The Brooklyn-born Lopez silenced many of his doubters Saturday, blowing away the highly-regarded Richard Commey in two rounds at Madison Square Garden to lift the IBF lightweight title. The time of stoppage was 1:13, as referee David Fields stepped in to rescue the defenseless Commey from Lopez’s nonstop barrage along the ropes.
“Anything is possible!,” Lopez (15-0, 12 knockouts) shouted from mid-ring after his victory.
It was the sort of performance that the 22-year-old needed to build anticipation for a fight with Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs), the Ukrainian star who holds the WBO, WBC and WBA titles at 135 pounds.
Both Lopez and Lomachenko are promoted by Top Rank, meaning a showdown for the undisputed championship is far more manageable to make.
Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti says that fight is being targeted for April 2020.
“You all know who I want to fight next. 2020 is going to be a big year,” Lopez said, without mentioning Lomachenko’s name specifically. “‘The Takeover’ has arrived, and you haven’t seen anything yet.”
Lomachenko, who was at ringside, didn’t appear overawed by the knockout as he voiced his interest in bringing all of the belts together.
“We want to ‘unificate’ all four titles,” said Lomachenko, 31.
“Now [Lopez is] a world champion and now he’s in position to fight me.”
After a quiet first round, Lopez began the quick descent into the bout’s conclusion with a right hand that sent Commey down hard to a knee, and then stumbling face-forward into the back of the referee’s legs.
Commey, who was making the second defence of the belt he won in February with a similar result against Isa Chaniev, was essentially done at that moment, and would have likely not been allowed to continue had he not been the incumbent.
But the proud Ghanaian Commey (29-3, 26 KOs) rose up in vain, and absorbed several more punches before the fight was waived off.
Afterwards, Lopez donned the jersey of LSU Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow, who had won the Heisman trophy as college football’s top player earlier in the night, and then hit his trademark running backflip before striking the Heisman pose.
A year ago, Lopez had paid similar tribute to Kyler Murray a year ago, after scoring a first round KO of Mason Menard at The Theater at MSG, when the quarterback won the Heisman.
Lopez, 22, was one of the sport’s fastest rising stars in the sport, but had lost some of his luster in a tough win over unheralded Japanese banger Masayoshi Nakatani in July.
Commey, 32, had earned a lot of goodwill for his 2016 efforts against Robert Easter Jr. and Denis Shafikov, which ended in split decision losses that many felt could have gone Commey’s way.
“[Commey] is a bad man. His shot could’ve done the same to me if he hit me with that shot,” said Lopez.
Commey had missed a right salvo almost at the same time Lopez landed his thudding right that sent the Ghanaian and his crumbling empire stumbling across the canvas.
It turned out to be the beginning from the end, culminating in his eventual loss of his IBF lightweight crown, in one of the shortest reigns in Ghanaian boxing history.
In December, last year at the same ‘crime scene’, the Madison Square Gardens, another beloved Ghanaian world champion endured a worse beatdown at the hands of the ‘trigger-happy’ Mexican puncher, Emmanuel Navarrete, the current holder of the WBO super bantamweight title.
Incidentally, Commey’s loss to the Honduran-American, Teofimo Lopez, marks the third time a Ghanaian world champion has defended his world title against a Lopez, at different locations across the globe, without recording victory.
EDITED FROM: ringtv.com