Teofimo Lopez (16-1 12kos) was riding high after upsetting one of the pounds for pound best Vasiliy Lomachenko last October. He won a 12 round decision and became the unified lightweight king. He then returned with lots of talk on his next fight and when it should be, but nothing came to be. A Triller card was supposed to happen and then a lot of mess stopped it. Then his fight with George Kambosos (21-0 10kos) was finally set. Many figured Lopez would win easily against the IBF mandatory and go to bigger things. Kambosos assured he’d walk out the winner. The buildup was great, and this fight did not disappoint.
Lopez came out guns blazing and was trying to hurt Kambosos early he was throwing from everywhere, but Kambosos was avoiding and catching Lopez with clean counters. Towards the end of the round as Lopez continued to press forward Kambosos landed an overhand right that sent Lopez down for the second time in his career. The punch didn’t seem to hurt Lopez in the way of a badly shaken legs, but it was a perfect shot that did drop him and built confidence for the challenger and had the champion knowing this would be no walk in the park.
The action never stopped as both fighters kept coming back and forth landing shots. Kambosos seemed to always get the better of the exchanges as he never let Lopez get comfortable. Lopez would land shots but seemed flustered and would not let the jab go. Kambosos landed a jab and would always follow the right after it. Lopez could not avoid the right hand at all and was getting tagged and bruised up.
Lopez finally got to Kambosos towards the late middle rounds as he cut him over his eye and looked to gain confidence. Kambosos never let it show any effects as he kept coming forward though he was getting hit a bit more often now he was showing why he was sure of himself in the lead up. Kambosos never stopped in moments to put himself in danger that wasn’t needed. Lopez looked frustrated as he seemed to be looking for one big shot that wasn’t landing. The nervous energy and loading up on his punches seemed to be having effect on him with his activity. Going into the last few round Lopez seemed to be at least a few rounds behind going into the and needed something big to give himself a chance.
The chance came as in round ten Lopez landed a chopping right hand and dropped Kambosos. Lopez did attempt to follow up, but Kambosos showed smarts and skills as he stayed on his feet and was able to survive the attack. The moment was big, and Lopez couldn’t grasp it as he let the challenger get out of the round with more damage. Kambosos then did what he needed to do as he closed the show and won the last two rounds as Lopez seemed to fatigue and couldn’t get shots off.
The scores were read, and the upset was official as Kambosos won by scores of (115-11, 114-112, 114-113 Lopez). Lopez believed he won, but Kambosos had earned the win. He showed the effort and belief as the crowd was stunned at the outcome but agreeing that Kambosos was the rightful new champion. Lopez will need to regroup and more than likely move up to 140 pounds. Kambosos has major opportunities now with Devin Haney taking on Joseph Diaz Jr next week we could see a real undisputed fight with Kambosos for the winner. Boxing is the theater of the unexpected and once again it showed when done right there is nothing like it.