It is more than a year since we last saw Teofimo Lopez in the ring. His majestic dethroning of Vasyl Lomachenko announced him as boxing’s next superstar.
On that performance alone he became the outstanding champion in a lightweight division crammed with talent.
George Kambosos Jnr is not an opponent with the star power of a Ryan Garcia or Devon Haney not to mention Loma, but he is worthy of respect.
On paper, and in the imagination of Lopez by the sounds of it, this is a straightforward engagement.
Kambosos only scraped thru against Lee Selby in his last fight 13 months ago. Compare that to the way Lopez dismantled Loma and you can see why he might be licking his lips.
I gave Lopez the first seven rounds against Loma. The great man won some of the closing rounds but not overwhelmingly.
It was a real eye-opener. We didn’t think anybody could do that to Lomachencko.
Kambosos is a tough kid. He is just underpowered in this fight. But that doesn’t mean he won’t hang around.
Given the animosity between the camps you could do a double header with their dads, who have been trading insults in fight week.
It is clear there is ill-feeling. But emotion can get in the way. And it is so unnecessary.
I know promoters love it. It engages social media but it is not to my taste and not a great look for our sport.
Moreover, Lopez does not need any extra hoopla to sell a show. He has box-office gold in his gloves.
Though Lopez is American, his genes are all Puerto Rican. Like so many of his forebears he can bang and box but there is also a vulnerability and he has been down in sparring.
Luke Campbell had him over but he has a way of cancelling out an opponent’s speed.
And Kambosos is quick as well as tough, throwing rapid combinations. But the Australian is up against an exceptional fighter at Madison Square Garden.
Lopez will have a look then go after him very quickly. He has said it will be over in a round.
I don’t see that. And if Kambosos can absorb his punches he could take the fight into the championship rounds.
I’m expecting a vicious encounter with Lopez emerging with reputation enhanced.
It will then be interesting to see what happens next. In my view he has to go up because he is so tight at the weight.
There are some big targets at 140 pounds, including Gervonta Davis. Who wouldn’t want to see that tango in 2022?
- Follow Barry on Twitter at @ClonesCyclone @McGuigans_Gym @CyclonePromo
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