Back in 2018, Boxing Insider named Teofimo Lopez its Prospect of the Year. There was good reason for this. Lopez was more than just a showy character. He had an 11-0 record and 9 of those wins had come by knockout. Lopez was going to climb to the top of the sport’s mountain. So sure was Lopez of this that he and his team referred to his career trajectory as “The Takeover.” A lot can change in five years, however, both for better and for worse. For the outspoken Brooklynite has had his glories during that time, but he’s had his rough patches as well. Now, on the cusp of his Saturday battle with WBO junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor at Madison Square Garden, Lopez will be facing the biggest challenge of his career since he defeated Vasyl Lomachenko back in 2020.
There’s a lot on the line for the 25 year old Lopez here. His first defense of the lightweight titles he had snatched from Lomachenko ended in a surprising loss to George Kambosos in 2021. Since that time Lopez has moved up from lightweight to junior welterweight and bested Pedro Campa and Sandro Martin respectively. Having made the leap up to a heavier division, however, questions over whether or not Lopez’ acclaimed power has carried over have emerged. He beat Martin by split decision, after all – and that was after he was dropped in the second by the man who had sent Mikey Garcia into retirement. What’s more, Lopez hasn’t fought a championship 12 rounder since his loss at the gloved hands of Kambosos.
While it’s true Lopez has only been defeated once, Scotland’s Taylor hasn’t lost at all. Furthermore, Taylor, like Lopez, has a big name win on his resume. Just as Lomachenko fell to Lopez by decision, Regis Prograis fell to Taylor by decision when the two men fought back in 2019. Taylor is, in fact, an ideal opponent for Lopez. Should he prove victorious this weekend in New York, Lopez will once again find himself in the warm glow of the spotlight. Should “The Takeover” fail in his takeover attempt on Saturday, though, Lopez may be viewed by the public as being damaged goods. Some have openly questioned Lopez’ frame of mind (fairly and/or unfairly), but it’s his performance against Taylor the fight world will be focusing on in just a few short days. If he’s well prepared, things might get exiting.
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