Frightening details have emerged about unified lightweight world champion Teofimo Lopez's stunning upset loss against Aussie George Kambosos, with a leading doctor revealing the American "could have died" during the fight.
Kambosos used a high-energy attack and a stinging overhand right to become the new unified lightweight boxing champion in a split decision win in New York that sent shockwaves through the sport and inflicted Lopez with a first defeat in his professional boxing career.
The Aussie claimed the WBA, IBF, WBO and The Ring lightweight titles after a 115-111, 115-112 and 113-114 win at the iconic Madison Square Garden.
Both men underwent health checks at hospital after the brutal battle that left both men bloodied and bruised from the 12-round epic.
However, one doctor has revealed terrifying details of a discovery medical professionals made inside Lopez's chest.
According to the American's health records, he was diagnosed with "pneumomediastinum" - a condition in which air is present in the space in the chest between the lungs and often caused by a traumatic injury.
A leading Head and Neck Surgery (Ear, Nose & Throat) spoke to ESPN about dire the situation could have been for Lopez.
“He could have died, for sure,” otolaryngologist Dr. Linda Dahl told ESPN.
”How he breathed, I can‘t even explain to you. It’s like somebody tied a 300-pound set of weights around his chest … like his neck and chest were in a vice.
“That‘s how he fought.”
Dahl added: “The air was surrounding his chest wall and his heart and his neck – places where air is not supposed to be.
“If he was hit in the neck or the chest – a certain way, in a certain place – he could have developed a pneumothorax (collapsed lung).
“He would have instantly been down and unable to breathe and needing a chest tube.”
The executive director of the New York Head and Neck Institute, Dr. Peter Constantino, told ESPN: “He‘s lucky he’s not dead. I mean, really lucky.”
Lopez apparently developed breathing difficulties more than 24 hours before the fight, highlighted by shortness of breath and swelling in the neck.
However, the fighter did not notify his team or the boxing officials during his pre-fight examination.
“I thought it was just my asthma,” Lopez told ESPN.
“I fought through asthma before. If I told everybody, they would’ve cancelled the fight. But I chose not to, because of the amount of pressure I was under. I didn’t want to hear people say, ‘Oh, another postponement.’”
George Kambosos weighing up next opponent
Kambosos said after his stunning win that he would remain in the US for a week to take in Devin Haney's WBC title defence against fellow American Joseph Diaz in Las Vegas.
The Aussie champ said he'd put celebrations on hold to focus on "business" while in the United States, but expected some fanfare when he returned to Australia with his wife and kids.
"I believe that they've already started that process of getting a bronze statue in Sydney," Kambosos said.
"I'm sure there will be some ticker parade or whatever they're going to do.
"But I've got some more business out here first. I'm going to scout and scoop all my opponents and make some more noise out here with my people."
The 28-year-old said he was leaning towards another unified super-fight against Haney, should the undefeated champion see off Diaz, rather than defend his straps individually.
Kambosos (20-0, 10KO) hasn't fought in Australia four more than four years, with his past six bouts taking place in the US, UK, Greece and Malaysia.
"But I've got all the belts, I'm the shot caller right now," he said.
"I've got all the jewels, I'm the greatest fighter in Australian history now. I've just pulled off the greatest win in Australian history.
"I've done something that's no one's ever done in Australian history.
"And no one's ever done that to Lopez - battered him, left him bloodied and bruised - so it shows what I bring to the table.
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