Teofimo Lopez fails to score a touchdown ahead of rumored Super Bowl fight

The Sporting Tribune's Alan Dawson expected more from Teofimo Lopez, after months of rumored talks of a Super Bowl bout, and a ring walk for the ages.

LAS VEGAS — A temporary silence fell Thursday from the crowd at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.

Then, one of the more exuberant entrances boxing has seen for some time took place.

Dressed as a ringleader, Teofimo Lopez walked through the 6,206 fans with jugglers and a sword swallower in tow.

The big issue if you’re channeling The Greatest Showman is that, if it backfires, you could look like a clown or, worse, a meme.

For Lopez, his greatest act was somehow escaping Las Vegas with a win, after judges awarded him a decision with scores of 117-111 and 115-113 (x2) when, really, his opponent, Jamaine Ortiz, deserved a helluva lot more in one bad bout.

Ortiz bamboozling Lopez was the story of this fight

Ortiz, 27, has big fight experience against Jamel Herring and Vasiliy Lomachenko.

And, though he adhered to an ugly game plan — southpaw jab, evasiveness, and movement — it was one that worked.

In contrast, Lopez didn’t know how to adapt.

Though he peeled away at least one significant, crowd-rousing power punch in most of the early rounds, and consistently in the 12th, he struggled to cut the ring off and simply followed Ortiz around the ring.

Lopez lunged with shots, gestured to Ortiz, and feigned a bolo punch. Despite his attempts to put on a show, the crowd were anything but entertained, and began booing midway through the bout.

Fight fans grew even more impatient in the seventh when the referee paused the action after an accidental clash of heads yielded a bloody gash above Ortiz’s left eye.

Unperturbed at the cut, Ortiz landed his best punch of the round — an overhand left — only to get countered by a Lopez uppercut.

For too long, Lopez, likely flustered after losing the crowd, looked for the flashy move rather than the correct one.

He’d load up on that one shot rather than box with Ortiz, set a trap, and land his knockout blows.

For all too often Lopez would swing and miss. And, on a night that could have served as a springboard, swing and miss are the key words.

Any athlete who is anybody is in Vegas right now

We had home town heroes Golden Knights snap a historic NHL winning streak Tuesday when they romped to a 3-1 win over Edmonton Oilers at the T-Mobile Arena.

WWE held a press conference at the same venue Thursday, and brought out all their big guns — The Rock, Roman Reigns, and CM Punk.

There’s LIV Golf and superstar American golfers Brooks Koepka and Bryson Dechambeau.

The UFC has a Fight Night event Saturday at their off-strip Apex property, featuring a main event between rising star Joe Pyfer and veteran middleweight Jack Hermansson.

That’s without even getting to the Super Bowl Sunday as the NFL bring San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, reigning NFL champs Kansas City Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and, of course, the biggest gun of all Taylor Swift, who will draw 65,000 fans to Allegiant Stadium.

Not even inclement weather can keep throngs of fans off the Strip this week, with so many headliners getting in on the act from Travis Scott, and Christina Aguilera, all the way to U2 who have a residency at the $1.9 billion venue The Sphere.

On Thursday, at the Mandalay Bay resort, the night was supposed to be for Teo.

This is a fighter who has taken on tough challenges since 2020, beating Vasiliy Lomachenko, losing to George Kambosos Jr., but rebounding with three wins in a row including a thrashing of Josh Taylor.

Against Jamaine Ortiz, Lopez had the chance to improve his pro boxing record beyond 19 wins (13 KOs) and one loss.

And, though he did move to 20-1, Thursday was an opportunity missed.

He failed to score a touchdown three days before the NFL championship game in Vegas.

Lopez could have edged closer to a Super Bowl match of his own, as he’s been linked to Ryan Garcia at The Sphere, and even Terence Crawford.

But, now Garcia has moved on to Devin Haney, and Crawford’s instead trolling Teofimo on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.

Lopez still wants Crawford but provides little right now for ‘Bud’

After hearing he’d won the fight, Lopez burst into tears.

“Y’all can boo all you want,” he said, before muttering obscenities.

“Anybody who want to step in the ring, let’s get it on! I’m champion, and king, and the king stays king.”

When ESPN broadcaster Bernardo Osuna asked Lopez what’s next, he said: “Glory. That’s what’s next to me. I’ll fight Crawford at a catchweight.”

Lopez is one of boxing’s best examples of a hot and cold fighter.

He looked hot as hell against against Lomachenko and Josh Taylor, but cold as ice against Sandor Martin and now Ortiz.

Crawford has bigger bouts to pursue, possibly against the likes of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

Lopez, meanwhile, needs to show consistency in his game before he’s ready for a Big Game of his own.