Mike Tyson famously said that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. For Teofimo Lopez, who walked into the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden last night as the undisputed lightweight world champion, this maxim couldn’t hit harder.
Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs) lost a split decision to Sydney, Australia’s George Kambosos. Lopez, a Brooklyn, New York, native, lost in front of his home crowd in what may be considered the upset of the year.
George Kambosos Jr. upsets Teofimo Lopez to become lightweight champion 🏆 pic.twitter.com/XFU5RFgbaZ
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) November 28, 2021
The Big Upset
Lopez was formerly undefeated in sixteen outings as a pro.
During the pre-fight lead-up, Lopez promised his fans a first-round knockout. However, he hit the deck in the first round from an overhand right that cracked Lopez’s temple sending him backward onto the canvas.
Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) was the clear underdog. However, he survived a knockdown in the 10th-round knockdown to convince two judges at the end of twelve who scored him a split decision victory.
Thank you all for the love and support tonight. I’m grateful for you all and I know God has his plans set for me. They can punch me high, kick me low. It’s going to take more than that to break my soul! God bless everyone and Happy Holidays. See you all back in the ring in 2022🤍 pic.twitter.com/Oe5CtG7K3x
— Teofimo Lopez (@TeofimoLopez) November 28, 2021
With only one judge scoring the bout 114-113 for Lopez, the other two judges saw Kambosos defeat the champion scoring it 115-112 and 115-111.
Kambosos now claims the WBO, WBA, IBF, and WBC franchise lightweight championship belts. The fight upset the current order of the lightweight division as it was being called the four kings era.
Devin Haney, Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia, and Teofimo Lopez were the conversation of significant future showdowns. Now you must etch Kambosos into that picture as the current unified lightweight champion.
I can’t think of a fighter in recent years who’s fallen off the mountain top as swiftly and sharply as Teofimo Lopez has. You think of where he was at the beginning of this year and where he is now – what a catastrophic example of career mismanagement. #LopezKambososJr #boxing pic.twitter.com/EbeioisK17
— Michael Montero (@MonteroOnBoxing) November 28, 2021
“I believed in myself, I backed myself,” said Kambosos in the post-fight interview. “I thought, ‘I’m going to hit him hard and put him down,’ and the fight changed off that. I’m an unbelievable boxer. I can’t believe how good I boxed.”
For Lopez and his controversial father-trainer, it was the end of a glorious run in the spotlight that began when he defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko back in October 2020. The fighter has been bullish on his contract negotiations. In addition, both he and his father have been very outspoken about his worth in the sport.
“I don’t care what anybody says; I won tonight,” said Lopez in the post-fight interview. “At the end of the day, I’ve been here; I’ve done it. Look, I’m not a sore loser. I take my wins like I take my losses.
“At the end of the day, I’m a true champion. I came out here, I did what I had to do, and I went out there and I did my best. This is the takeover. We don’t stop. We keep coming.”
The Mayweather Curse
In the post-Mayweather era, younger fighters talk, but many have yet to back it up and stay undefeated and keep their titles en route to reaching the heights they are aiming for.
Devin Haney reacts to George Kambosos Jr’s win over Teofimo Lopez… pic.twitter.com/NL6XjEobSb
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) November 28, 2021
Lopez has lost a bit of his sheen, with an undefeated record being the golden standard in high-level boxing. However, he is by no means out of the conversation.
Lopez had a 13-month layoff and contracted COVID-19 en route to last night’s fight. Then there was the drama with making the fight where his promoter Bob Arum couldn’t seal the terms and the fight went to a purse bid.
A Step Below
However, although sharp, Lopez seemed slower than usual, and he attributed it to the lightweight weight cut.
“They’ve been draining me all the time,” Lopez said about making the 135-pound limit.
There is no word on what Lopez’s next move is, but there is no automatic rematch clause in place, so Kambosos doesn’t have to fight him. However, Lopez did mention his interest in moving up to 140 pounds and facing current undisputed champion Josh Taylor.
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