How the f*ck you gone talk about MC's on the hill?/ We he just copped them things homey the chrome wheels/ both arms are chunky the sleeves on chill/ any given Sunday 100G's in your grill/ Don't talk to me about MC's got skills… He's alright but HE'S NOT REAL
–Jay-Z, “Do It Again” circa 1999, picking a fight with N@s
When Jigga finally got what he was dying for in 2001, Nasir Jones went beyond Hov and even his own “God's Son”, walking directly into the kitchen of Shawn Carter before pouring “Ether” all the way down his throat and into his soul. He was the commercial star… so envious of an underground king to the extent that he was buried alive. That's not usually the way things work.
About a year ago around this time, Brooklyn's own lightweight menace Teofimo Lopez (11-0, 8KOs), he of the chilling “One-Time” KO variety last weekend that Keith Thurman can only dream about, was making his way around a toasty front end of Chase Plaza turned weigh-in for Vasyl Lomachenko V Guillermo Rigondeaux. His body language leaks sociological data to the sound of “cocky”; its a ‘Duke of The School' type of way, and a way he's ready to back up. Not far away is rising Top Rank star and 2016 Rio Olympic champion Shakur Stevenson, who has sparred with Loma in preparation for Rigo.
“I think Lomachenko will take Rigondeaux apart, easily. I feel what we did to prepare is just beyond what Rigo can handle,” said a smooth Stevenson, probably this generation's answer to Sugar Ray Robinson. As he departed, Lopez is discussing his own sparring sessions with Rigondeaux– sessions he felt he'd dominated, and didn't really care who'd win. So when I asked a departing Teo who the better fighter was between them, he didn't hesitate. In an instant, he turned and fired dead-ass: “I'd beat both of them.”
No, he wouldn't. Not then… but maybe now.
In theory, given Teo's immense punching power and Tyson-like aura that seems to emanate around his spirit, yeah, that could happen… But realistically it wouldn't. Teo would most likely really make Lomachenko look like “The Matrix”– we know he'd be very aggressive; in the process, he'd be frustrated and gradually lose faith in himself. Swinging, missing and getting clipped in between being chipped up, would put him in the realm of ‘I give up”.
The accolades are pouring in on Teofimo Lopez– and much of it warranted, but to challenge Vasyl Lomachenko right now goes back to Jay-Z and N@s. He was so much bigger and made to be so much smaller by a little guy. A commercial giant versus an underground king, although the two had nothing in common except profit for a record label. It would not serve Top Rank or Bob Arum if Loma ruined Lopez for nothing.
“43 to 2.”
“In 2019, I'm a star.”
Gervonta “Tank” Davis (20-0, 19KOs) was referring to “The One that went black Neo on Jose “Sniper” Pedraza in January 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, while declaring full ascension in 2019. Licking his chops, Davis was also saying he needed only two punches to drop and put away Pedraza in the 7th round, compared with Loma's forty-three punch onslaught in the 11th that a fallen Pedraza survived. This can only mean that “Tank”, an underground king favored by the owners of commercial giants, will attempt to show “The Matrix” that he should've taken the Blue pill.
But that's hubris, styles non-withstanding. I don't think Guillermo Rigondeaux would've been a great style match-up for Tank in January 2017 (nor would've Nicholas “The Axeman” Walters), and can tell you that he needs to stop blowing up diners and fast-food chains. A highly accomplished amateur star in his own right, Davis may have won the Pedraza sweepstakes over Lomachenko, but only the most serious mind of sound body n soul will defeat him.
Last Saturday night at Hulu Theater inside of MSG was the Superbowl for Jose Pedraza and merely a regular season game for the best fighter in the world. His legacy will be defined at lightweight, which would appear to be where Davis would be most explosive. Though Loma (most likely according to script) called out a WBC lightweight champion in Mikey Garcia almost sure to be damaged goods after getting the business from IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr in March, the real supervillian for Lomachenko is Davis, who has absorbed the best attributes of Floyd Mayweather– and also the worst. He'll look like a product of A.I. against Abner Mares in February, as would Loma against say, Anthony Crolla in April. Together, they make for a Sci-fi thriller and an authentic Superfight.
Get ready for major war in 2019.