Deposed unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez has come under fire from the boxing world after a "disgraceful" reaction to his shock defeat to Aussie, George Kambosos.
The Australian used a high-energy attack and a stinging overhand right to become the new unified lightweight boxing champion in a split decision win on Saturday night (Sunday AEDT) in New York that sent shockwaves through the sport.
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Both boxers came into the fight undefeated but the heavy underdog Kambosos made sure he was the one to leave with the 135-pound straps.
The 28-year-old Kambosos snatched the WBA, IBF and WBO belts in a close slugfest at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden that left the fighters bloodied and bruised by the end of the 12th round.
He had to bounce back from a 10th round knockdown to earn his third split decision victory in a row.
"I wasn't hurt," said Kambosos of the knockdown. "I said to my corner 'Let's go hard. I am going to punish this kid.'"
Kambosos won by 115-111 and 115-112 on two judges' scorecards to improve to 20-0, with 10 KOs. One judge gave the fight to Lopez 114-113.
Many even felt the Aussie was hard done by after two judges refused to give him a 10-8 opening round, despite knocking Lopez down early on.
The previously unbeaten Lopez was fighting for the first time since his breakthrough win over Vasiliy Lomachenko in October 2020 in Las Vegas.
The win elevated Lopez to the rank of undisputed champion but instead of capitalising on his success, he lost all the titles in just his first defence attempt.
The stinging shock of the defeat was compounded by the fact the American was booed afterwards for trying to claim that he was robbed by the judges.
Lopez interrupted Kambosos' post-match television interview to declare himself the winner, saying he only lost two of the 12 rounds. Kambosos responded by saying "you are delusional."
"I won tonight," Lopez said as the crowd booed. "The ref didn't raise my hand. I am not a sore loser. I came out here and did what I had to do. I won 10 of 12 rounds."
The extraordinary remarks led to a chorus of condemnation from boxing fans across social media.
— Kevin Thang (@Skip2MyJays) November 28, 2021
Yeah mate. Absolute disgrace. And Lopez claiming he won…. Even anything he’s lucky to not have a unanimous decision against him
— Christopher Tapiolas (@tapiolas_c) November 28, 2021
Very hard to get a decision over there….clearly the better boxer over the journey - Lopez ia a disgrace
— colonel birdseye (@zmickyzee1) November 28, 2021
That seals the deal, I am no LONGER a Teofimo Lopez fan, man is a complete disgrace to the sport of boxing. I’m taking my TALENTS to George Kambosos where he knows how to win and not make excuses.
— Juan 🇺🇸 (@JuanJG22_) November 28, 2021
López got spanked the story of the fight was technique vs power taught him a lesson of boxing 101 9-12 round should of been George’s the split decision was a disgrace George outclassed him
— Alejandro Pacheco (@_Papi_Pacheco_) November 28, 2021
The soap-opera buildup to the showdown included eight postponements, six proposed locations and numerous legal challenges because of in-fighting between boxers, promoters followed by lawsuits.
There were fireworks from the opening bell as Kambosos, who was a 13-1 underdog, knocked Lopez down in the first round.
Title fight began with a bang
Chasing an early knockout, Lopez came out feverishly throwing punches and landing a series of heavy blows to Kambosos' head in the wild opening round.
But, standing his ground, it was Kambosos who took the round after dropping Lopez with a thunderous right overhand.
It was the first time since Lopez's professional debut five years ago that the American had been sent to the canvas, prompting US commentators to brand the champion's brazen tactics as "amateurish" and "disrespectful".
Kambosos was within sight of Australian boxing immortality, leading the contest through nine rounds.
But Lopez hurt him with a big right in the ninth round, then rocked and dropped Kambosos in the 10th.
There was no surrender from Kambosos, though, as the brave challenger dominated the 11th round to put his nose back in front as blood streamed from a nasty cut above Lopez's left eye.
He was duly awarded the fight - and all the spoils - after holding firm in the final championship round, despite protests from Lopez that he'd won.
"Back yourself, believe in yourself," Kambosos said after winning by split decision.
"I said it time after time - you guys might not believe it - but I believe in myself and look at me now.
"I've got all the jewels. I'm not the king. You've got your four kings. I'm the emperor because I come to every other country and I take them out, one by one.
"I'm the greatest fighter in Australian history."
The legendary Pacquiao was among the first to congratulate his "friend" for the "epic win".
"You helped me in so many of my past fights. I hope our hundreds of rounds of sparring helped you in some way tonight," Pacquiao tweeted.
"I'm proud of you."
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