With Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez set to square off in a lightweight unification bout this weekend, Top Rank and ESPN trace the source of the animosity between the fighters, which dates back to a hotel dust-up a couple of years back where Teofimo Lopez Sr. approached Lomachenko to greet him, only to be brushed off like a groupie.
“We was by the lobby, I just came up to him, shaked his hand like a gentleman,” Lopez Sr. recalls. “I wasn’t gonna say nothing to him, I said ‘how you doing?’ But I felt like he didn’t show me any respect, like he was looking us over like ‘your son is not on my level, what are you doing?’”
When Mark Kriegel asks Lomachenko if he remembers that encounter with Teofimo Sr., Lomachenko responds:
“There was an incident. I remember that incident well. He could be saying his own version and right now I will say my version, and people will choose who to trust.
“I was waiting for the elevator. He wasn’t sober. He was like ‘My son is coming after you. He’ll blow your head off.’ And I was like ‘Okay, bring him over here.’...He was walking in my direction, they grabbed him by the arms and apologized saying ‘Sorry, sorry’ as they took him away. That was our first meeting.”
At this point Teofimo Sr. admits that he got triggered...
“Maybe the way he walks, maybe the way he’s so arrogant like he is.”
Lomachenko, however, believes that Lopez and his father then used his name to draw more attention and notoriety to themselves.
“They started to promote their brand at the expense of my name by constantly mentioning me in their statements.”
Teofimo Lopez himself, puts it much more simply:
“I don’t like him, he don’t like me, and I don’t respect him. I’m younger, I’m smarter, and we’re gonna see October 17th.”