Teofimo Lopez has boxed beyond the sixth round just twice in 15 professional fights.
The first of those two bouts resulted in a seventh-round stoppage for the Brooklyn-based knockout artist against Diego Magdaleno. The second such match marked the only 12-round fight of his four-year pro career – an unremarkable but wide win over Masayoshi Nakatani in the bout before he ravaged Richard Commey to become a world champion barely three years into his career.
Lopez’s lack of extensive experience as a professional sometimes prompts opponents to predict that they’ll take him into deep waters and proverbially drown him. The unbeaten IBF lightweight champion cannot help but laugh off such suggestions, even from a seasoned star like Vasiliy Lomachenko.
The 23-year-old Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) feels that the 32-year-old Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) is in for a shock if that’s what the three-division champion anticipates will happen when they square off October 17 in Las Vegas.
All but one of Lomachenko’s 15 professional fights have been scheduled for 12 rounds, and five of those 14 bouts have gone the distance. The two-time Olympic gold medalist has experienced 131 rounds in 15 fights as a pro, whereas Lopez logged 60 rounds in the same amount of pro appearances.
Lopez promised none of that will matter when they fight for his IBF belt and Lomachenko’s WBA and WBO lightweight titles a week from Saturday night at MGM Grand Conference Center (ESPN).
“I think that’s everyone’s game plan, and I think that’s the best thing that I always love, is the fact that deep waters, right?,” Lopez said during a virtual press conference Monday. “People always wanna take me to deep waters. And the fact that they don’t understand is that I live in deep waters. I’m a shark. You know what I mean? And that’s what it comes to, so try to take me to deep waters and it just, it ends up becoming their downfall, you know?
“And that’s why if this fight goes to the 12 rounds … I understand that Lomachenko may be a slow starter and he picks up as the rounds continue, but so do I. And I think that this is definitely gonna be a chess match, a great fight and I don’t look at it like Mayweather-Canelo. And if it is, I’m Mayweather.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.