It’s been a long time since a great fight has arrested my attention. I have not even bothered to write a boxing article since July. Lomachenko vs Lopez has rekindled my lost love for boxing.
Loma vs Lopez is the best vs the best, a rare occurence in modern boxing, which has been diseased by the Mayweather Haymon business approach of taking nothing but low risk and or rigged fixes and shamefully avoiding high risk superfights that the public clamors to pay to see.
Boxing in recent years has failed miserably in America. The pay-per-view model was destroyed, as were relations with two of boxing’s biggest TV network supporters – HBO and Showtime is nothing more than an Al Haymon puppet operation.
But now suddenly the tide has turned in boxing and tonight we have the Vasyl Lomachenko vs Teofimo Lopez for the undisputed Lightweight championship. This is boxing at it’s best, a real grudge fight between two of the best and most colorful gladiators in the sport. Both could have ducked and dodged and mayweathered their way out of this showdown but each agreed to take the big risk.
The result is pure intrigue and fascination. Every time either speaks, you stop and listen carefully, looking for clues and hints of confidence, fear, doubt. The press conference two days ago was as compelling as any I’ve ever seen and I’ve witnessed hundreds. There is absolutely no sense at all that this is a scripted, rigged business fight to serve the interests of the promoter, where one guy knows he will win and the other knows he is the hired patsy and has to lose.
Since the two greed kings Mayweather and Haymon became leading figures in the US boxing boxing scene, the sport has been devoid of seeing the best vs the best. Haymon tried and failed to create stars but he failed because he always protected his assets from facing the best.
The best vs the best is the lifeblood of the sport, it’s the main attraction that draws fans, media, buzz, hype, future boxers, etc. If the sport conspires to continually cheat the public out of producing the best vs the best, it’s a virtual ponzi scheme.
Seeing the best vs the best can literally make you shake and shiver before the fight even starts, as you watch both fighters enter the ring. Big fights in boxing have altered my body chemistry like this countless times…Lewis vs Golota, Klitschko vs Peter, Tarver vs Jones, Hopkins vs Trinidad, Lewis vs Tyson, Holyfield vs Tyson, Bowe vs Golota, Klitschko vs Lennox, to name a few.
My friend Phil Anselmo told me he watched Lewis vs Rahman 1 every day for a month straight, while on tour with one of his rock bands. When the knockout happened he jumped so high he hit his head on the tour bus ceiling.
There is something so inspiring about seeing a man overcome everything in the world and show physical and mental greatness against another man in a boxing ring. But it has to be real. And when it’s authentic, it’s as potent as a natural drug. What is more insiring than seeing a man get up from failure and somehow will himself to turn the tables and conquer the world?
All these Mayweather and Haymon fights for the last decade all looked and felt rigged in one way or another. And boxing went down the drain.
But now we have a monumental moment coming tonight. The two saviors for boxing are here. Teofimo Lopez and Vasyl Lomachenko will not only try to prove who is the best, but their efforts will alter the course for the entire sport. And for sure, Fury vs Joshua, Spence vs Crawford will happen soon. And boxing will return again to the glory days of the 70s and 80s.
Vitali vs Lennox Artwork by John Murawski.
Scoop Artwork by Sen Lacson.