By: Sean Crose
A few months past his only defeat, possible opponents are being mentioned for Teofimo Lopez Jr’s return to the ring.
“We ready for anybody at 140 pounds; he doesn’t have to struggle at that weight, he’ll be perfect, he won’t be getting sick from his lungs anymore,” Teofimo Lopez Sr. recently said to ESPN. “I think that would be a great fight; I think Top Rank is looking for that fight with Barboza.” Lopez’ son, Teofimo is, of course, the former highly regarded lightweight titlist who, after winning his belts from future Hall of Famer Vasyl Lomachenko, lost them in his first defense to George Kambosos. Now, looking ahead, it appears Lopez Sr, who trains and manages his son, is looking for the hard hitting fighter to move up to the junior welterweight division.
“We’ll fight anybody, it doesn’t matter who it is,” the elder Lopez continued, “and then eventually fight Josh Taylor and get our belts back.” After besting Lomachenko in 2020, Lopez appeared to be on top of the world, a strong, gutsy, brash fighter, who was on his way to more great things. Then came Kambosos, an unheralded Australian mandatory, who seemed to be viewed by some as being nothing more than a pit stop on the Lopez express. Needless to say, there was a considerable amount of surprise to be found after Kambosos outboxed Lopez on his way to a decision win last year.
As for the undefeated, 26-0 Barboza, he feels Lopez was insulting when he expressed a desire to immediately reach the status of a junior welterweight contender when he had never fought in that division. “When he started saying he was going to come to 140 and take over and jump right into title shots, it was a slap in the face to everybody at 140,” ESPN quotes Barboza as saying. “You’re at 135, it’s different.” Barboza also commented on the hype surrounding Team Lopez. “Him and his dad, they gotta be careful,” he said. “We’ll see if they are who they say they are.”
Being just 24 years of age, Lopez still arguably has his entire career ahead of him. The Kambosos loss seemed to have a bad impact on his psyche – at least that was the case immediately after fight. Now he’ll have a chance to prove himself once more – and to return to his winning ways. Should his opponent be the 30 year old Barboza, hell be facing a fighter who knows what it means to grind his way into contention without the boost of serious publicity. Such fighters have a tendency to be hungry.
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