The aftermath of Vasiliy Lomachenko defeating Masayoshi Nakatani by ninth-round TKO on Saturday night had Teofimo Lopez Sr. and Top Rank's Bob Arum handshake on delivering a Lopez vs. Lomachenko rematch.
As long as Lopez defends his unified lightweight titles against George Kambosos Jr. later this summer — something he'll be a heavy favorite to do — the buildup to Lopez vs. Lomachenko 2 on pay-per-view should be massive. And if their first go at it back in October — when Lopez scored a unanimous decision — was any indication, this promotion will likely be contentious between the two.
But how did bad blood get embedded into the feud in the first place? And why is it so personal between the champion and former champ? Well, DAZN News lays it all out with this brief timeline of beef between Teofimo Lopez and Vasiliy Lomachenko.
- December 6, 2018: Lopez Sr. allegedly extends a hand toward Lomachenko in the lobby of the Stewart Hotel in New York City, where Lomachenko is set to fight Jose Pedraza later that week. Lopez Sr., a year later, explained to ESPN's Mark Kriegel how the interaction was rather icy and how Loma's body language said 'I'm better than you. Your son is not at my level.' In an interview with RingTV.com, Egis Klimas, Lomachenko's manager had a different recollection: "(Top Rank matchmaker Brad (Goodman) said to me, ‘Teofimo (Lopez) Sr. just jumped Lomachenko in the hotel lobby and started yelling, ‘My son is going to kill you,’ ‘My son is going to take your head off,’ and made cut-throat (gestures) with his finger (across his neck)." Thus, the genesis for how this feud got personal quickly.
- Dec. 8, 2018: Lomachenko scores dominating unanimous decision victory over Pedraza to become a unified lightweight champion. Lopez demolishes Mason Menard in 44 seconds in a highlight reel KO on the undercard, arguably stealing some of Loma's thunder. After the win, Lopez declares: "'The Takeover' has begun. In 2019 you will see me with a strap that says world's champion. We're in the stage of my career where we can change boxing and bring it back. You all haven't seen anything like me in a long time."
- Feb. 19, 2019: Lopez appears on Max on Boxing and tells host Max Kellerman: "I feel like (Lomachenko) does the same thing over and over again when it comes to footwork, moving to the same side. There's three or four ways to beat Lomachenko ... But I can't say." These comments came 17 days after he flattened Diego Magdaleno by seventh-round KO, getting further traction with "The Takeover" he was branding.
- April 12, 2019: Lomachenko defeats Anthony Crolla via fourth-round KO. During the post-fight press conference, Lomachenko is asked to rank the order of difficulty between future opponents Mikey Garcia, Teofimo Lopez and Luke Campbell.
Lomachenko says: "I think the (hardest) will be Campbell, second place is Mikey and ... second Mikey." In essence, he snubs Lopez, altogether. The same night has Lopez Sr. telling FightHype.com: "Lomachenko said he doesn't want to fight my son unless he has a belt, so we are going to bring the belt, and then you know what you are gonna see? You are gonna see him drop to 130 because he's scared of my son, and I know that already. My son is going to take this guy (Lomachenko) out in less than three rounds."
July 16, 2019: In further drumming up the collision course between his son and Lomachenko, Lopez Sr. doubles down on Teofimo knocking Loma out. This time, he does it while appearing on the 3 Knockdown Rule podcast: "Everybody glorifies this guy, and that's one thing that (Teofimo) doesn't understand. The guy [Lomachenko] is terrible. We're going to take this guy out in less than three rounds, I'll say it right now." Lopez Jr. adds: "People want to see this fight, and they call it a megafight. My dude (referring to Lomachenko), you've been a two-time Olympic gold medalist, multiple weight division champion and all that, yet you still can't get a pay-per-view fight?"
Dec. 14, 2019: Lopez earns his first world championship shot against IBF titleholder Richard Commey and delivers a scintillating second-round TKO. The win not only makes him world champ, but sets up a mega bout against Lomachenko, who makes his way into the ring at Madison Square Garden. Lopez tells Arum: "Get him the f—k out of my stage." Arum replies: "We need him to promote this fight. Don't f—k it up." Lopez winds up calling Lomachenko over to him in the ring and drapes his left arm around Loma's shoulder to take a promotional shot to get the ball rolling on the April fight.
- April 2020: The COVID-19 global pandemic shuts down the prospect of Lomachenko vs. Lopez in their title unification bout for the spring. It also clears out a slate of boxing events that were planned around the world.
- July 22, 2020: Lopez stands in front of Madison Square Garden and tweets out video warning Lomachenko: "Don't forget to bring my belts."
- Aug. 12, 2020: Lomachenko vs. Lopez gets new date of Oct. 17 on national television.
- Sept. 8, 2020: During an appearance on ESPN's First Take, Lopez shares: "A lot of these fighters respect this man (Lomachenko) too much. I'm in the fight game. I don't respect no man once I'm in that ring." He added: This guy (Lomachenko), he's already on his way out, and it's showing. Your body can only take so much damage, and I guarantee you, we are going to put some damage on this man."
- Oct. 14, 2020: During their final fight press conference, Lomachenko doubles down on calling Lopez's KO of Commey a "lucky punch," adding "they were just going to hit each other and Lopez was the first to land the punch." Lopez responds: "I guess I'm going to be throwing a lot of lucky punches Saturday."
- Oct. 16, 2020: Lopez tells TMZ Sports that the fight is "personal," adding "I don’t fear you — and I don’t have no type of respect towards you."
- Oct. 17, 2020: Lopez defeats Lomachenko by unanimous decision to become the new unified lightweight champion of the world. And he does it by out-boxing the boxer, who many believed was the pound-for-pound best.
- Oct. 21, 2020: When asked by the New York Times, if the fight against Lomachenko was what he expected, Lopez says: "No. I was disappointed. Everybody was speaking so highly about this guy, I wanted to see it for myself. But when I got there it was the total opposite. I don’t take anything away from the guy. But he played our game. We took him into our game plan. Whatever they had in mind, we took away his blueprint." More inflammatory is what Lopez tells TMZ Sports on the same day, shutting down the prospect of a rematch: "F—k him. I won fair and square."
- Dec. 18, 2020: In his first major interview since losing the titles to Lopez, Lomachenko declares on his YouTube account that he feels like the fight should have ended in a draw. He goes on to insinuate that there was foul play.
“I took one round from the first half of the fight and five rounds from the second half — from round seven to round 11. We’ve got six each, which is a draw," Lomachenko says. He adds later: “What does it say? It’s not about bias, it’s about being bribed. There was nothing about honest judging. I don’t know whose game it was. I do think it was somebody’s game.”
- May 22, 2021: A guest ringside for Josh Taylor vs. Jose Ramirez, Lomachenko tells ESPN's Mark Kriegel that his fight with Lopez should have been scored as a draw: “My opinion now after watching (the fight) a lot of times, my opinion it was a draw." He added that a deciding factor in inking a fight with Nakatani was because the Japanese fighter gave Lopez issues, before Lopez was declared the unanimous decision victor in their July 2019 fight. "I want to compare myself with this guy (Lopez)," said Lomachenko about using Nakatani as a measuring stick to do so. "He was close with (Lopez) in their fight. He’s a great opponent for me.”
- June 26, 2021: Lomachenko surgically delivers ninth-round TKO of Nakatani, before calling out Lopez. "He has a fight in the future with Kambosos," Lomachenko said during his post-fight interview. "December, January, February. I’m waiting."