LAS VEGAS – Teofimo Lopez Sr. wasn’t worried before the official scores were read Saturday night that his son wouldn’t get credit for the win he had earned versus Vasiliy Lomachenko.
In fact, he thought judge Julie Lederman was spot on with how she scored their 12-round, 135-pound title unification fight at MGM Grand Conference Center. Lederman credited Lopez with winning 11 of the 12 rounds and scored their fight 119-109 for him.
Promoter Bob Arum, whose company represents Lopez and Lomachenko, called Lederman’s scorecard “ridiculous.”
Lopez’s father/trainer couldn’t have disagreed more with Arum’s assessment. He used the same word to describe the 116-112 score submitted by judge Tim Cheatham. The third judge, Steve Weisfeld, scored the action 117-111 for Lopez, who won a unanimous decision.
“There was no way we could’ve got robbed with this fight, you know,” Lopez Sr. said during a post-fight press conference. “Even though they had it 116-112 on one of the cards, I thought that was ridiculous. You know, I think the right score was 119-. I could give him that. You know, I think that judge was watching the fight that we had [Saturday night]. I think that [she] had the best score, you know?”
Lederman, Weisfeld and Cheatham scored 11, nine and eight rounds, respectively, for Brooklyn’s Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs), who, at 23, became the youngest fully unified champion in boxing’s four-belt era.
Lomachenko won only the 11th round on Lederman’s card. Cheatham credited Ukraine’s Lomachenko for winning four straight rounds – the eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th.
Weisfeld scored the eighth, 10th and 11th rounds for Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs), who lost for the first time in 6½ years.
“I really didn’t see [Lomachenko] winning any rounds because, to me, my son was hitting him with the bigger shots,” Lopez Sr. said. “He was playing dirty in there. He was trying to head-butt him. He head-butted him a lot of times in his eyes, and I was telling him, ‘Listen, man, don’t let this guy keep on going because he’s gonna end up cutting you.’ You know, I told him that like around the eighth round, and it came to happen, you know? But, yeah, he got desperate because he knew that he could only win by knockout.”
The elder Lopez sensed almost immediately that Lomachenko would struggle with their strategy.
The three-division champion didn’t throw many punches and mostly moved away from Lopez throughout the first half of their fight. The two-time Olympic gold medalist was much more aggressive in the second half of their bout, but by then he had lost too many rounds to catch up on the scorecards.
“We got this thing that we call the pyramid,” Lopez Sr. said. “And basically, you know, it goes like into an angle, where you could touch the fighter, but the fighter can’t touch you. When I seen Lomachenko having a hard time with that, I knew that we was gonna win this fight, you know? Right away, I found out. You know, I’ve gotta give a lot of respect to Lomachenko for taking those big shots, you know, early on into the fight.
“And, you know, he wanted to win. He just couldn’t figure out my son. My son was the better man today. We did something that everybody thought we couldn’t do – we out-boxed him. You know, we gave him a clinic. You know, and I’m just so glad, man, that everything that I said came into existence.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.