The grandeur of exceptional fights like the one that the Ukrainian Vasiliy Lomachenko and the American Teófimo López will animate this Saturday surpasses all kinds of limits and precautions. It sweeps away the conditions and protocols imposed by the unbearable Covid-19 and re-ignites an enthusiastic inner fire in boxing spectators, who at times seem to be overwhelmed in the midst of so much unease.
“Champion vs. Champion, behind closed doors”. This is the incredible announcement of the best combat that 2020 can showcase. The unification of the lightweight crown between Lomachenko, holder of the CMB, AMB and OMB versions, and Teófimo López, of Honduran descent, with the FIB belt, in the sanitized area: “La Burbuja”, of the Casino MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas. The twelve-round match will be televised by Space, for Argentina, starting at 23.30.
Boxing is not a test tube
Both promoter Bob Arum, 88, and both fighters sacrificed part of their earnings in pursuit of a massive and popular broadcast of a match of this magnitude, which will be broadcast in the United States on basic cable at no additional cost. It is expected to have a rating of three million viewers in North America where – in the same television circumstances – the maximum audience reached an average of 870,000 viewers when the Englishman Tyson Fury knocked out Deontay Wilder, on February 22.
“Sports ratings fell sharply in times of pandemic. Even in the NBA basketball final, with LeBron James, it declined in its consumption peaks. Boxing, both on ESPN, Fox and Showtime, have declined in their numbers”, Arum pointed out.
There was a bitter controversy between the protagonists before all this. López, 23, imposed his anger by claiming that he alone offered part of his $ 1,200,000 pay to make the match feasible. Lomachenko did not admit discounts on his $ 3,500,000 purse. And this created a conflictive focus that nobody could solve.
Why is “Loma vs. Teofimo” the best fight of the year?
The Ukrainian is No. 1 these days and Lopez is the most exciting fighter today. While Lomachenko is an exemplary athlete, manager of an exceptional career, with two gold medals at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games, and a three-time professional championship (Pluma, Liviano jr. And Liviano); Teofimo opposes a physical and technical force rarely seen in a fighter with only 15 fights won, with 12 KOs. He forged an indolent, “bad boy in the ring” image, vital to an audience eager to see him win or lose at the same time.
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Lomachenko is 32 years old and has a thousand battles. He had top-level opponents before him, such as Orlando Salido, Gary Russell, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Jorge Linares, among many. He has a legitimate record of 20 wins (10 KO) and one setback. He maintains an absolute fullness based on the movement of his legs and a repertoire of admirable blows. Both in attack and counterattack position. And that makes him a favorite for victory. Especially for its emotional balance.
López, who established himself as IBF champion with a superb KO of African Richard Commey, bases his chances on a winning temperament and his striking muscular conformation that powers his punches at 61 kilos. He has class to attack and jaw to endure.