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Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (Vasiliy Lomachenko-Teofimo Lopez is here!)

16
Oct

CAN LOPEZ SOLVE THE MATRIX?

Hi Doug,

Like the rest of the boxing world I can’t wait for Loma-Lopez this weekend.

Teofimo Lopez has developed into a very good boxer-puncher and for that reason, I give him slightly more than just a puncher’s chance on Saturday night.

However, Nakatani has showed that he is not perfect and can get frustrated and Lomachenko can certainly provide plenty of frustration.

How do you beat Lomachenko?

I am inclined to throw the Salido loss out of the window. Lopez is not the same type of fighter as Salido, he will not be allowed missing weight or the same number of low blows and it is a much more seasoned pro version of Lomachenko.

Linares nails Lomachenko with a right. Photo / Hoganphotos

Lopez has the obvious advantages of youth, size and power. He will need to hurt Lomachenko, otherwise he will just be outboxed. Lomachenko can be tagged, like Linares showed. Lopez is not quite as fast as Linares, but he has heavier hands. He has got to gamble on putting Lomachenko down and keeping him on the floor or at least hurt him enough to slow him down and be able to go for the finish which I think he does well.

When Lomachenko gets tagged he generally does one of two things: 1. If he is not hurt, he will come back with three or more shots to stop any momentum that his opponent might gain. 2. When rocked, like I believe he was against Linares, he will circle the ring and buy some time.

In the first case scenario, Lopez should just stay calm, punch with Loma and try to land a counter. If Lomachenko gets on his bike we will see how well Lopez can cut off the ring. Digging to the body with those long shots from the get–go might also pay dividends.

How would you solve “The Matrix” if you were Lopez?

Lomachenko must just be himself minus the odd slipup that happened in the Linares fight. Easier said than done.

How will more than a year’s worth of inactivity affect Lomachenko? Will the rest be a positive or will it dull his reflexes? If it is the latter, it could spell disaster against Lopez, but I have a hunch it will be the former. The COVID inactivity definitely seem to throw an X Factor in there.

Will Lopez find himself in too deep vs. Lomachenko as young Canelo Alvarez was vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.? Photo by Naoki Fukuda

This fight reminds me of the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez fight where a future elite level fighter went up against a much more experienced current pound-for-pound king (well Loma is to me, won’t argue if you prefer Inoue or Canelo). I think it is just a little too soon for Lopez and that he lacks the experience to deal with the Ukrainian phenom.

I have to go with the chalk and pick Vasyl Lomachenko to win a competitive but clear decision that will affirm his greatness but also show that Lopez is good enough to be an elite player in the sport going forward.

Clear something up for me: How come The Ring recognizes Devin Haney and Jermall Charlo as WBC champions and not Loma or Canelo? The WBA’s top tier beltholders are recognized, which in most cases is the “super” champion and following that logic surely Loma and Canelo should be recognized as the legit WBC beltholders? The “franchise” and “super” designations seem like the same thing to me (and I suspect I am probably the only one who cares lol).

Mythical matchups:

Loma vs Fenech at 126

Teofimo Lopez vs Tony Lopez at 135.

Keep up the good work!

Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa

Thanks, Droeks, likewise.

I’ll go with Lomachenko by close UD and Teofimo by mid-to-late stoppage in a war.

Regarding The Ring recognizing Haney as the WBC lightweight titleholder and Jermall Charlo as the WBC middleweight beltholder, when the WBC first announced its “Franchise champion” designation, it was described as an honorary award for very special fighters that wasn’t transferable. In other words, it was said that if Canelo or Loma lost a fight they would STILL be WBC Franchise champs. Once that was clarified we couldn’t treat the Franchise status the same way we do the WBA’s “Super” champions and recognize them above the “minor” beltholders. Of course, the WBC had to go and announce on Monday that the Franchise belt would be on the line in tomorrow’s lightweight championship showdown, so it is kind of like a WBA “Super” title for Lomachenko-Lopez (even though Mauricio Sulaiman doesn’t want fans or media to view it that way). But it will likely go back to being “non-transferable” for the Lomachenko-Lopez winner. Is your head spinning? Good! That’s what you get for asking me about sanctioning body rules. You want to keep it simple? Recognize Loma as THE CHAMP because he holds the Ring Magazine title. Recognize Lopez as the No. 1 lightweight in the world, because that’s where Ring Magazine rates the IBF beltholder. The winner of this fight – whether you want to view him as “undisputed” or not – will be THE LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMP. Period!

Now, let’s get to the fun part – analyzing this excellent matchup. I can see where you and other hardcore fans are coming from when you compare it to Mayweather-Canelo. There are a lot of similarities. However, Lomachenko is more offense-minded than Mayweather and Lopez is more dynamic than Canelo, so there’s a little more chance for an upset here in my opinion (and a much better shot of us getting an entertaining fight).

Like you, I’m going with the chalk, Lomachenko by close UD. I don’t think he’ll get through the fight without experiencing some adversity but I believe he’s got too many moves and too much experience for Lopez to corner or contain at this stage of his career.

Teofimo Lopez has developed into a very good boxer-puncher and for that reason, I give him slightly more than just a puncher’s chance on Saturday night. So do I. If Lomachenko gets sparked it will be a shocking sight, but it won’t be a total shock given their respective sizes and Lopez’s punching prowess.

Lopez-Nakatani. Photo by Mikey Williams/TOP RANK

However, Nakatani has showed that he is not perfect and can get frustrated and Lomachenko can certainly provide plenty of frustration. That’s very true, but it may have been good for Lopez to go 12 rounds and that mediocre performance (which admitted was a letdown) led to him making some changes in his training, which I’m sure has led to improvements.

How do you beat Lomachenko? Some of the best boxers and trainers in the world – amateur and pro – have yet to figure that out. I’m certainly not going know. Lopez just has to be at his best and fight his fight. That’s either going to be enough or it isn’t.

When Lomachenko gets tagged he generally does one of two things: 1. If he is not hurt, he will come back with three or more shots to stop any momentum that his opponent might gain. As he should.

  1. When rocked, like I believe he was against Linares, he will circle the ring and buy some time. Smart move.

In the first case scenario, Lopez should just stay calm, punch with Loma and try to land a counter. That’s generally what Lopez does.

If Lomachenko gets on his bike we will see how well Lopez can cut off the ring. That’s one of the questions about Lopez’s ability that we might see answered tomorrow night.

Digging to the body with those long shots from the get-go might also pay dividends. Always.

How would you solve “The Matrix” if you were Lopez? Seriously, you’re asking the wrong dude. You are aware that an accomplished professional trainer, Stephen “Breadman” Edwards, has his own mailbag (The Daily Bread) over at BoxingScene.com, aren’t you? He’s WAY more qualified than I am to answer this type question.

How will more than a year’s worth of inactivity affect Lomachenko? Will the rest be a positive or will it dull his reflexes? The time off may have been good for him. It may have allowed for some of his nagging injuries to heal.

If it is the latter, it could spell disaster against Lopez, but I have a hunch it will be the former. Likewise.

 

ROOTING FOR LOPEZ

What’s up Dougie,

Hope all is well with you & family during these crazy times. It’s been a while seen I’ve written but of course I had to say something about this fight. I’ve been beating the drum as early as Lopez has about this fight. Before I start with all the questions, I want to take the time to show appreciation to the fighters for taking this fight. As well as for Top Ranks & ESPN for making it FREE! It’s a rare thing to see.

I know many and including you might think it’s too soon for this fight and part of me feels the same but it’s better early than never. So, if Lopez loses I hope the boxing world also gives him the credit for daring to be great. I may not sound like it but I am a big Loma fan, but I’ll be rooting for Lopez and the upset.

Do you think Lopez has the skills to beat Loma or just a puncher’s chance?

I think Lopez has good timing and counter punching which should give him the skills to give as good as he takes.

I also wanted your opinion on Lopez’s emotional breakdowns. Personally I don’t like to see a fighter be so emotional specially for a huge fight like this. I have the belief you can’t show your opponent any weakness. What you think about it and does it show a sign of weakness or strength that his willing to be vulnerable on TV? As we always say boxing can be more mentality than it is physically, and reason I don’t like to see him being emotional.

Now on to Loma do you think any of the trash talking as gotten to Loma’s head as to make him come out and try to stand or take out Lopez? I definitely think he has, just as Rigo Twitter account did a few years back.

Who do you think Top Rank is secretly rooting for here? I would think Lopez because if he wins he has more star potential where as I feel Loma has hit his peak as star potential in the US.

And who winning is better for the future of boxing? Will Loma winning scare others from taking a chance too early or will a Lopez win inspire others to take the chance? – Omar from Paterson

Fernando Vargas. Photo by JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Lopez’s mentality is rare in this era (as is Loma’s). He reminds me a bit of Fernando Vargas, precocious and fearless. When Vargas won his first world title in his 15th pro bout (just like Lopez did) and then beat the likes of Raul Marquez, Winky Wright and Ike Quartey before his 20th pro bout, it’s not like a generation of young fighters decided to emulate him. And they certainly weren’t inspired to go for the gusto when Felix Trinidad stopped Vargas in their modern classic. Few fighters have what it takes to be great, and fewer still are willing to dare to be great.

I don’t think Top Rank is “secretly rooting” for either fighter. They win either way, and so does boxing. If Loma wins, they celebrate the latest achievement of a future hall of famer and get to the business of finding the next challenge for him that could be built into a big event. And I should point out that prior to COVID-19, Loma was in fights that drew about 10,000 to Madison Square Garden (vs. Linares) and to Staples Center (vs. Crolla), as well as a sold-out O2 Arena in London (vs. Campbell), so it’s not like he’s a hard sell or under the radar by any stretch of the imagination.

If Lopez wins, they celebrate the birth of a new star – a potential superstar with his personality, talent and style – and start lining up willing lightweights and junior welterweights for him.

I know many and including you might think it’s too soon for this fight and part of me feels the same but it’s better early than never. That’s one way to look at it. Just because I don’t think Lopez is ready to upset Lomachenko it doesn’t mean that I believe it’s happening too soon. Lopez is Ring Magazine’s No. 1-rated lightweight for a reason. He’s shown exceptional ability throughout his pro career and has earned his shot at the champ.

So, if Lopez loses I hope the boxing world also gives him the credit for daring to be great. Those who would s__t on him need to be ignored. Hardcore boxing fans are always bitching about the best not fighting the best and moaning about major matchups being “over marinated.” If they ridicule or second-guess Lopez for coming up short against a future hall of famer, it’s clear that they’re just miserable complainers. But I like to think that Lopez will put forth such an effort that his stock will raise even if he does lose.

I may not sound like it but I am a big Loma fan, but I’ll be rooting for Lopez and the upset. Nothing wrong with that. You’re certainly not alone.

Do you think Lopez has the skills to beat Loma or just a puncher’s chance? Like you stated, I think he’s got the skills to land the right punches, maybe even the perfect shot, so I think he’s got more than a puncher’s chance.

Lomachenko vs. Jose Pedraza

I think Lopez has good timing and counter punching which should give him the skills to give as good as he takes. We know Lopez can give. We really don’t know how well he takes. And even though Lomachenko isn’t a big puncher at lightweight, he’s accurate, knows how to attack the body, and puts forth the kind of volume-punching and combos that wear men down. A lot of us (including me) point to the struggles he had with Linares, Pedraza and Campbell as evidence that he’s hit his physical ceiling at 135 pounds. However, we shouldn’t forget that he stopped Linares (with a body shot) and severely wore down Pedraza and Campbell by the late rounds (dropping both in Round 11). It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Loma takes Lopez into deep water and drowns the young man.

I also wanted your opinion on Lopez’s emotional breakdowns. Personally, I don’t like to see a fighter be so emotional specially for a huge fight like this. Same here. It’s usually a bad sign. However, we haven’t seen it during the fight-week media events for this fight. He shared about it last year and we saw an on-camera moment during episode 2 of the Blood, Sweat & Tears pre-show, but for all we know that stuff is behind him.

I have the belief you can’t show your opponent any weakness. What you think about it and does it show a sign of weakness or strength that his willing to be vulnerable on TV? I can’t say just yet. Some fighters thrive on emotion. It usually worked for Terry Norris when it wasn’t getting him disqualified. It worked for Vargas until he took on Tito and Oscar.  So far, it’s worked for Lopez.

 

LOMA-LOPEZ, WARRINGTON VS. XU, INOUE-MOLONEY

Sup Doug,

It’s been a while. I hope you and your family are doing fine in the midst this pandemic.

3 things. First is I am super psyched this weekend for the Loma-Lopez matchup. It’s youth and power vs. experience and ring smarts. Lopez is a tremendous boxer and I think a future star since he has the talent and personality to be a crossover star. I will still favor Loma in this one though in decision or maybe a KO. Honestly, I still don’t see anyone beating Loma in the lightweight division although he will have his hands full with his opponent this weekend and Devin Haney. With Garcia and Davis, I still don’t see them giving Loma much of a problem. There is a reason why Davis has not yet called out Loma until now even though he is the mandatory for Loma’s super title. Am I correct on that?

Second, who do you favor in the Warrington-Xu Can matchup? It’s another match that intrigues me the most. Looks like 3 titles will be on the line as Santa Cruz will vacate his title when he fights Davis and Xu Can will be upgraded from regular to super champion by the WBA. So, it will be a unification match for the WBA, IBF with the Ring title will be on the line. How high are you on both Warrington and Xu Can?

Lastly, I can’t wait to see Inoue back in the ring again. His failed unification match with Casimero was a big letdown but still he plans to be the best by targeting to be the undisputed champion at bantamweight. If only fighters nowadays priorities legacy and greatness more than money like Loma and Inoue, boxing will be in a better place.

Also, do you have any news about Canelo’s case against Golden Boy and DAZN? Haven’t heard from them for a while.

That is all bro. I hope this email finds its way into your mailbag. Looking forward to a great finish for boxing this forgettable 2020 and getting back to normal next year!! Take care man and have a safe rest of the year!! Cheers!! – Neil (Philippines)

Thanks, Neil.

All I know about Canelo’s case is that it’s still waiting for a court date. Read this recent update by Jake Donovan on BoxingScene if you have the time and patience. (I appreciate Donovan and BScene for keeping up with the various legal maneuverings of this lawsuit, but I tried reading through all the legal jargon and just gave myself a headache. If you can get through it and decipher it, you’re welcome to explain to me what it all means in plain ole dumb-guy English.)

The man, the myth, THE MONSTER! Ring bantamweight champ Naoya Inoue.

Regarding your thoughts on Inoue, I couldn’t agree more. He and Loma are focused on their legacies more than they are money and fame, and it’s not surprise that both are Ring champs and rated in everybody’s pound-for-pound top five. (It’s also no surprise that they’ve got #salty haters among certain factions of boxing’s hardcore fandom, and sadly among some U.S. boxers.)

I am super psyched this weekend for the Loma-Lopez matchup. It’s youth and power vs. experience and ring smarts. That’s what it looks like on paper, but don’t be surprised if Lopez displays an acute Ring IQ and Lomachenko flashes jolting power combos throughout the bout.

Lopez is a tremendous boxer and I think a future star since he has the talent and personality to be a crossover star. I agree.

I will still favor Loma in this one though in decision or maybe a KO. Honestly, I still don’t see anyone beating Loma in the lightweight division although he will have his hands full with his opponent this weekend and Devin Haney. I agree with this notion as well!

With Garcia and Davis, I still don’t see them giving Loma much of a problem. Maybe not right now, but perhaps that will change in 12-to-18 months if they get past their experienced next opponents and continue to develop.

There is a reason why Davis has not yet called out Loma until now even though he is the mandatory for Loma’s super title. Am I correct on that? I don’t know, man. I’ve stopped keeping track of who “calls out who,” especially when one of the fighters resides on the other side of a promotional/network street. I think Team Tank is more interested in eventually fighting Ryan Garcia than Lomachenko, and that’s OK since Garcia’s next bout (vs. Luke Campbell) could make him the mandatory challenger for either Haney or the Loma-Lopez winner. If Garcia gets past Campbell and goes for either bout, he’s legit in my view.

Xu Can nails Manny Robles. Photo By Tom Hogan/Golden Boy/Getty Images

Second, who do you favor in the Warrington-Xu Can matchup? I really don’t know. They’re both high-volume aggressors. Warrington seems to have more edge, while Xu has an uncanny ability to seem relaxed when he’s under fire or putting it on his opponent. Both seem to really enjoy fighting, but both have underrated craft. I just know it’s a hell of a fight if it can be finalized. I want to see it!

Looks like 3 titles will be on the line as Santa Cruz will vacate his title when he fights Davis and Xu Can will be upgraded from regular to super champion by the WBA. You guys really do pay a lot of attention to what the sanctioning bodies do. God Bless you.

So, it will be a unification match for the WBA, IBF with the Ring title will be on the line. If the match can be made, it’s still to be determined if the vacant Ring Magazine featherweight title will be on the line. Warrington is our No. 1-rated 126 pounder; Xu is No. 3, so the Ring Ratings Panel will need to vote on it. Personally, I’ll probably give it a thumbs up because our though our No. 2-rated featherweight, Gary Russell Jr., might be a better boxer than both Warrington and Xu, the American speed demon’s once-a-year schedule and obsession to only fight Santa

Warrington takes it to Carl Frampton. Photo via @frankwarren_tv

Cruz, Santa Cruz’s dad, Devin Haney and Terence Crawford, rather than the other 126-pound standouts effectively removes him

from the featherweight picture.

How high are you on both Warrington and Xu Can? They’re two of my favorite fighters and I believe that both featherweights have earned their world-class status. Warrington did it in 2018 when he beat Lee Selby and Carl Frampton. Xu did it last year when he beat Jesus Rojas and Manny Robles III.

 

LOMACHENKO-LOPEZ FIGHT PICKS

Mr. Fischer,

Just read the fight picks for Lomachenko vs. Lopez.

Only one expert (Raul Marquez) mentioned that all the opponents of Lopez were standing in front of him. That was also my observation. Seemed as if all were standing there waiting for the final blow. That will never happen with Loma. Sure, Lopez might land a train-stopping punch and then it is all over – this is boxing. From his interview he thinks he can find Loma with a left hook when Loma is taking the sidestep. Might happen. But I don’t think so. Now my question: Besides size and punching power what would be the key to success for Lopez? What should be his game plan? – Matthias, Germany

I have NO IDEA. That’s why I’m a writer/editor and not a trainer/adviser.

But props to you and Marquez, an underrated former world titleholder/boxing commentator/boxing mind, for observing that Lopez has been in with mostly aggressive fighters, not too many cuties or stick-and-move specialists, at least not at the fringe contender/world level.

I know he and his father believe he’s quick and accurate enough to clip Lomachenko no matter what the Ukrainian Wizard does but I’m curious to see how the young upstart deals with the veteran’s feints and punch selection.

And that’s not a swipe at Lopez’s ability or intelligence – I think he’s a dynamic prodigy – I’m just recognizing that he’s going to share the ring with one of the most ring savvy battle-tested elite technicians of the last 15-20 years. The pending answer to questions like this one is part of what makes this championship showdown so compelling.

Let’s all enjoy it!

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Tom Loeffler, Coach Schwartz and friends via Tom’s Periscope every Sunday.

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