23-year-old American Teofimo Lopez becomes a mainstream sporting sensation by scoring one of boxing’s great wins

  • Teofimo Lopez produced one of boxing's best modern-day wins when he out-pointed Vasiliy Lomachenko in Las Vegas on Saturday.
  • Heading into the bout, Lomachenko, 32, was a consensus top-three boxer in the world pound-for-pound.
  • Lopez, 23, proved to be even better with a convincing victory over 12 rounds.
  • Mike Tyson was impressed and said on Twitter that Lopez is now the man to beat in boxing.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The 23-year-old American boxer Teofimo Lopez became a mainstream sporting sensation Saturday when he scored one of the sport's great wins.

Not since Tyson Fury bamboozled Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 has a younger underdog fighter upset a dominant older champion in a way that could shape boxing for years.

Back then, Klitschko struggled to pull the trigger against an unorthodox, purposely-jittery Fury, who boxed a masterpiece in Germany.

Fast forward to 2020, and Lopez, like Fury, fought to a specific gameplan which ensured his opponent — the pound-for-pound master Vasiliy Lomachenko — struggled to stamp any authority on the match.

Heading into the fight, the 32-year-old Lomachenko had an illustrious pedigree as a three-weight world champion, a former two-time Olympic gold medalist, and as a fighter who had lost just twice despite more than 400 combined amateur and professional bouts.

In contrast, Lopez was a lot younger, more inexperienced but had an absurd amount of confidence in his speed and power, strategy, and ability to produce one of the sport's most significant wins in the modern era in the middle of a pandemic.

The Top Rank promoted fight took place behind-closed-doors at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

The event at the quarantined bubble topped a bill which also included Arnold Barboza Jr.'s super lightweight win over Alex Saucedo, Edgar Berlanga's 79-second knockout win over Lanell Bellows, and Josue Vargas' decision win over Kendo Castaneda.

But it was Lopez and Lomachenko's lightweight bout, a championship unification involving four of boxing's major titles, which was not just the most significant of the night, but likely all year.

And he did so by forcing Lomachenko to start slow, by pressuring him and focusing more on his power punching than his jab.

Even after three rounds, Lomachenko had only landed one jab per round before finally finding momentum in the second half of the fight, where a comeback was essentially shut down in the 12th, when Lopez landed 50 of his 98 punches.

His 148 total landed power punches are the most any fighter has ever landed on Lomachenko, according to Compubox data.

"I had to dig deep, man," said Lopez after the win. "I'm a fighter. I gotta dig in deep. I knew he was coming. I didn't know if they had him up on the scorecards or not, and I love to fight. I can bang, too. I don't care, man. I'll take one to give one. That's what a true champion does. I find a way to win.

"You just gotta keep pressuring him, press the gas, stick the jab, and don't really give him that opportunity to set up. Every time he did want to throw, I had something ready for him."

Lope  always seemed ready. It was a conclusive beating.

Watch the highlights here:

The former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson said: "Lopez is the man to beat."

And considering the beating he gave Lomachenko, a consensus top-three pound-for-pound boxer, Lopez will find himself ranked amongst the sport's best after this weekend — even though he's still only 23.

Lopez, who hails from Brooklyn, New York, is surrounded by top talent and tough tests. Should he stay at lightweight, he could fight Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney, or Ryan Garcia.

A move to super-lightweight would open the path toward another undisputed four-belt unification match should he challenge the winner of Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor's eventual 140-pound battle.

One thing is for sure, considering Lopez rose to the challenge in fighting Lomachenko when the Ukrainian was still in his prime years as a boxer and an athlete, if Lopez had it his way, he'd likely fight them all.

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