By Anthony “Zute” George – After over a year on the shelf, Teofimo Lopez Jr. will be in action. The Takeover will be ‘lacing them up’ as the four-belt lightweight champion against George Kambosos Jr. on November 27th at The Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden. Finally.
It has been a long road for Lopez since his spectacular victory over the all-world master, Vasyl Lomachenko. Way too long.
The fact that he has been out of the ring so long is a shame. A combination of Covid, platform, and venue drama has contributed to the layoff. The new norm in boxing. The Takeover has lost precious time off his career and a prime year that he can never get back. Still, he should be in the top three of all Pound4Pound lists and has many prime years remaining.
Lopez will take on Kambosos, a worthy opponent who has also been frustrated by a long layoff. George was last seen on October 31st, 2020. Winning a split decision over Lee Selby. Indeed, both men will test the mantra of the legendary Ray Arcel, ‘To rest is to rust.’ Did Mr. Arcel actually say that? Whatever the case may be, both Juniors will have to be at their sharpest to avoid a long night.
Lopez is a huge betting favorite, as high as -1100 in some places. There is an excellent reason for that. As a talent, The Takeover is so good it is scary, and I promise you that it is not hyperbole. Remember that, despite losing over a year of activity, Lopez is only 24 years old. Kambosos is 28.
Teofimo already has as many checkmarks as you can possibly have at his age at such a young age. A tremendous skill set that is enhanced by above-average defense, power, poise, and boxing IQ. In the Loma fight, The Takeover also showed us that he can dig down deep when the tank appears empty. Or did we all forget his tremendous work rate in the 12th round against Loma? The sloppy narrative of that fight is that he tired in the later rounds. Not entirely true.
Having said that, Lopez has to keep fighting the best out there (he has a treasure trove of worthy opponents) to build the best possible legacy for himself. Indeed, ‘The Takeover’ that Teofimo so often speaks about is there for the taking.
First up is Kambosos. George is not the sexy name, but he has earned this opportunity and is a dangerous opponent for anyone at 135 pounds. Some even say he is Ferocious. The fact that George is such a huge underdog is not a reflection of his ability; he just appears to be a tier below Lopez (ninety-nine percent of pugilists are). On November 27th , he gets a chance to prove us wrong.
George is a good pressure fighter and carries his power and strength late into fights. One would assume he is going to enter this fight in great shape. While he is not much of a mystery in terms of where he wants to be, he is diverse in how he leads with his punches and does not forget to invest in his opponent’s body. Having said that, he does not have much of a jab and cannot fight a lick backing up. Indeed, combustible ingredients against the calibre of opponent that Lopez will be. Conventional wisdom also suggests Lopez will be the stronger combatant. An advantage that Kambosos typically enjoys.
Reality suggests that Kambosos does not have a valid path to victory. However, he has the right makeup to make this a tough fight. His pressure and grit suggest it will not be a walk in the park for Lopez. This is precisely what Teofimo needs to bring out the best in him and get more eyeballs interested. Bigger upsets have occurred in boxing, but very few.
While Kambosos appears to have a sturdy chin, he has not faced anyone close to the strength and power of Lopez. Look for the Takeover to end a Ferocious night inside of seven hard-nosed rounds.
While it will be a fun fight and undoubtedly worth our time, I still wonder if it will actually happen. This fight has had more false starts than the 2020 Arizona Cardinals. Going from Triller Fight Club (their sliced bread status certainly disappointed quickly) to DAZN and named/rumored to take place in various venues all over the world, it makes you wonder: Will we actually see it on November 27th?