Bob Arum would love to match Teofimo Lopez against Ryan Garcia.
Nevertheless, even a masterful salesman such as Arum doesn’t think he could persuade Garcia’s handlers at Golden Boy Promotions to make that appealing lightweight title fight. As much as Arum was impressed by Garcia’s seventh-round knockout of Luke Campbell on January 2, the 89-year-old promoter predicted the unbeaten Garcia wouldn’t fare nearly as well if he opposed Lopez.
“I thought it was a good performance,” Arum told BoxingScene.com in reference to Garcia’s victory over Campbell. “I liked the fact that he got knocked down [in the second round] and got up and survived and finished the job. That was a good sign for him. He’s got very fast hands, a lot of power, but I’d beat him in a 100-yard dash. I mean, he has really slow feet. I think Lopez, I mean, [Golden Boy] won’t put him in with Lopez. Lopez would have easy work with Garcia.”
As much as he’d favor Lopez to beat Garcia, Arum realizes Lopez-Garcia would be a big fight for his unbeaten, unified 135-pound champion because Garcia is a popular boxer. Arum just can’t envision Oscar De La Hoya, Garcia’s promoter, even entertaining the possibility of matching his emerging contender versus Lopez.
“I would love to do that fight,” Arum said. “But, you know, what am I’m gonna call Oscar up and tell him that his guy has got a chance, when he has no chance? And Oscar knows that. Oscar’s a boxing guy. So, I don’t think that fight is on the horizon. Maybe down the road, when the money becomes huge, they’ll agree to do that fight. But right now, it’s a one-sided fight if you analyze it.”
The 23-year-old Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) is much more likely to make a mandated defense of his IBF belt against George Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) in his next fight. A Lopez-Kambosos bout could take place in Australia, Kambosos’ home country, sometime late in the spring or early in the summer.
Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) is pursuing another intriguing lightweight fight against Gervonta Davis (24-0, 23 KOs). That’s much smarter, according to Arum, than trying to fight Lopez.
“You know, a good fight for Garcia is ‘Tank’ Davis, because I think size alone would give Garcia the big advantage over Davis,” Arum said. “I like Garcia over Davis and probably over Haney, also. But Haney would stink him out. Haney is not the most enjoyable fighter to watch.”
Garcia, of Victorville, California, became a mandatory challenger for Devin Haney’s WBC world lightweight title by beating England’s Campbell (20-4, 16 KOs). Garcia has said, though, that he isn’t interested in challenging Las Vegas’ Haney (25-0, 15 KOs) in his next fight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.