Josh Taylor and Teofimo Lopez were kept completely apart again Friday after they made weight at Madison Square Garden.

Taylor talked trash and pointed at his head to indicate that he is mentally stronger than Lopez. A calmer Lopez looked directly at Taylor from across the stage, but the former unified lightweight champion didn’t say anything to his opponent before they went their separate ways.

Moments earlier, Taylor stepped on the New York State Athletic Commission scale at 139.8 pounds. Lopez was slightly heavier, as he stripped naked and officially weighed in at their division’s maximum of 140 pounds.

Scotland’s Taylor, 32, will defend his WBO junior welterweight title against Lopez on Saturday night in New York. Brooklyn’s Lopez, 25, is the mandatory challenger for Taylor’s title.

Most sportsbooks listed Taylor as a 2-1 favorite Friday to beat Lopez in a 12-round main event ESPN will televise from The Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) will end a 15-month layoff when he opposes Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs). The former fully unified 140-pound champion hasn’t fought since February 2022, when he overcame an eighth-round knockdown and eked out a 12-round split decision against England’s Jack Catterall.

Taylor and Catterall (27-1, 13 KOs) were scheduled to fight again earlier this year, but their 12-round rematch was postponed twice. The second postponement was caused when Taylor suffered a foot injury while training in January.

Their fight, which had already been pushed back from February 4 to March 4, was not rescheduled again because the WBO later ordered Taylor to defend his title against Lopez next. Taylor gave up the IBF, WBA and WBC 140-pound championships after he beat Catterall last year because he didn’t want to make mandatory defenses of those belts in fights that didn’t interest him.

Earlier Friday, lightweight contender Jamaine Ortiz (16-1-1, 8 KOs) withdrew from his scheduled 10-round fight against Mexico’s Humberto Galindo (14-3-1, 11 KOs) on the Taylor-Lopez undercard because Ortiz couldn’t come close to making the contracted weight for their fight.

The 27-year-old Ortiz, of Worcester, Massachusetts, recently signed a co-promotional deal with Bob Arum’s Top Rank. He hasn’t fought since he tested Vasiliy Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KOs) in their 12-round, 135-pound fight October 29 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.

The official weights for the six remaining fights on the Taylor-Lopez undercard are listed below.


10 p.m. EDT; 7 p.m. PDT

Xander Zayas (15-0, 10 KOs), Sunrise, Florida, 152.8 pounds vs. Ronald Cruz (18-2-1, 12 KOs), Los Angeles, 152.4 pounds, 8 rounds, junior middleweights.


6:15 p.m. EDT; 3:15 PDT

Robson Conceicao (17-2, 8 KOs), Salvador, Brazil, 130.6 pounds vs. Nicolas Polanco (20-4-1, 11 KOs), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 130 pounds, 10 rounds, junior lightweights.

Omar Rosario (10-0, 3 KOs), Caguas, Puerto Rico, 139.2 pounds vs. Jan Carlos Rivera (8-1, 6 KOs), Philadelphia, 138.4 pounds, 8 rounds, junior welterweights.

Damian Knyba (11-0, 7 KOs), Wudzyn, Poland, 261.4 pounds vs. Helaman Olguin (9-5-1, 4 KOs), South Jordan, Utah, 256.8 pounds, 8 rounds, heavyweights.

Bruce Carrington (7-0, 4 KOs), Brooklyn, 126.8 pounds vs. Luis Porozo (16-6, 9 KOs), Santo Domingo, Ecuador, 126.4 pounds, 8 rounds, junior lightweights.

Henry Lebron (17-0, 10 KOs), Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, 129.2 pounds vs. Carlos Ramos (17-2, 10 KOs), Madrid, Spain, 129.6 pounds, 10 rounds, junior lightweights.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.