Teofimo Lopez is facing a similar situation when Floyd Mayweather defeated Manny Pacquiao in 2015 amidst Vasyl Lomachenko injury reports.
Five years ago, when Mayweather beat Pacquiao via a convincing unanimous decision, the shine was taken off as a shoulder ailment was revealed in the aftermath.
Days on from Lopez taking three world titles from Lomachenko, the same outcome has raised its head.
Lomachenko was damaged six weeks before the pair met on October 17th in Las Vegas, reports the man on the spot in Nevada, Kevin Iole.
Pacquiao and Lomachenko both had rotator cuff problems heading into the biggest fight of their respective careers in a startlingly related scenario.
Picking up the story with Iole was Lomachenko’s surgeon on Tuesday evening.
“When he came in from Ukraine for his last stages of preparation for the fight, he was having some difficulty with the shoulder,” Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache told Yahoo Sports.
“It turns out he had badly bruised the rotator cuff and chipped a piece of cartilage. We didn’t realize it at the time.
“But we knew he’d badly bruised the rotator cuff and badly bruised the bone where the rotator cuff attaches to the shoulder.
“That was roughly six weeks before the fight. We got him to where he was comfortable enough to train. He said he was able to train, OK. But it continued to cause him pain during the fight.”
In efforts to remedy Lomachenko to resume his career in the future, ElAttrache added: “We operated on him last night, and he had what we call a hemorrhagic thickened bursitis.
“That’s the tissue that lubricates and cushions the rotator cuff, which is where we had treated him and injected him before the fight.
“On the inside of the shoulder where he had previously dislocated the shoulder, he had chipped the cartilage on the inside of the socket.
“That was right next to the repair. So I did a small touch-up of the repair so I could cover up the bare cartilage in the front of the shoulder.”
According to the physician, Lomachenko should be back in action by the spring. A rematch with Lopez could now be on the cards.
Despite the contract’s lack of a clause, fans will want to see the fight again before Lopez moves up in weight. There are few other options open to him.
Talk of Devin Haney has been dampened by the fact the American doesn’t really hold a world title belt. The WBC ‘regular’ belt is becoming less and less recognized in the same way as the WBA ‘regular.’
At present, only Lopez is seen as the WBC champion. Therefore, facing Lomachenko in a money-spinning return with fans is the best way to leave 135 pounds behind.
If the second fight cannot be made, Lopez could move up straight away and drop all his titles. Lomachenko could either challenge those vacant straps versus someone else. Alternatively, he could move back down in weight to 130.
All will be revealed once Lomachenko recovers.
Those first seven rounds at the MGM Grand are now beginning to make some sense.