Vasiliy Lomachenko still refuses to accept the second loss of his professional career.
The former three-division titlist found time to take issue with a number of factors two months after his 12-round unanimous decision defeat to Teofimo Lopez. Their World lightweight championship clash—which aired live on ESPN from The Bubble at MGM Grand in Las Vegas—saw Brooklyn’s Lopez (16-0, 12KOs) jump out of a big lead in the first half, with Lomachenko playing catchup over the final six rounds but still falling well short in the end.
Judge Tim Cheatham scored the bout 116-112 in favor of Lopez, in line with the general consensus among boxing writers and home viewers. Steve Weisfeld—hailed by many as one of the best judges in the sport today—was slightly wide at 117-111, while Julie Lederman drew sharp criticism for her 119-109 card in favor of Lopez.
The scoring range aside, few took exception to Lopez winning the decision. Naturally among the small crowd who disagreed with the outcome was Lomachenko himself, who goes as far as to suggest the scorecards were filled out in advance.
“However, his win reflects the bias against myself,” Lomachenko insisted during an hour-long video posted on his verified Instagram channel. If we counted scores strictly by the book, the scorecard would be different.
“It’s about being bribed. There was nothing honest about the judging. I don’t know whose game it was. I do think it was someone’s game.”
Such accusations come after Lomachenko (14-2, 10KOs) and his team never took exception to any of the assigned officials for the contest, as told to BoxingScene.com during fight week. The 32-year old southpaw has previously limited his commentary to insisting that Lopez did not deserve to win the fight. It was a stance he carried on fight night moments after suffering his first loss since his second pro bout, and one from which he has refused to budge.
The two-time Olympic Gold medalist and former 126, 130 and 135-pound titlist from Ukraine attempted to validate his claims by breaking down the fight round-by-round to the best of his ability. While never flat out insisting he won more rounds, Lomachenko does suggest that what he viewed as a close fight should have come down to the championship rounds.
“I said that I wasn’t ready to comment on the fight without watching it first, and I said that I thought that I didn’t lose the fight. And I can repeat it today—I didn’t lose the fight,” insists Lomachenko, who carried 13-fight win streak since a narrow points loss to Orlando Salido in his second pro bout. “I watched it around five times. I took the 2nd round. He took the 1st, 3rd, 4th (and) 5th rounds. The 6th (round) remains questionable.
“I took one round in the first half of the fight and five rounds for the second (half), specifically rounds 7-11. We’ve got 6-6 which is a draw. And if it’s a draw we use the unspoken rule of boxing. We look for rounds 10-12 and I won two of them. It’s 2-1. Even if I won three round the first half of the fight, I wouldn’t have won the fight on the scorecards. What does that say?”
An inquiry placed by BoxingScene.com to Bob Bennett, executive director of Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) seeking comment on the bribery accusations went unreturned as this goes to publish.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox