For as long as he has been involved in professional boxing, Vasyl Lomachenko has been fighting for some kind of championship. And after an amateur record that was reported to be 396-1, BetAnySports customers saw him get his world title opportunity early. Now, after fifteen fights, he is considered by some to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Teofimo Lopez has fifteen pro fights too, but he has never really been tested like he is going to be tested on Saturday night, as he will fight Lomachenko with three lightweight (135-pound) title belts on the line - the WBA, IBF and WBO - at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.
This is not a pay-per-view fight - it will be televised on ESPN and should get underway at about 10 PM ET.
Loma is 14-1 with 10 KO's, while Lopez is 15-0 with 12 KO's. But these fight-by-fight records aren't all that similar.
For one thing, while Lopez has consistently been a lightweight since turning pro in 2016, Loma has been one of those fighters who hasn't stayed in one division particularly long. he began as a featherweight and lost to Orlando Salido in an attempt to win the WBO 126-pound crown in only his second pro fight. Salido actually couldn't make the weight, and was stripped. So Loma won it against Gary Russell three months later. He has subsequently won belts at 130 and 135.
On the way up, Lomachenko has fought a steady diet of fighters more experienced (as pros anyway) and definitely accomplished fighters. This includes not only Salido and Russell, but also the likes of Suriya Tatakhun, Nicholas Walters, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Jorge Linares, Jose Pedraza and Luke Campbell.
Lopez, a National Golden Gloves champion and winner of the Olympic Trials who wound up representing Honduras in the 2016 Games, hasn't necessarily faced a non-credible list of opponents, but there is still an impression that while his talent is obvious, he has been "steered" a bit more. Even so, his second-round KO of Richard Commey in December was a spectacular effort.
When you look at it, however, there isn't much comparison between the opposition level of each fighter.
Here are the odds on the fight as they have been posted at BetAnySports:
Vasyl Lomachenko -418
Teofimo Lopez +337
Over 10.5 Rounds -205
Under 10.5 Rounds +173
What should be established from the start is that Lomachenko isn't going to have any size or strength advantages. Lopez is the naturally bigger man and he's probably going to have to see how he can exploit that. Salido had suggested earlier this week that the way for him to beat Loma would be to land body shots and slow down his opponent's attack. There is no question that Lopez has to figure out a way to make Loma respect him. Maybe it is through those body shots, or some kind of power blow that could change the tone of the fight moving forward. He's got the right hand to do it with. We don't deny that.
If Lopez allows Loma to get into the same pattern he has exhibited in most fights, that will never bode well. The Ukranian, who is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, moves form side to side, hitting from all angles, and throws punches in bunches. It's like that old Chinese torture of "death from a thousand paper cuts." It is so difficult for most opponents to keep pace with his workload that they get frustrated. Such was the case with Walters and Rigondeaux, notably. He just makes guys quit, or feel like quitting.
When you have somebody like that, who is, truth be told, much more experienced (Loma also had fights in the "World Series of Boxing," which is a pro-amateur hybrid), it isn't a great mix for the fighter who is stepping up in class, which would be Lopez. I don't know; there's just this sense about the fight that the young man is taking it too soon, both in terms of his professional development and, well, just business. This could have probably been a bigger fight if it came later.
Maybe that will be moot, if it is good enough that there's a rematch by popular demand.
For this particular night, though, I'm thinking Lomachenko is going to prove to be too busy. For his high-octane style (he carries the nickname "Hi-Tech"), there is just no way Lopez could possibly get sparring to properly prepare for it. However, all those paper cuts aren't going to cut down the whole tree, in my opinion, so Lopez goes the distance. Maybe I don't want to lay -418 on Loma, or -205 on the "over," which is why it's good that BetAnySports has so many props on this fight. Enough, in fact, that we couldn't possibly mention all of them.
What we CAN do, though, is focus on an exact outcome. Lomachenko by 12-round decision is priced at -110, so that is the direction we'll go.
And if you want to check out all the props on Saturday's action, not to mention more odds on more fights from around the world than you could possibly imagine, check out BetAnySports. And remember that you can open an account with your debit card, credit card, person-to-person transfers or the virtual currecy of Bitcoin, which is fast and easy with their automated system, and NEVER incurs a transaction fee!