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Sports Features of Friday, 13 December 2019


Little buzz but big possibilities: Richard Commey vs Teofimo Lopez

Lopez steps up, Commey determined to retain title Lopez steps up, Commey determined to retain title

One is flashy, the other steady. One has risen quickly to title contention while the other has worked his way up the rankings, ultimately capturing a world title eight months ago.

Teofimo Lopez wants what Richard Commey has, the IBF lightweight championship. Both fighters want one thing - to fight Vasyl Lomachenko next year.

The winner reportedly will get a shot at Lomachenko in the "be careful what you wish for" fight.

Lopez and Commey will settle their fistic differences in the ring at historic Madison Square Garden in 48 hours.

Lopez, 22, has scored some highlight reel knockouts during his short career. One was against Mason Menard last year. Others followed. Lopez struggled in his last fight, ultimately winning a wide decision. Lopez dealt with distractions before that fight. The result was a sluggish performance. Many criticized him. Some said he had been exposed. I don’t see it that way. Lopez discussed the criticism at yesterday’s news conference in New York.

"I think everybody needs something like that,” said Lopez. “I needed that. Everything happens for a reason. I take everything they try to throw at me negatively and turn it into a positive. You can’t faze me. You can’t bring me down. I’m here for a reason. We’re going to go out there and take over. I have vengeance in me. I’m holding that, holding everything. I want to shut everyone up the best way I can, and that’s doing what I do best."

Though Lopez is known as a knockout guy, Commey,32, might be the more powerful puncher. He’s been in the ring 31 times, scoring 26 big knockouts. Four of his last five bouts have ended early. His two losses happened three years ago. He stopped former champion, and crowd favorite, Raymundo Beltran last June. It wasn’t pretty. Think beatdown.

Commey is thrilled to be fighting this Saturday.

"How many boxers have come from Ghana with a chance to fight in {The Garden} in the co-main event,” Commey said. “God bless us, and I’m ready to retain my title. There is no way I’m going to lose."

Lopez is loaded with youthful exuberance and talent. Commey is proud of his achievements and determined to keep rolling. I see the potential for a great fight in a few days. They both want it bad.

Who gets it?

Likely Lopez, but he better have a solid chin, or it could be goodnight sweet prince.