to take somebody out in a smart way.
“He had something different where he went in there a different way where ‘I’m going to destroy this guy. I’m going to knock this guy out. I’m taking no prisoners tonight.
“I think it was his overall attitude that made him do that,” Atlas said about Lomachenko starting fast against Nakatani. “One other thing.
“He reminded me. I used to say years ago, when he first came around, that he had the best legs in boxing. He still has the best legs in boxing.
“Those dance lessons his father forced him to take when he was a young kid, and he didn’t like it too much, there was a reason for it.
“They paid off pretty damn good for him. He did it all, and that’s how he got those angles with those legs,” said Atlas.
The Lomachenko that we had all come to know in the past as the destroyer, showed that he’s back against Nakatani.
If that Lomachenko turns up on the night to fight Teofimo in the rematch, it’s going to be bad for Teo.