Teofimo Lopez has put his hand up to win knockout of the year after a thunderous right-hand punch ended Mason Menard in the first round of their lightweight bout.
In the first fight on the undercard of Vasiliy Lomachenko’s lightweight title bout against Jose Pedraza, the 21-year-old Lopez put his name up in lights with the brutal KO.
Menard, a 30-year-old veteran of 38 fights for 34 wins (24 KOs), was no match for his young rival.
Lopez improved to 11-0 (nine KOs) when, just 38 seconds into the fight, he sent Menard crashing to the mat like a statue.
Based on that fight, Lopez might not be on the undercards of Lomachenko’s fights for too long.
He could just become a challenger sooner than anyone thought.
Social media went wild over the epic finish – officially recorded at 44 seconds into the first round – as many boxing fans nominated Lopez for KO of the year:
Teofimo Lopez just DESTROYED Mason Menard in the first round! One overhand right and Menard fell flat on his face. What a shocking, violent and sudden ending! Message sent #LomaPedraza
— Ryan Songalia (@ryansongalia) December 9, 2018
Teofimo Lopez Jr. with a late bid for KO of the year over Mason Menard in R1.
— Brian Campbell (@BCampbellCBS) December 9, 2018
Teofimo Lopez makes case for KO of the year. Wow
— Jeff Cox (@JeffCoxCNBCcom) December 9, 2018
Teofimo Lopez is the real gotdamn deal. Punch his ticket to KO of the Year candidate.
— Andreas Hale (@AndreasHale) December 9, 2018
Teofimo Lopez with one massive right hand erases Mason Menard in the first round. Oh my! https://t.co/lx2oWliWci
— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) December 9, 2018
Crushing first-round knockout win for Teofimo Lopez in first televised fight. Drops Mason Menard straight down on his face, then slips on an Oklahoma jersey and does a Heisman pose.
— Brian Mahoney (@briancmahoney) December 9, 2018
Blockbuster rematch a step closer to reality
The World Boxing Council has given its approval for a “direct rematch” between its heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder of the United States and Britain’s Tyson Fury, who fought to a draw in Los Angeles last weekend.
“Wilder and Fury gave boxing one of the best fights in the heavyweight division in a long time, which has created tremendous popular demand for the fans to see a rematch,” the WBC said in a statement on Friday.
Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) knocked Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) down twice, including a brutal right-left combination in the 12th that initially looked like it would end the fight.
Fury, who somehow willed himself to his feet and held on to send the fight to the judges, had earlier controlled much of the bout behind his long jab, precise footwork and slippery defense.
One judge scored the fight 115-111 to Wilder, another 114-112 to Fury and the third had it 113-113.
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman said the duo were a credit to boxing.
“I wish to once again congratulate Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury for their great battle inside the ring and for the exemplary sportsmanship after the bout,” he said.