"I think I could convince my son to fight him again," said Teofimo Lopez's father. But would the result be different if Vasiliy Lomachenko gets a rematch?
Tuesday 29 June 2021 15:37, UK
Teofimo Lopez’s outspoken father was sat at ringside, passionately applauding and celebrating the victory of his son’s rival Vasiliy Lomachenko on Saturday night.
Lomachenko saw him, he knew Lopez Sr was there.
A fuse has been lit for one of boxing's most intriguing rematches - an opportunity for Lomachenko to prove his surprise loss to Lopez last year was a fluke caused by an injury, like he has been suggesting.
It is also the fight that could end Lomachenko's aura forever. If his theory is wrong, and the truth is that Lopez is too young, fresh and strong, then the genius Ukrainian may never regain the momentum he re-established on Saturday night.
Lomachenko was a whirlwind of yellow and blue in Las Vegas in his comeback fight, trapping Masayoshi Nakatani in an unescapable flurry of razor-sharp punches that resulted in his demise in the ninth round. Only Nakatani's bravery prevented an earlier stoppage.
The opponent was a cold-hearted choice from Lomachenko - Nakatani's only previous loss in 19 fights came against Lopez. He went the distance with Lopez who called his own performance "horrible" and admitted he had trouble with Nakatani's height.
Lomachenko had no such issues, sending a resounding warning to Lopez by doing a far better job in dispatching Nakatani.
The rematch now feels on, fuelled by the presence of Lopez's father at ringside.
"It's my job and duty to bring them together for the fight everyone wants to see," Top Rank's Bob Arum, who promotes both men, told ESPN.
"There will be a winner and a loser, but there will be two rich guys when the thing's over."
Lopez must first defend the IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight titles that he unified against Lomachenko against George Kambosos in a postponed fight that still requires a finalised date.
Lopez's father said about Lomachenko: "I think I could convince my son to fight him again."
Lomachenko said: "Everybody is waiting for the rematch [with Lopez], so let's make a rematch.
"He has a fight in the future with Kambosos, but how about after, in the beginning of next year? December, January, February, I am waiting."
Lomachenko lost via unanimous decision to Lopez last year, an upset result which he blamed on a shoulder injury sustained very early in the fight that prohibited the use of his right arm. He had surgery two days later.
He was also frustrated by the judging - his manager Egis Klimas claimed "revenge" was taken by one who scored the fight widest in Lopez's favour after Lomachenko had requested no judges from either of their home bases.
Shakur Stevenson hit out that Lomachenko was making "100 excuses rather than trying to enforce the rematch".
The Ukrainian, who won world titles in two then three divisions in the fewest-ever fights, partially batted back that accusation with a brilliant performance against Nakatani.
But doubts will remain unless he can avenge the loss to Lopez.
As the days tick on, 23-year-old Lopez adds experience to the physical advantages he already had. Lomachenko, a decade senior to Lopez, will only get older.
But with age comes the determination to correct the most major blemish of his career. Time is running out to finally gain revenge.