Teofimo Lopez likened his showdown with Vasiliy Lomachenko to a primal battle between a young lion and an old lion during a virtual press conference Monday.
A day later, the 32-year-old Lomachenko scoffed at the contention that he is anything resembling old.
“I don’t think about age because I’m just 32 years old,” Lomachenko said Tuesday as part of his own virtual press conference. “Who made the rules about age in boxing? It depends on the person’s lifestyle. Somebody [could be] old at 27 and at 30. Somebody [could be old at] 45, 47. I feel great and I feel young.”
Ukraine’s Lomachenko has won world titles in three divisions during his seven-year career, but he has just 15 professional fights on his record. The 23-year-old Lopez points to his upcoming opponent’s extensive amateur background – nearly 400 fights and two Olympic trips – as evidence that the highly skilled southpaw isn’t as youthful as Lomachenko likes to think.
Nevertheless, Lomachenko’s manager, Egis Klimas, doesn’t think age will be a factor, either, when Lomachenko and Lopez square off October 17 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas (ESPN).
“Somebody says Bob Arum is old,” Klimas joked, “and somebody says Bob Arum is still a young man and he surprised me.”
Arum, whose company promotes Lomachenko and Lopez, is two months shy of his 89th birthday.
“Age is just a number,” Arum added, before referring to a legend he used to promote. “That’s what George Foreman said – age is just a number, and he won the heavyweight championship at age 45.”
Their age gap notwithstanding, Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) is consistently listed as a 3-1 favorite versus Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs). He has won 13 straight fights since Mexico’s Orlando Salido (44-14-4, 31 KOs, 1 NC) beat him by split decision in just the second professional fight of Lomachenko’s career 6½ years ago in San Antonio.
Lopez and Lomachenko will fight for Lomachenko’s WBA and WBO titles, as well as Lopez’s IBF belt. Lomachenko also is the WBC’s franchise lightweight champion.
“You’ve got the old lion versus the young lion,” Lopez said. “You know, and it’s amazing just to have this opportunity, and being able to fight for winner takes all. Just like in the poster – winner takes all, and that’s what it comes to come October 17th. One fighter. Two go in that ring, one comes out undisputed world champion.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.