Arnold Barboza wasn’t in the conversation regarding the recent reshuffling of the WBO junior welterweight rankings, though he expects to benefit from the outcome.

A previously discussed fight with former lineal and unified lightweight titlist Teofimo Lopez (16-1, 12KOs) could be back in play for the unbeaten Barboza, after weeks of going quiet. The fight was previously discussed and targeted to take place in June or July, only to be put on hold once Lopez landed in the number-two spot at junior welterweight in the March update of the WBO ratings—a key placement in the event the belt is vacated by reigning undisputed champion Josh Taylor (19-0, 13KOs) who has openly discussed moving up to welterweight.

The WBO has since reset its top four, demoting Lopez out of immediate contention as he was replaced by former WBO/WBC 140-pound titleholder Jose Ramirez. All that matters to Barboza is that he has a fight to look forward to—if Lopez and his side are still as eager as was the case earlier this year.

“I think Teofimo and his dad opened their mouths and bit off more than they can chew,” Barboza told “I don’t think it’s Teofimo that wants the fight, more so than his dad trying to make all the decisions for him. We’ll see if they fight us.”

The fight was first teased by Teofimo Lopez Sr., who last October referred to Barboza as a potential tune-up for his son once Teofimo Jr. was ready to move up to the 140-pound division. The elder Lopez reiterated interest earlier this year, insisting that Top Rank—who promotes both fighters—was working on such a fight prior to his son entering the WBO junior welterweight rankings.

“I think maybe when his dad started talking,” recalled Barboza, who is managed by Rick Mirigian. “Honestly, a fight with Teofimo wasn’t even on my radar. I fought on a few shows of his, I thought we were always cool. Then his dad started talking, how he’s going to 140 and wants to fight for all the belts but he wanted a tune up fight and wanted me.

“I was like, ‘What?’ So I told people, I want this fight. His team then came out publicly and said we were gonna fight. Cool, now I got my next fight set up. But then we never heard back. They never brought my name up again so I don’t know what’s going on with it.”

Talks quickly died amidst speculation that Lopez—who hasn’t fought since a split decision loss to George Kambosos Jr. to end his title reign last November 27 in New York City—was being groomed for a potential title shot at a new weight. That path has been shut down for now, though without any clear indication of when Lopez will return to the ring.

Barboza has not fought since a ten-round win over Antonio Moran last August 14 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The fight came ten months after his best win to date, a ten-round, unanimous decision over former title challenger Alex Saucedo in October 2020—fittingly as the co-feature to Lopez’s 12-round win over Vasiliy Lomachenko to unify the WBA/IBF/WBO lightweight titles at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

The hope on the part of the 30-year-old Los Angeles native is that a fight with Lopez is in his immediate future. However, with just two fights in the past 18 months and nothing currently scheduled, time is of the essence.

“I just want a clear answer, yes or no,” insists Barboza. “If you don’t want it, fine. But it’s almost time to move on. I’ve almost hurt myself by waiting for this fight. I got bills to pay too.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox