Boxing can get a bit formulaic at times, when too many A sides do the expected, and down their overmatched foes. But the sport then upticks when a B side does better than expected, or a young gun makes anyone predicting a 50-50 level bout look silly.
Terence Crawford and Teofimo Lopez made Top Rank look stellar Saturday evening, and for me, I say Lopez won the weekend. His steamroller job of Richard Commey made it so his train is packed with persons who needed to see him do something like this to become true believers. We believed in his upside a few years ago, and didn't summarily dismiss his call to battle Vasyl Lomachenko two years ago.
I asked the rest of the NYF Squad and extended family who they believe won the weekend.
“Teofimo Lopez won the weekend,” said Abe Gonzalez, the NYF West Coast Bureau Chief. “Fighters are human beings and personal distractions come with the territory but we saw what a laser focused Lopez can do and that is scary. Richard Commey was no slouch and he was a legitimate champion which makes Lopez' knockout THAT much better. Lopez vs Loma will be built up as a “super fight” and rightfully so after that great performance on Saturday night under the brightest lights in Madison Square Garden.”
“Teofimo Lopez won the weekend,” echoed Kelsey McCarson of Bleacher Report and Gambling.com. “The takeover is real, people. What a star turn for Lopez. Now, all we need to see is Lopez vs Vasyl Lomachenko, which shouldn’t be a hard fight to make since they’re both promoted by Bob Arum. What a fight Lopez vs Lomachenko would be.”
“Hard weekend for me but I’d have to give it to Teofimo for producing an amazing performance,” said Chris Glover, fighter/analyst. “Richard Commey is one of my closest friends and I’m devastated for him, but Teofimo produced a special performance and we all wish him well.”
“The weekend was won by Bruce “ShuShu” Carrington,” said Ryan Songalia of RING. “The Brooklynite walks into the Olympic trials rated No. 9 by USA Boxing, and then on opening night beats the No. 1 rated favorite Duke Ragan, and then runs the table, goes undefeated to win the 125-pound title. We all remember when he was a kid in those YouTube videos but at 22 he’s shown he’s not someone to take lightly on the world stage. He may be coming into his own just at the right time as the Tokyo Olympics approach.”
“Teofimo Lopez: much was made of his mental state and his previous outing derailed the hype but he not only defeated Richard Commey but also stole the show with a ferocious knockout,” said Vladimir Lik of RING. “That sets up a huge payday against Lomachenko in April.”
“Teofimo Lopez answered his critics' lingering questions about his mental fortitude by blasting out Richard Commey in two rounds earning his this weekend's honors,” said fightwriter Jeremy Herriges. “When Lopez didn't look spectacular in July against Masayoshi Nakatani, many wrote him off as more hype than substance. People looked at Lopez vs. Commey as a 50-50 fight, but Lopez made those presumptions look comical. Many thought he would win, but most didn't think he would flatten Commey in under six minutes of work. Lopez is a champion and in position for a megafight with Vasiliy Lomachenko. It's hard to have a better weekend than that.
“I like what Ryan said and I agree with him 100%,” said Xavier Porter of Shoot the Five and Brooklyn Fights. “We're all extremely proud of Bruce “Shu-Shu” Carrington. Such a good young man with a backstory that makes us all get emotional.
Teofimo Lopez set off a huge bomb in Madison Square Garden that will continue to have lasting effects, all the way up to the lightweight unification bout with Vasyl Lomachenko.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. had a pretty good night and his stock continues to rise in the welterweight division.
With Mikey Garcia's signing to Matchroom Boxing, I'd have to add him to the list of winners as well.
Terence Crawford: what more can you say about a guy to dismantled and broke down the “Mean Machine,” piece by piece.
And lastly, Facebook FIGHTNIGHTLIVE, for surpassing 9 million views, that is truly an outstanding feat to accomplish!”
NOTE: Here is a link to FightnightLive show No 48, which unspooled Saturday, Dec. 14, in Harrisburg, PA.
“It's difficult to go against Terence Crawford when he performs in such a standout way, taking apart an undefeated challenger but the manner in which Teofimo Lopez made good on his promise and won his first world title was truly eye-opening,” said Anson Wainwright of RING. “He went in there and wiped out a sturdy champion in two rounds. For me it has to be Lopez, that was a star-making performance. Special mention to Vergil Ortiz for the way he went about his business against Brad Solomon.”
“Teofimo Lopez and Kamaru Usman won the weekend,” said Josh Friedman of SiriusXM.”Lopez in line for a shot at Loma after yet another highlight-reel KO. Usman’s KO caps off a bitter grudge match whose build went beyond the fight world.”
“With the boxing world watching, Teofimo Lopez went out and made a statement…a quick, decisive, explosive statement,” said Randy Gordon of SiriusXM. “In less than two rounds, he punched his way into superstar status, then called out Vasily Lomachenko. The boxing world is doing backflips over the new champ!”
“Teofimo Lopez certainly won the weekend,” said Brendan Long, analyst. “He kayoed a legit world champ to capture his first title at age 22. Cemented a bout with arguably the best fighter in the world. Displayed his devastating power in front of his hometown crowd. I was happy to be there live. I thought Mean Machine also gave a good account of himself against a seemingly disinterested Crawford. That was a definite KD, btw.”
“Lopez with an explosive 🧨 and unexpected early knockout of a fighter who has never been stopped,” said fighter/analyst Tommy Rainone said. “In doing so he created a public demand for the Lomachenko fight and made a huge statement.”
“Teofimo Lopez won the weekend,” said boxing writer Alden Chodash. “Not only did he confirm what many of us already thought, that he was a superstar in the making, he also did it in such an electrifying manner by knocking out a proud champion in front of an enthused MSG audience. The kid has enough style to make 10,000 plus fans at the Garden forget about the main event, a fight that featured arguably the best P4P fighter in the world. Further, he was the focus of the post-fight press conference, despite Terence Crawford sitting inches away from him. For this, Teofimo Lopez wins the weekend for realizing his dream to be a world champion and doing so with stunning ease.”
That he did….They can say a star was born Saturday, but really, this effort was a culmination for someone who knew, even if the masses didn't, his true caliber as a pugilist, for a long, long time. Props, Mr. Lopez. We admire your skill and maybe even more so, the fact that you and your family made it here.