It was the fight that propelled Teofimo Lopez into the big time, and it was one he was supposed to lose, according to the sportsbooks, anyway. However, the Brooklyn native paid no heed to the naysayers and produced a pretty flawless performance to outpoint Vasiliy Lomachenko – the IBF, WBA, and WBO lightweight champion who, until then, had racked up a six-year winning streak.
It’s customary, of course, for a new champion to hand their vanquished opponent a rematch, but Lopez is having none of it. Instead, he's preparing for an October 4th bout with mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr, and that’s a fight in which Lopez is a comfortable -1000 favorite for, according to the betting on boxing odds.
Kambosos Jr is certainly an underdog in this situation and has already been disregarded by most boxing betting tips columns on account of the fact that he's struggled to put foes away cleanly. Additionally, since leaving his native Australia behind and trying his luck in the Western hemisphere, just two of his five wins have been via KO.
Of course, Lopez, also known as the New Yorker, may be forced to take on Lomachenko for a second time by the authorities, particularly as the Ukrainian has since bounced back with a victory over the highly-rated Masayoshi Nakatani. But as long as he's in control, Lopez has no plans for a rematch.
The 24-year-old has claimed that Lomachenko is trying to resurrect his career by fighting his leftovers, and declared that fans hoping for a second contest between the pair would be left disappointed. “There will be no rematch. Had I lost, they would have never given me the opportunity, so I'm not doing it,” Lopez said.
Instead, he's turning his attention to broadening his horizons, and should he fulfill his plan of beating Kambosos Jr, he'll look to organize a huge fight against the undisputed super-lightweight king Josh Taylor.
Nonetheless, fight fans will be hoping that a unification bout with Devin Haney or a mouthwatering clash with Gervonta ‘Tank' Davis, who weighs in at 130lb, can be booked in at Madison Square Garden.
Of course, any talks of the future are somewhat disrespectful to Kambosos Jr, who's forced his way into the title picture on the back of 19 straight victories. The Australian has beaten fighters with some pedigree too, with Mickey Bey, the former IBF lightweight champion, and Lee Selby, once the IBF super-featherweight strap holder, both usurped via split decision.
The general consensus is that Kambosos Jr will find himself completely outclassed by Lopez, who surprised everyone apart from himself with the wide margin of his victory over Lomachenko, a fighter considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound pugilist on the planet.
Another classy showing from Lopez at the Hulu Theater on October 4th will secure his status as one of the most exciting up-and-coming fighters around, and he won't be short of options thereafter. If he can repair his damaged relationship with Top Rank and Bob Arum, he may well find himself assigned to a fight in the UK next, where the promoter is looking to build his brand.
Should this UK fight materialize, it would create the possibility of an eagerly-anticipated clash between Lopez and Taylor, which would be one for the ages.