Teofimo Lopez could have died during his loss to George Kambosos Jr. according to Dr. Linda Dahl, an otolaryngologist at three Manhattan hospitals.
Lopez (16-1) took to the squared circle last weekend at Madison Square Garden where he put his undefeated record and four lightweight belts on the line against Kambosos Jr. (20-0).
According to a detailed report from ESPN, Teofimo Lopez began experiencing shortness of breath and swelling in the neck area shortly before weigh-ins.
“I thought it was just my asthma,” Lopez said when asked why he didn’t divulge his symptoms to his manager or the athletic commission during his prefight examination on Friday. “I fought through asthma before. If I told everybody, they would’ve canceled 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.'”
That decision proved costly, as Teofimo Lopez not only went on to suffer his first career loss but also subsequently dropped four of his belts. With that said, things could have been far worse for ‘El Brooklyn’, according to Dr. Linda Dahl.
“He could have died, for sure,” Dr. 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 vise. That’s how he fought.”
“He’s lucky he’s not dead,” Dr. Peter Constantino, executive director of the New York Head and Neck Institute, told ESPN. “I mean, really lucky.”
The cause of the air was likely due a small tear in his esophagus according to Dahl and records of physicians who saw Lopez later at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
Given the circumstances surrounding his first career defeat it is hard to discredit Teofimo Lopez when he said: “That was not me in there Saturday night”.
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