By: Hans Themistode
Teofimo Lopez has planted his flag in the ground and won’t budge an inch.
After doing what many believed to be impossible in beating Vasiliy Lomachenko in mid-October of 2020, the Brooklyn native announced that he would no longer play second fiddle to anyone.
“I’m the A-side now,” said Lopez during numerous interviews over the past several months. “Including against Gervonta Davis. I’m the king now.”
Those words however, made CEO of Mayweather promotions in Leonard Ellerbe incredulous. Dismissing the skills of Lopez is something that Ellerbe finds impossible to do. With that said, Ellerbe believes that the notion that he would be the A-side in a fight that involves his biggest star in Davis proves that Lopez has a few loose screws.
“He’s a terrific young fighter,” said Ellerbe during an interview with Fight Hype. “It’s a tremendous accomplishment in beating Lomachenko. But for him to make that comment, it just shows the lack of knowledge of how the business goes.”
For Lopez, his unification bout against Lomachenko allowed him to make boxing history. With the Ukrainian native in possession of three world titles and Lopez in possession of the final one, his victory crowned him as the youngest undisputed lightweight champion of all-time.
The term undisputed though, becomes a sensitive topic for Ellerbe whenever Lopez is mentioned as such. Despite his bout with Lomachenko being labeled as a fight with all the lightweight marbles on the line, the Mayweather promotions CEO simply isn’t ready to name him as the official undisputed king of the division.
“He’s not undisputed because Devin has the WBC belt,” stated Ellerbe.
There’s been nonstop confusion concerning Lopez and his undisputed claim. While at one point Lomachenko did hold the WBC, WBO and WBA lightweight world titles – the Ukrainian ultimately forfeited his WBC strap and instead, accepted the “Franchise Champion,” status – a new designation introduced by Mauricio Sulaiman, President of the WBC.
Haney, who held the interim tag, was then elevated to full champion status. Regardless of Haney’s new position, Sulaiman has stated on numerous occasions that Lopez is in fact the undisputed lightweight champion. In that same breath, he has also said that Haney is the WBC lightweight belt holder, furthering the confusion of it all.
While Ellerbe would rather not get involved in who has what title, the long time CEO acknowledges that Lopez does hold multiple belts. Those belts however, may have answered the questions surrounding the talent of Lopez in the ring, but for Ellerbe, on the other hand, he has several more rhetorical questions.
“Correct me if I’m wrong, has he ever headlined a show before? Has he ever sold out any venues? Canelo fought GGG (Gennadiy Golovkin), (Sergey) Kovalev, Liam Smith. Do you think they were the A-side in any of those situations?”
For Ellerbe, the answers to his questions are all obvious. So while he respects what Lopez brings to the table from a fighting standpoint, he believes the Brooklyn native has a long way to go in terms of his box office appeal.
“He’s a good fighter, nothing but respect but he’s delusional when it comes to the business. Having the belts is a great thing, but in no way, form or fashion could he ever be even considered the A-side in anything that’s going on over here. Ryan Garcia is a bigger attraction than he is. That is an irrefutable fact.”
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