By John J. Raspanti
How many fighters can say that their performance arguably stole the show on a Vasyl Lomachenko card?
Teofimo Lopez can.
The 21-year-old Lopez, who fights out of Las Vegas, wowed the crowd at the iconic Madison Square Garden a few weeks ago by stretching Mason Menard with one-punch in 44 seconds, on the undercard of the Lomachenko - Pedraza fight.
Lopez (11-0, 9 KOs) had made something of splash last July when he stopped William Silva, and then proceeded to emulate a home run trot in the boxing ring. Many cheered, and some booed, but Lopez was being noticed.
Boxing fans love power, and so far, at least, Lopez’s power looks real. He began his career a year ago with five knockouts in six fights. The cocky kid recently mentioned fighting Lomachenko himself in the very near future.
The Menard fight was supposed to be a step-up for Lopez. Menard had only lost twice, being knocked out by Raymundo Beltran and stopped by rising Devan Haney seven months ago. So perhaps his chin is a little suspect, by nobody expected him to be obliterated so quickly.
“Calling me a prospect is OK, but it doesn’t take away from what I did,” Lopez told Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated a few weeks ago.
“I wanted to test him, (Menard) and I took a chance early in the fight,” said Lopez. “I know he trained hard, and he didn’t want it to go that way. But this is ‘The Takeover. The Takeover’ has begun. In 2019, I will be a world champion. That’s a guarantee.”
Lopez has signed to fight former world challenger Diego Magdaleno on Feb.2 – as part of the undercard of the Eleider Alvarez – Sergey Kovalev rematch.
Will he steal the show again? Could be, knockouts sell tickets.