What a difference a year makes.
Last October, Teofimo Lopez Jr. became the topic of conversation in the boxing world when he backed up the bold claims by him and his trainer / father to upset Vasiliy Lomachenko and take control of the weight division. lightweight as a unified champion.
At 23, Lopez seemed destined for stardom and debuted on everyone’s pound-for-pound list at just 16 fights in his professional career. With lightning-fast reflexes, punch-out power, and the confidence to pull off such an unorthodox style built on equal parts of athleticism and IQ, the boxing world was the oyster of Lopez.
So how did we get to where we are today, some 13 months later, with Lopez healing his injuries after a shocking loss last Saturday to unannounced mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr.? Whatever precise reason one identifies from the outside, Lopez could be on the verge of an epic career freefall if the chaos surrounding his team and family is not cleaned up quickly.
Lopez had no game plan beyond the reckless pursuit of a 12-round knockout, despite being a monstrous betting favorite against Kambosos. He was let go harshly in the first round and failed to adapt in any form to what his upstart opponent threw at him, even after rallying for a turn 10 knockdown on which he did not. has never been able to capitalize.
The 13-month layoff that Lopez interrupted upon entering the fight was anything but normal. After forcing a scholarship offer because he was not satisfied with the Top Rank promoter’s minimum bid, Lopez appeared to make the system work in his favor when Triller Fight Club won the broadcast rights to the fight with a exorbitant offer of more than 6 million dollars.
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But the fight never took place and was ultimately delayed eight times almost comically until Triller ultimately fell short of the offer. Lopez reportedly found himself cash poor after paying the money for so many training camps that never came to fruition. But that was just the tip of the iceberg of Lopez’s editing problems.
Whether it was for financial reasons, arrogance or more because of a rudderless ship, Lopez failed to retain assistant coach Joey Gamache and the nutrition company he previously used. to help reduce weight. The loss of the former became glaring once adversity hit the Kambosos fight where Lopez’s father and coach failed to provide any form of strategic or helpful advice in the corner.
Reports also began to surface after losing Lopez’s emotional difficulty throughout the previous year’s promotional soap opera, which included numerous parties while facing the dissolution of his marriage, as his wife was pregnant with their son.
On Tuesday, Boxing Scene released a feature film that further delved into Lopez’s delusional state of mind and bizarre antics before and after Kambosos’ loss, which fans got to see firsthand during Lopez’s irrational post-fight interview.
Nothing about Lopez’s meteoric rise has ever been normal, from the carnival barks of his father to the constant behind-the-scenes drama involving his family, including a backstage altercation between Lopez’s wife, mother and sister. moments before he stepped into the ring in his 2019 Victory over Masayoshi Nakatani who saw the fighter openly distracted in a patchy performance that unknowingly served as a harbinger of doom that would not flourish before Kambosos.
Given what we now know of Lopez, he makes his October comments which were provided during a media melee in Las Vegas on how he thought about suicide several times in the past year all the more worrying.
Lopez is young enough that the addition of time off, a new coach and a heavy dose of humility could be enough for the fighter once thought to be mature beyond his years to save his career after such a disastrous implosion. But sometimes in the rise of a young fighter, toothpaste doesn’t get back into the tube so easily.
Mike Tyson was only a few months younger than Lopez today when he came on the brink of the biggest upheaval in boxing history against James “Buster” Douglas in 1990. The loss was not just a loss. A bad night at the office, it was the culmination of a chaotic life that got out of hand, and while Tyson would once again become heavyweight champion on the road, he was unmistakably not the same after the shocked defeat.
Hoping Lopez can find the much-needed peace outside the ring as he steps out of the P4P top 10 in a way that could facilitate a successful comeback inside.
Pound for pound ranking
Abandoned: Teofimo Lopez Jr.
Honorable mention: Juan Francisco Estrada, Artur Beterbiev, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Yordenis Ugas, Jermell Charlo