Teofimo Lopez blows away Richard Commey in two rounds, wins IBF lightweight belt
NEW YORK — Any talk about Teofimo Lopez being thrown in too deep too early were erased with one right hand. And so too was Richard Commey.
The Brooklyn-born Lopez silenced many of his doubters Saturday, blowing away the highly-regarded Richard Commey in two rounds at Madison Square Garden to lift the IBF lightweight title. The time of stoppage was 1:13, as referee David Fields stepped in to rescue the defenseless Commey from Lopez’s nonstop barrage along the ropes.
“Anything is possible!,” Lopez (15-0, 12 knockouts) shouted from mid-ring after his victory. It was the sort of performance that the 22-year-old needed to build anticipation for a fight with Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs), the Ukrainian star who holds the WBO, WBC and WBA titles at 135 pounds.
Both Lopez and Lomachenko are promoted by Top Rank, meaning a showdown for the undisputed championship is far more manageable to make. Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti says that fight is being targeted for April 2020.
“You all know who I want to fight next. 2020 is going to be a big year,” Lopez said, without mentioning Lomachenko’s name specifically. “‘The Takeover’ has arrived, and you haven’t seen anything yet.”
Lomachenko, who was at ringside, didn’t appear overawed by the knockout as he voiced his interest in bringing all of the belts together.
“We want to ‘unificate’ all four titles,” said Lomachenko, 31.
“Now [Lopez is] a world champion and now he’s in position to fight me.”
After a quiet first round, Lopez began the quick descent into the bout’s conclusion with a right hand that sent Commey down hard to a knee, and then stumbling face-forward into the back of the referee’s legs. Commey, who was making the second defense of the belt he won in February with a similar result against Isa Chaniev, was essentially done at that moment, and would have likely not been allowed to continue had he not been the incumbent.
But the proud Ghanaian Commey (29-3, 26 KOs) rose up in vain, and absorbed several more punches before the fight was waived off.
Afterwards, Lopez donned the jersey of LSU Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow, who had won the Heisman trophy as college football’s top player earlier in the night, and then hit his trademark running backflip before striking the Heisman pose.
A year ago Lopez had paid similar tribute to Kyler Murray a year ago, after scoring a first round KO of Mason Menard at The Theater at MSG, when the quarterback won the Heisman.
Lopez, 22, was one of the sport’s fastest rising stars in the sport, but had lost some of his luster in a tough win over unheralded Japanese banger Masayoshi Nakatani in July. Commey, 32, had earned a lot of good will for his 2016 efforts against Robert Easter Jr. and Denis Shafikov, which ended in split decision losses that many felt could have gone Commey’s way.
“[Commey] is a bad man. His shot could’ve done the same to me if he hit me with that shot,” said Lopez.