- Teofimo Lopez Jr. has plenty of options after beating Vasyl Lomachenko last weekend.
- Lopez still has lucrative fights waiting for him if he stays at 135 pounds.
- He is also contemplating a move up to the 140-pound division.
Charting Teofimo Lopez Jr.’s next fight may be more difficult that beating Vasyl Lomachenko.
Lopez burst into superstardom when he defeated Lomachenko in impressive fashion last Saturday in Las Vegas. He controlled the first half of the bout, weathered Loma’s storm, and finished with a massive 12th round. But by beating Lomachenko, he has conquered the mountain. By doing that, picking his next opponent has become tricky.
Lucrative Lightweight Bouts
Teofimo Lopez with plenty of trash talk for “two-time email world champion” Devin Haney at his press conference after dethroning Vasyl Lomachenko…
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) October 18, 2020
Promoter Bob Arum has broached the idea of doing a Lomachenko rematch in July 2021, when the Top Rank boss believes they can stage a fight with a full audience. Lopez though didn’t sound too interested as he believes he beat Loma convincingly and that the result would be the same, or even worse for the former champion if they meet again. But if Lopez isn’t interested about giving Lomachenko a rematch, there are still other lucrative lightweight bouts waiting for boxing’s new star.
Last Monday, the IBF announced that the winner between the October 31 fight between George Kambosos and Lee Selby will be the organization’s mandatory challenger for Lopez’s IBF title. Kambosos and Selby have a huge fan base in their respective countries and both could be enticing foes for Lopez.
Then there is Devin Haney, who has a November 7th date with Yuriorkis Gamboa. Although Haney is just the WBC’s “secondary” lightweight champion, he is still technically an asterisk in Lopez’s reign as undisputed lightweight king. If the Las Vegas native gets past Gamboa as expected, that could be a potential fight for Lopez as well. And yes, Lopez did say on record that he’d take the Haney fight just so he can shut up the man he calls the “email champion”.
Rising prospect Ryan Garcia is also another option for Teofimo Lopez at lightweight. The 22-year old rising star from California is a slight -163 betting favorite in his upcoming November 7 bout against 2012 Olympic Gold medalist Luke Campbell.
Moving Up to 140
— BoxingScene.com (@boxingscene) October 17, 2020
The other option is to vacate the belts, move up to 140 pounds, and collect the belts in that weight class. The additional five pounds won’t matter much for a young, growing, strong, and big lightweight like Lopez. Although he easily made 135 for the Loma fight, Lopez said during the post fight press conference that he will be more hydrated, faster, and stronger at 140 pounds.
The junior welterweight division also presents an interesting scenario for Lopez. California’s Jose Ramirez and Scotland’s Josh Taylor are expected to meet for the undisputed 140-pound title. That bout doesn’t have date yet but it’s expected to eat up the first half of 2021. So if Lopez wants to move up and fight for a 140-pound belt in his next fight, he will have to wait and means he will probably sit out the first half of 2021.
That won’t probably sit well with Lopez’s plans, if his manager is to be believed. According to David McWater, he doesn’t see Lopez going idle for too long. During an interview with BadLeftHook last Monday, McWater says his fighter doesn’t want to take long layoffs and he expects Lopez to be back in action on March 2021 at the latest. If that’s the plan, then 140 may have to wait, at least one more fight.
The Read Deal
Since beating Lomachenko, a lot of people have been talking about Julie Lederman’s ridiculous scorecard or Loma taking too long to start his offense. However, don’t let those distract you from the fact that Teofimo Lopez took the challenge, walked the talk, and made Lomachenko look mediocre.
Sure, Lomachenko tried to make a fight out of it. But don’t forget that Lopez dominated the first half of the fight, was able to weather the Lomachenko storm, and finish with a huge 12th round. Some say the 12th round won the bout for Lopez. I disagree. It was just the exclamation point to a masterful performance.
Teofimo Lopez Sr. has been talking about “The Takeover” for at least a year now. When he first blurted out those words, it seemed like he was no more than just a father who had high hopes for his son. It turns out that his son is indeed special. Teofimo is the read deal and the takeover will continue.