Ryan Garcia Open To Teofimo Lopez Showdown At 140 Pounds
By: Hans Themistode
The next stop for Ryan Garcia appeared to be world title glory.
To kick off his 2021 campaign, Garcia waged an unforgettable war against perennial contender, Luke Campbell. With Garcia forced to peel himself up off the deck in the second round, the speedy 135-pound contender went on to punish Campbell, resulting in a second-round knockout victory.
Although the boxing world appeared to be his oyster, Garcia faded into the shadows due to a combination of mental health issues and subsequent right wrist surgery. Now, with the 23-year-old returning in full force in less than two weeks against Emmanuel Tagoe, he’s been the source of the perpetual criticism he’s endured for much of his career.
Throughout the entirety of Garcia’s time as a professional, he’s competed no higher than 135 pounds. However, for his upcoming showdown against Tagoe, the pair have agreed to square off at a catchweight of 139 pounds.
Despite the uproar, Garcia is bemused by the initial reaction. Considering that his showdown against Tagoe isn’t of significant importance, Garcia believes everyone is blowing things way out of proportion.
“I can make 135 if I want to,” said Garcia during an interview on Behind The Gloves. “Obviously he’s coming off a two-year layoff, I’m coming off a year and a half, why not do 139? It’s not for a title, there’s nothing really on the line. It’s just a fight.”
Regardless of the added weight, Garcia will waltz to the ring as a sizable favorite. Tagoe, although riding a 31 fight win streak, has failed to compete since November of 2020. In addition to his inactive schedule, Garcia will be considered the sternest test of his career.
In the end, Garcia is hoping that a victory over Tagoe will lead to bigger and better options down the line. Currently, the 135-pound division is stacked with well-known names that Garcia is clamoring to face. Amongst them, is former unified 135-pound titlist, Teofimo Lopez.
Recently though, Lopez was thrown from the 135-pound mountain top, suffering defeat at the hands of George Kambosos Jr. Since experiencing his first career blemish, Lopez has stated that his time as a 135 pounder is officially over.
As for Kambosos Jr., the rest of his 2022 could be wrapped up in back-to-back showdowns against Devin Haney. The two have verbally agreed to terms to face one another next in Melbourne Australia. Should Haney pick up the win, and become an undisputed world champion, he’ll be forced to face Kambosos Jr. again.
With those two off the table for now, Haney is turning his attention toward both Lopez and a familiar name as well.
“I don’t think Kambosos or Haney,” said Garcia when asked who he could possibly face later this year. “I don’t think you’ll see that but I think you have a better chance of seeing me fight Tank [Gervonta Davis] or Teofimo even, maybe do it at 140. Maybe those two are more likely than Haney and Kambosos because they’re going to be tied up. They have a rematch clause, they’re going to be going to Australia, you don’t know what can happen in the fight. There’s so much things that can happen.”
Robert Garcia Would Welcome Jose Ramirez Vs. Teofimo Lopez Clash
By: Hans Themistode
Jose Ramirez hung his head despondently following his close unanimous decision defeat at the hands of Josh Taylor at the midway point of 2021.
Despite his determination, Ramirez was unable to withstand his slick counterpart on the night and ultimately went on to hit the deck on two separate occasions. As a result, a stunned Ramirez stood back in disbelief as Taylor stripped him of his WBC and WBO 140 pound world titles to reign supreme as the division’s undisputed champion.
For the duration of the year, Ramirez sulked in misery. Nonetheless, with the help of head trainer Robert Garcia, Ramirez pulled himself up by the bootstraps. To kick off his 2022 campaign, Ramirez re-entered the winners circle following a win over former multiple division titlist, Jose Pedraza.
With Ramirez regaining that winning feeling, Garcia reflects succinctly on Ramirez’s loss to Taylor while simultaneously praising his fighter’s ability to bounce back.
“Jose is very prideful. He felt embarrassed,” said Garcia during an interview with ESNEWS. “But he came back good.”
The next step for Ramirez on his climb back up the 140-pound ladder could be a world title opportunity. Although all roads to championship gold lead to Taylor, the current undisputed titlist recently revealed that he will abandon his super lightweight throne and make the trek seven pounds north where he’ll compete as a full-fledged welterweight.
Outside of a world title opportunity, Garcia is intrigued by a possible clash with former unified 135-pound champion, Teofimo Lopez. The bombastic Lopez officially ended his time at 135 pounds following his surprising split decision defeat at the hands of George Kambosos Jr. at the tail end of 2021.
In an effort to optimize his results, both Lopez and his father, Teofimo Lopez Sr., have turned their attention toward the super lightweight division. With team Lopez hoping to aggregate world titles in their new home, a showdown against Ramirez could be forthcoming.
If at any point, Ramirez is given the opportunity to face Lopez, Garcia admits that he would welcome that challenge with open arms.
“I like that fight.”
Teofimo Lopez Sr.: “Trust Me, We F*cking That Boy Josh Taylor Up”
By: Hans Themistode
Teofimo Lopez Sr. believes he’s been prophetic in his ability to predict his son’s future.
Once Teofimo Lopez stepped onto the boxing scene, Lopez Sr. screamed to the mountain tops that his son would become a world champion in 15 fights and undisputed in 16. Fast forward four years later, and Lopez proved his father right.
Lopez blasted Richard Commey in the second round of their IBF lightweight title fight in 2019, before moving on to dethrone Vasiliy Lomachenko one year later to capture the WBO, WBA, and WBC “Franchise” titles.
The one erroneous mistake Lopez Sr. believes he made, was allowing his son to stick around the 135-pound division as opposed to moving up in weight. As a result, Lopez Sr. maintains that his boneheaded move was the only reason why his son came up short against George Kambosos Jr. in November of 2021. While he was ultimately disappointed, Lopez Sr. vehemently believes that 2022, will be a massive year for his son.
“This is our f*cking year,” said Lopez Sr. during an interview with Punsh Drunk Boxing. “We have one ESPN and two pay-per-views.”
With Lopez Sr. aiming to push his son in the ring at least three times this year, the father and trainer of the former unified 135-pound titlist is hoping that one of those contests will take place against Scotland’s Josh Taylor at 140 pounds.
The 31-year-old southpaw nabbed the final two pieces of the super lightweight puzzle in May of 2021 against Jose Ramirez. Although Taylor was on cloud nine following the win, he was left disappointed in his most recent overall performance.
Pegged as a heavy favorite, Taylor attempted to defend his undisputed throne against fringe contender Jack Catterall. Despite the overwhelming belief that Taylor would easily take care of business, the highly regarded 140-pound titlist struggled mightily.
For long stretches of their contest this past weekend, Catterall outboxed his man and seemingly stamped his unexpected upset victory by dropping Taylor in the eighth round. Ultimately, however, Taylor eked out a controversial split decision victory. While Taylor has recently revealed that his bout against Catterall will be his last at 140 pounds, Lopez Sr. is hoping that he sticks around.
If Taylor does, in fact, change his mind and opts to continue his reign as a super lightweight, Lopez Sr. views a showdown against his son as inevitable. As for how he views a matchup between Taylor and his son playing out, Lopez Sr. smiles manically as he describes the vicious beating Taylor would endure.
“Trust me, we f*cking that boy Josh Taylor ass up. He’s going to get a whooping. My son is going to keep on hitting him and whooping his ass the whole night.”
George Kambosos Jr. Believes He Only Showed “15%” Of His Potential Vs. Teofimo Lopez
By: Hans Themistode
Fans that attended Teofimo Lopez’s long-awaited showdown against George Kambosos Jr. on November 27th, 2021, were expecting to have a good time. They kicked back in their comfortable seats at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater, enjoyed a few adult beverages, and cheered vehemently as Lopez made his way to the ring. But, despite their expectations, Kambosos Jr. forced them to leave the arena with their heads held down.
On the night, the Australian native floored the former unified lightweight titlist before eking out a closer than expected split decision win. Although the performance by Kambosos Jr. was far and away the best of his relatively young career, he believes he hasn’t come close to revealing his true potential to the boxing world.
“The Lopez victory was only 15%,” said Kambosos Jr. on his social media account. “I’m getting better and better every day.”
Throughout much of the build-up between Lopez and Kambosos Jr., the pair were forced to endure a long and arduous waiting period. From streaming company Triller winning the right to stage their contest but placing it on ice on countless occasions, to Lopez dealing with a positive COVID-19 test result, the acrimony between them only grew.
With the tension at its highest, Lopez guaranteed a knockout victory in the opening frame. And, as their contest officially kicked off on that unforgettable Saturday night, Lopez attempted to prove that his words were prophetic.
Kambosos Jr. weathered the storm early on, only to capitalize on the mistakes of his much younger man. With their rivalry now behind them, Kambosos Jr. is now pondering his next move. The 28-year-old has made his feelings clear that he has already whittled down his opponent list to Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia, Vasiliy Lomachenko, and WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney.
Nonetheless, whomever Kambosos Jr. ultimately chooses to face next, after fighting on American soil in two of his past three contests, the 28-year-old vows to defend his newly won titles in his hometown of Australia next.
Teofimo Lopez: “I Will Become Undisputed Again”
By: Hans Themistode
Teofimo Lopez had it all figured out.
The 24-year-old made his doubters eat their words when he dethroned Vasiliy Lomachenko in October of 2020 to add the Ukrainian’s WBO, WBA, and WBC “Franchise” lightweight titles to his IBF crown.
Although many have questioned whether or not Lopez was actually an undisputed champion following his win, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman stated on numerous occasions that Lopez was, in fact, the undisputed lightweight champion, despite Devin Haney holding the WBC crown.
From there, Lopez could see the future clearly. He would violently stop George Kambosos Jr., before ultimately moving up to the 140-pound division to dethrone Josh Taylor. In the process, Lopez would begin his second undisputed title reign.
But while Lopez believed he was clairvoyant, Kambosos Jr. proved that he was a liar instead. The unheralded Australian native stomped into the backyard of Lopez and sprung arguably the biggest upset of the year, stripping Lopez of his undisputed status.
Undoubtedly, Lopez was both disappointed and incredulous with the end result. Still, after allowing himself to come to grips with the first loss of his career, Lopez is attempting to get back to his prophetic ways.
“I will become undisputed again,” said Lopez on his social media account. “But at junior welterweight.”
As mentioned by both Lopez and his father/trainer Teofimo Lopez Sr., Lopez Jr. is washing his hands and leaving the lightweight division behind. Although the truculent former titlist had one eye on Haney, Lopez appears to be putting their rivalry behind him, at least for now.
More than anything, after spending years struggling with the 135-pound weight limit, Lopez will be given a reprieve of sorts when he heads five pounds north. Ultimately, with Lopez guaranteeing another undisputed world title run in the immediate future, the young and energetic star could find himself standing across the ring from Josh Taylor at some point this year.
Josh Taylor Rips Teofimo Lopez: “I’m Glad He Got His Ass Beat, He’s Not Getting That Fight With Me Now”
By: Hans Themistode
A showdown between Teofimo Lopez and Josh Taylor appeared to be inevitable. With Lopez in possession of the WBA, IBF, WBO, and WBC “Franchise” lightweight titles following his win over Vasiliy Lomachenko in October of 2020, the rising young star targeted a matchup against Taylor.
Believing that there was nothing left to accomplish in the lightweight division and claiming that the weight cut to the 135-pound limit was taking a toll on his body, Lopez planned on making one defense of his lightweight titles before making the move five pounds north. In Lopez’s perfect world, he would make quick work of the unheralded George Kambosos Jr. before stripping Taylor of his undisputed status at 140 pounds. But while the 24-year-old believed he had everything figured out, Kambosos Jr. had other ideas.
The Australian native confidently and proudly stomped into the backyard of Lopez at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater on November 27th and proceeded to drop the former titlist before winning a close but clear unanimous decision. Considering the amount of verbal threats Lopez has lobbied in the direction of Taylor, the undisputed 140-pound titlist didn’t hold back as he ripped into Lopez’s performance.
“He’s such a talker, I’m glad he got his ass beat,” said Taylor during an interview with IFL TV. “It’s about time he got brought back to earth.”
Following the unforeseen loss, it was revealed that Lopez was dealing with several medical issues. According to Dr. Linda Dahl, a respected otolaryngologist, Lopez fought with air in his chest and was “lucky to be alive.”
As the 24-year-old continues to rest and despite suffering the first defeat of his career, a showdown against Taylor appears to be at the forefront of his mind. Teofimo Lopez Sr., father and trainer of the former lightweight titlist has stated on numerous occasions that after getting their feet wet in the 140-pound division, they plan on jumping right into a showdown against Taylor in the second half of 2022.
Still, regardless of team Lopez and their ambitions, Taylor believes in terms of a matchup between them, that ship has sailed.
“They got beat up and they still calling my name. He got beaten up, badly beaten up. I still think he’s a little bit concussed. He’s not getting that fight with me now, there’s no chance.”
Vasiliy Lomachenko, Devin Haney, And Gervonta Davis – Who Earned A Shot At George Kambosos Jr.?
By: Hans Themistode
George Kambosos Jr. toured around the United States following his monumental victory over Teofimo Lopez. The Australian native graciously posed for pictures with his new adoring fans, signed autographs, and patiently completed what felt like a perpetual amount of interviews. More importantly, he scouted the competition.
Devin Haney, Gervonta Davis, and Vasiliy Lomachenko have always been judged by fans and media pundits throughout their careers but with all three lightweights fighting in close proximity to one another, there was an added pressure placed on their shoulders.
The need to impress Kambosos Jr. came as a direct result of the Australian pulling off what appeared to be an improbable and unlikely upset.
Kambosos Jr. confidently stomped into the backyard of Lopez as a gargantuan underdog, looked into the booing crowd at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater, and broke into a full-blown grin. Pre-fight predictions informing him of an embarrassing stoppage defeat weren’t unnerving. Then, as the opening bell tipped off, the 28-year-old ruthlessly stripped Lopez of his championship status and sullied his previously undefeated record.
With the Australian now in possession of the IBF, WBA, and WBC franchise lightweight titles, he made it clear that his next opponent would be chosen from a small pool of names, all of which were given their moment in the spotlight to present their case.
First up on the tryout board was Devin Haney. The WBC lightweight titlist, who finds himself routinely chastised for the manner in which he was given his title, raised Kambosos Jr.’s eyebrows slightly. While Joseph Diaz, his recent opponent, proved to be a durable and game, Haney thoroughly outboxed his man before cruising to a unanimous decision victory.
As the Aussie removed his blood-stained war helmet and threw on his analytical cap, he was mostly impressed by what he saw.
“It was a good performance,” said Kambosos Jr. during an interview with Sporting News. “It was exactly what I expected. He moved, boxed, and was sharp from the outside.”
Still, even with Haney ostensibly making a good impression on the man who currently holds a seat at the top of the 135-pound food chain, Gervonta Davis was expected to one-up him.
Kambosos Jr. made the short trek from Las Vegas, Nevada, to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, and sat comfortably in his ringside seat as he took in the main event. While Haney vs. Diaz allowed Kambosos Jr. to fully dissect 12 rounds of action, in the case of Davis vs. Isaac Cruz, it felt as though the Australian wouldn’t be afforded that same courtesy.
Yet, even with most of the boxing world predicting a short and explosive win for Davis, Cruz proved to be far more durable, lasting the full 12 rounds and giving Davis the most difficult contest of his career. He was, however, aided by a severely injured left hand of Davis.
As the Baltimore native turned in his report and awaited his grade from Kambosos Jr., the newly crowned unified titlist appeared a bit indifferent. In fact, when asked to juxtapose both performances, Kambosos Jr. gave the clear edge to Haney
“Nothing too exciting,” continued Kambosos Jr. in reference to Davis during an interview with FightHype.com. “It is what it is. He got the win. I had it very, very close, it could’ve been a draw but he edged it. I think Haney had the better performance.”
With Haney turning in the better showing, the 23-year-old appeared to have the clear path to a showdown against Kambosos Jr. But just as Haney began confidently making his way to the front of the line, Vasiliy Lomachenko has grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back.
Despite losing those same world titles that occupy the waist of Kambosos Jr. at the hands of Teofimo Lopez late last year, Lomachenko is now back on the radar of every top 135 pounder. After undergoing shoulder surgery subsequently after his defeat, the Ukrainian star looks better than ever. He effortlessly dealt with Masayoshi Nakatani earlier this year, stopping him in the ninth round. He would then follow that up with a one-sided beating over former titlist Richard Commey this past weekend at Madison Square Garden.
Now, after reestablishing himself, even Kambosos Jr. had no choice but to acknowledge the Ukrainian’s performance.
“Great boxing display by Loma which puts him in the equation with Haney, Tank & Ryan (Garcia), even after his loss against Teofimo,” said Kambosos Jr. after watching Lomachenko dismantle Commey. “Looking forward to fighting one of these fellow warriors in 2022 downunder.”
Even with the unified titlist admitting that Ryan Garcia is still firmly entrenched in the Kambosos Jr. sweepstakes, he appears to be in the back of the class. Having fought just once for the entirety of 2021, Garcia will likely have to sit and wait as Kambosos Jr. chooses who he deems as the best fighter amongst that group.
With Davis eking out a close decision over Cruz, Kambosos Jr. has seemingly placed him above Garcia but behind both Haney and Lomachenko. As for who exactly impressed/earned their shot at Kambosos Jr., the most, Lomachenko appears to have the edge. While a matchup against Davis could provide the Australian with the most financial incentive, team Davis has always appeared more interested in facing fighters that could bring more to the table in terms of selling out arenas as opposed to chasing world titles.
Could Haney ultimately usurp Lomachenko and make his way to a jam-packed Australian-filled arena to fight for undisputed glory? Of course, he could. But, considering that Lomachenko has regained his lofty pound-for-pound status and the manner in which he dealt with a normally pernicious puncher in Commey, the former two-time gold medalist and multiple division star could have a leg up on the competition.
Vasiliy Lomachenko Still Interested In Rematch Against Teofimo lopez
By: Hans Themistode
Vasiliy Lomachenko is still pained by how incredibly close he was to achieving his ultimate goal. Roughly one year ago, the Ukrainian native was in possession of three of the four lightweight titles with an opportunity to add the final piece of the undisputed puzzle to his resume. Yet, despite being heavily favored against former IBF 135 pound titlist Teofimo Lopez, Lomachenko found his much younger opponent a handful to deal with.
Throughout the first six rounds of their contest, Lomachenko appeared both lethargic and unwilling to let his hands go. However, during the second half of their matchup, Lomachenko found his rhythm and began having his way. Still, despite rallying back, Lomachenko would fall short, losing a close but clear unanimous decision.
Since then, the pound-for-pound star has gotten back on the winning track, stopping Masayoshi Nakatani earlier this year in the ninth round. For his next act, the now 33-year-old will take on former titlist Richard Commey. The two are officially set to square off this Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Although Lomachenko is focused on regaining his championship status and putting Lopez behind him, if the opportunity presented itself, he would love to run things back.
“I continue my career for four belts,” said Lomachenko during an interview with BoxingInsider.com “But if we have a chance to organize this fight again, I will be happy.”
In what came across as a complete shock to Lomachenko, Lopez was handed the first defeat of his career. Australian native George Kambosos Jr. dealt with the normally concussive power of Lopez, while snagging one of the more improbable upsets of the year. Regardless of Lopez’s recent shortcomings, Lomachenko is still more than willing to face him in the ring once more.
But while the Ukrainian star would love the chance to redeem himself, Lopez could be heading to another weight class. Following his shock defeat at the hands of Kambosos Jr., both Lopez and his father/trainer Teofimo Lopez Sr., expressed the need to move up to the super lightweight division. If Lopez has in fact fought his last contest at 135, Lomachenko is under the belief that he’ll never face his long-time rival ever again.
“Only 135 pounds, I can’t go 140 for this fight with Lopez. I can’t. It’s not fair. I’m a fighter of smaller size. I can’t go to 140 because he can’t make 135.”
Dr. Linda Dahl Reveals Teofimo Lopez “Could Have Died” After Fighting With Air In Chest Against George Kambosos Jr.
By: Hans Themistode
As Teofimo Lopez made his way to the ceremonial weigh-ins, one day prior to his showdown against George Kambosos Jr. at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater, he appeared fine. The New York native showed off his ripped physique on the scales and flexed as he officially weighed in at 135 pounds on the nose.
Yet, as first reported by Mark Kriegel of ESPN, things behind the scenes were chaotic.
As customary following all weigh-ins, Lopez began rehydrating. The 24-year-old took large gulps of a bottled substance but the reprieve he was hoping for, after draining his enormous frame down to the lightweight limit, never came.
Instead, the opposite effect took place.
“It didn’t get bad until I started rehydrating,” said Lopez to ESPN. “I thought it was just my asthma. I been having asthma since I was 6 years old.”
Though his condition only worsened, Lopez refused to seek medical attention before the night of the fight. With his showdown against Kambosos Jr. suffering numerous postponements and setbacks due to various reasons, Lopez was uninterested in waiting even longer for his return to the ring.
“I took a seat in the back of the restaurant, by the kitchen,” continued Lopez. “Everybody’s trying to burp me and relax me. They see my neck is swollen. My voice changed. At this point, everybody’s a little concerned. I think my dad told me I should go to the hospital and I said ‘No’ because they’re going to end up probably canceling the fight.”
Immediate attention under the care of medical personnel was something that Lopez desperately needed. However, with a chance to return to the ring in less than 24 hours and a career-high payday of just over $3.1 million, not to mention, the opportunity to close the door on his long-standing feud with Kambosos Jr., Lopez opted for rest. Nevertheless, once the highly touted young star woke from his slumber, his condition failed to improve.
“My neck is sore. My chest is sore. My throat is hurting. And I’m like, ‘I guess I’m just going to have to fight like this.”
From the sound of the opening bell, nothing appeared right for Lopez. His deleterious knockout power appeared less damaging. His smooth and slick defense seemed a step behind. Even his granite chin failed to hold up as he was knocked down for the first time in his career in the first round.
While Lopez audaciously fought back, scoring a knockdown of his own in the tenth round, he ultimately came up short via split decision.
Shortly following the first defeat of his career, Lopez was immediately transported to a nearby hospital. Once the now-former unified lightweight champion was under the watchful eye of Dr. Linda Dahl, she was bemused with his test results.
“He could have died, for sure,” said Dr. Linda Dahl. “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.”
Dahl continued to monitor the condition of Lopez while carefully examining the 24-year old’s chart. After doing so, she continued with her diagnostic.
“The air was surrounding his chest wall and his heart and his neck — places where air is not supposed to be,” continued Dahl. “If he was hit in the neck or the chest, a certain way, in a certain place – he could have developed a pneumothorax (collapsed lung). He would have instantly been down and unable to breathe and needing a chest tube.”
Upon hearing the news of how dire his physical condition was, Lopez admits that while he was fully aware that he wasn’t 100%, he was completely clueless as to how serious circumstances ultimately were.
“I thought it was just my asthma,” said Lopez. “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.’”
In an effort to ensure his full recovery, Dahl has advised Lopez to remain sequestered and avoid certain forms of travel.
“I don’t know how he went 12 rounds without being able to breathe. But he has air where it’s not supposed to be, and it’s dangerous for him to get on an airplane.”
Throughout it all, Lopez has taken the truncation of his title reign in stride. But, as the still promising star replays the unfortunate events that have surrounded him since picking up the most significant win of his career against Lomachenko, including a bout with COVID-19 and the split between himself and his wife while she was several months pregnant with their first child, Lopez can’t help but become acrimonious over his frenetic 12 months.
“That was not me in there Saturday night. I’ve been trying to stay positive. “But I’ve been losing this whole year.”
Isaac Cruz: “Kambosos Showed People That There Are No Superheroes On This Earth”
By: Hans Themistode
Before Teofimo Lopez stepped into the ring against George Kambosos Jr. last weekend at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater, there was an undeniable aura surrounding him.
The 24-year-old New Yorker saw his stock rise to unprecedented heights following an unlikely victory over Vasyl Lomachenko one year prior. Though Lopez was tabbed as one of boxing’s youngest and brightest stars, Kambosos Jr. stood both unimpressed and undeterred.
As a pro-Lopez crowd continued to cheer him on, they were left speechless as Lopez was dropped in the opening round before ultimately suffering the first loss of his career.
Just a few days from now, Isaac Cruz will have his own opportunity to upset the applecart. The 23-year-old lightweight contender will face by far the biggest challenge of his career when he takes on WBA “Regular” titlist Gervonta Davis at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on December 5th.
Despite reeling off 17 straight victories, Cruz is considered a sizable underdog. Regardless of the preconceived notions surrounding his chances against Davis this Sunday night, Cruz simply points to last weekend’s results as a reminder.
“You know what Kambosos showed people? That there are no superheroes on this earth,” said Cruz during an interview with SecondsOut. “Everybody is human, everybody has a weakness. I’m going to find Gervonta’s weakness and then we’re going to see what happens Sunday night.”
Originally, Cruz was taken aback when he was first informed that he would be moved up from the undercard to the main event. Previously, highly ranked lightweight contender Rolando Romero was set to take on Davis. However, with the outspoken and flamboyant power puncher removed from the card due to several ongoing legal issues, Cruz was gifted the opportunity.
For Davis, changing his preparations to deal with a much shorter fighter as opposed to the taller Romero, was something he revealed was a flawless transition.
Most recently, the hard-hitting Baltimore product was last seen in the ring six months prior at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, against Mario Barrios.
While Barrios proved to be one of his more difficult opponents, Davis eventually floored his man before finishing him off in the 11th. Considering the violent nature in which Davis normally ends his fights, Cruz reveals that he’s taken his preparation to another level.
While Kambosos Jr. did provide Cruz with a bit of added motivation, the Mexican native admits that his true drive comes from an entirely different source.
“What Kambosos showed us is that champions can be beaten. But my inspiration isn’t him. It’s my wife and it’s my kid.”
Bill Haney: “Teo Done F*cked The Money Up”
By: Hans Themistode
It was an inevitable collision course. One that Bill Haney, father of WBC lightweight titlist Devin Haney, was looking forward to.
With both his son and former unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez engaging in nonstop trash talk for the past few years, the pair appeared entangled in an upcoming showdown. Yet, before both stars would go on to share the ring with one another, each fighter had business to attend to.
For Haney, the 23-year-old Las Vegas resident is set to defend his crown against whom he describes as the most dangerous fighter of his career in Joseph Diaz. The two will officially square off on December 4th, this upcoming weekend at MGM Grand Garden Arena. But while Haney continues to put the finishing touches on an arduous training camp, both he and his father tuned in with the hopes that Lopez would hold up his end of the bargain first.
At Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City this past Saturday night, Lopez took on sizable underdog, George Kambosos Jr. Although Lopez predicted an emphatic knockout victory, he was in for the shock of a lifetime. On the night, the Aussie dropped Lopez in the opening round before eking out a close split decision victory.
As Kambosos Jr. now begins life as a unified lightweight champion, Bill Haney can’t help but become irate as mountains upon mountains of money have effectively been flushed down the drain.
“I think Teo done f*cked the money up,” said Haney during an interview with ChampSide. “It’s definitely gut-wrenching because everybody wanted to see that fight with Devin and Teo.”
Though Haney is apoplectic over the lost funds, he’s now turned his direction towards his son and his ambitions of becoming an undisputed world champion. To the delight of the WBC belt holder, Kambosos Jr., immediately following the biggest win of his career, readily admitted that a showdown against Haney is one he craves more than any other.
Those words, unsurprisingly, are music to the ears of both Devin and his father. However, with Diaz standing firmly in his way, Bill doesn’t want his son to focus on anything other than the former world champion.
“Kambosos did great. We look forward to the opportunity but we have to handle our business of course with Jojo Diaz. We can’t look past him.”
With Lopez vs. Haney now appearing to be a thing of the past, Bill is still baffled by what took place this past weekend. As Lopez’s time at the top of the 135-pound mountain top has now come to an end, Bill Haney offers an explanation as to why the now fallen star was knocked off his high horse.
“He looked overconfident and out of shape.”
Shakur Stevenson: “So Now Can I Enter The Conversation Of The 4 Kings?”
By: Hans Themistode
For much of the 1980s, Thomas Hearns, “Sugar” Ray Leonard, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, and Roberto Duran defined a star-studded time in the sport of boxing. With all four making their mark by winning multiple world titles spread across numerous weight classes, many have searched far and wide for the new crop of generational fighters that can and will usurp them.
Presently, the highly talented quartet of Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney, and Teofimo Lopez – has been viewed as this generation’s version of those previously named Hall of Famers.
Though fresh off becoming a two-division titlist and in the same age range as his contemporaries, Shakur Stevenson is seldom mentioned amongst them. However, after watching the first amongst those four in Lopez suffer defeat for the first time in his career this past weekend at the hands of George Kambosos Jr., Stevenson is wondering if his name can now replace Lopez in the grand scheme of things.
“So now can I enter the conversation of the 4 kings?” Asked Stevenson on his social media account.
Before this weekend’s mostly unexpected result took place, Lopez enjoyed a lofty ranking in virtually every credible pound for pound list. His placement along the sports best, mostly arrived after registering the most impressive victory of his career against Vasyl Lomachenko late last year.
Despite heading into their showdown as a sizable underdog, Lopez both outworked and outboxed the Ukrainian pound-for-pound star. In the process, he nabbed the IBF, WBO, WBA, and WBC Franchise lightweight titles.
Following the win, Lopez was forced to sit on ice. Though he was ordered to defend his newly won titles against Kambosos Jr., his mandatory challenger, several months ago, the 24-year-old saw their showdown suffer countless setbacks postponements.
As Lopez and Kambosos Jr. finally swapped fists at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater this past weekend, the supremely confident young star was flippant in his approach to his unheralded opponent.
Ultimately, Lopez paid the price as he was dropped in the opening round en route to having his title reign truncated via split decision.
While Stevenson was once lobbying for his name to replace Lopez in the pantheon of young stars, the former Olympic silver medalist has seemingly changed his mind. In the opinion of the two-division champion, it’s pointless to have his standing elevated to the same level of his peers. Instead, he’s more interested in being recognized as a notch above.
“Nah, I’m good I don’t want it,” continued Stevenson. “I rather stand alone.”
Teofimo Lopez Sr. Gives His Thoughts On His Son Coming Up Short Against George Kambosos Jr.: “It Was A Complete Robbery”
By: Hans Themistode
Teofimo Lopez Sr. flashed a huge grin as the 12th round came to an end.
Moments earlier, his son, Teofimo Lopez, had just finished a grueling back and forth war with George Kambosos Jr. at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. While it appeared as though their contest was close, Lopez Sr. was convinced that his son dominated the action.
However, just minutes later, Lopez Sr. was left shellshocked as his son was handed the first defeat of his pro career. In addition to losing the 0 in his loss column, Lopez also saw his unified lightweight title reign come to an end.
Even now, having had several hours to dissect the reality of the situation, Lopez Sr. is still incredulous that his son’s loss was legitimate.
“Man listen, you can’t win a fight if you’re not staying busy,” said Lopez Sr. during an interview with SecondsOut. “My son was touching him every second. Everybody knows he won that fight. Everybody knows that. I had it 10-2, 9-3. Everybody was just upset. They booed the decision in the Madison Square Garden. The whole arena was upset at what happened. It was a complete robbery.”
Despite Lopez Sr.’s scorecards being heavily in favor of his son, the majority of the judges viewing their contest ringside, saw things completely differently. In the mind of judge Don Trella, he believed Lopez did just enough to prolong his title reign as he scored it 114-113. Ultimately though, he was overruled by Glenn Feldman who scored it 115-112 in favor of Kambosos Jr., and Frank Lombardi who handed in a scorecard of 115-111 in support of the Australian native.
Early on, Kambosos Jr. flexed his muscles and roared in the face of the opposing crowd as he registered a first-round knockdown. Even with Lopez struggling early on, the New York native bounced back in the 10th, evening things up in the knockdown department.
Regardless of the momentum being firmly in the corner of Lopez, Kambosos Jr. wrestled it away with strong performances in the 11th and 12th.
As reality has continued to set in, Lopez Sr. is still chastising the overall ruling of the judges. More than anything, however, Lopez Sr. harks back to a conversation that he had with his son years ago and re-emphasizes the importance of closing the show before the judges are called into action.
“In this game, you got to knock everybody out. If you don’t knock them out, this is what happens. We dictated the fight from the beginning aggressively. There’s no way this kid beat us.”
George Kambosos Jr. Shocks The World – Drops, Decisions, Teofimo Lopez
By: Hans Themistode
At one point, it seemed as though we would never get here.
With both Teofimo Lopez and George Kambosos Jr. enduring months of unwanted delays, the pair finally squared off in the ring. And while Kambosos Jr. assured everyone who would listen that he was idoneous to truncate the title reign of the unified lightweight titlist, no one believed him until it was too late.
As the New York crowd burrowed into their seats at Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden, they immediately voiced their displeasures as Kambosos Jr. made his way to the ring. The smiling Australian native appeared unaffected as he shook his head and sauntered on.
In a contrasting manner, the jam-packed crowd stood to their feet and roared as Lopez marched his way to the ring. Moments later, following their respective introductions, Kambosos Jr. quieted the crowd.
With so much built-up frustration, Lopez came out like a man possessed. He winged a hard right hook to kick things off. While Kambosos Jr. evaded the hit, Lopez continued his all attack. Seemingly surprised by his man’s aggression, Kambosos Jr. back-peddled for much of the round.
Just when it appeared as though Lopez had pocketed the first round, the Australian native landed an overhand right that saw the unified lightweight titlist hit the deck for the first time in his career.
A smiling Lopez nodded his head in approval as he seemed to give Kambosos Jr. his credit. As the following round kicked off, Lopez appeared fine. He bounced up and down on his toes and began tagging his long-time rival with hard stinging shots. In round three, it was much of the same as Lopez appeared to grab the momentum. That said, Kambosos Jr. refused to allow an opportunity of a lifetime slip through his fingers.
The Australian product began tagging Lopez repeatedly in the fourth. Unwilling to allow Kambosos Jr. to command the round, Lopez attacked the midsection of his man. Regardless of his increased work to the body, Kambosos Jr. didn’t let up as he continued to dominate the period.
With the halfway point of their contest rolling by, Kambosos Jr. was in complete control. He showboated at the crowd and continued to make Lopez miss in the process. Seemingly irate at this point, Lopez finally began finding his rhythm in the eighth. With his father urging him to pick it up, Lopez began picking him apart.
In addition to the unified titlist finding his mark, Kambosos Jr. seemed to be running on fumes. In the 10th, things appeared extremely bleak for the road warrior as he hit the deck, courtesy of a right hand from the 24-year-old.
For the duration of the round, Kambosos Jr. back peddled and attempted to box and move. In a complete change of events, Kambosos Jr. seemed to catch his second wind. In the final two rounds, he connected repeatedly with overhand rights and straight lefts.
As the final ten seconds of the 12th began ticking away, both men stood square in the middle of the ring and slugged it out. Though their contest was officially over, Kambosos Jr. pushed Lopez as he ran around the ring fully convinced that he had done more than enough to win their contest, he was right.
Though it was ultimately tight, Kambosos Jr. was awarded the split decision victory. Referee Don Trella scored it 114-113 in favor of Lopez but he was overruled by Frank Lombardi 115-111 and Glenn Feldman 115-112.
Teofimo Lopez 135 – George Kambosos Jr. 134.4 – We FINALLY Have A Fight
By: Hans Themistode
After months of back and forth trash talk, protracted preparations, and a long list of outside delays that are now extraneous, both Teofimo Lopez and George Kambosos Jr. are now officially set to square off.
With only their ceremonial weigh-in standing in the way of their highly anticipated contest, neither man appeared to be struggling on the scales.
As tempered continued to flare all week long, Kambosos Jr. stepped onto the podium first. The Australian native smiled slyly as his team and supporters cheered loudly. Moments later, it was announced that he officially weighed in at 134.4 pounds.
A shirtless Kambosos Jr. paced back and forth as he waited for Lopez to make his way to the stage. Despite team Lopez stating on numerous occasions that 135 was becoming extremely arduous to make, the unified lightweight titlist appeared to be just fine on the scales. He stood stoically while flexing as it was announced that he weighed in at 135 pounds on the nose.
For both sides, their off again, on again contest is finally set to come to an end. After winning the IBF, WBO, WBA, and WBC Franchise titles in his unification showdown against Vasyl Lomachenko late last year, Lopez has sat sequestered on the sidelines. The New York native had long been hoping to return to the ring at a much sooner date. By all accounts, Lopez was on the verge of doing just that.
Originally, the unified lightweight champion and Kambosos Jr. was on the brink of facing off several months ago under the promotional company Triller, who won their purse bid with an offer of over $6 million. However, the pair would endure several delays due to a combination of COVID-19, and unprecedented pushbacks due to Triller attempting to steer clear of competition in the form of NFL football and other sports.
Thanks to the uncertainty of the event altogether, Triller was found to be in default. From there, Eddie Hearn and Matchroom were given the rights to their contest which will now take place this Saturday night at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.