Josh Taylor’s takeaway from Teofimo Lopez’s last two wins is that the former unified lightweight champion isn’t the same fighter he was when he beat Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Taylor thinks Lopez’s loss to George Kambosos Jr. in November 2021 diminished him. The Scottish southpaw sees a less confident fighter since Kambosos beat him, yet Taylor realizes Lopez could just as easily criticize his performance in his most recent bout – a 12-round, split-decision defeat of England’s Jack Catterall in February 2022.
The unbeaten WBO junior welterweight champion feels Lopez’s psyche is fragile, but he acknowledged that he has accepted a dangerous assignment for June 10 inside The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. Taylor discussed Lopez’s strengths and weaknesses during a recent appearance on Brian Custer’s “The Last Stand Podcast.”
“I think he is a good fighter,” Taylor said. “He does a lotta things really, really good. He’s very athletic, he’s quick, he’s explosive, you know, he’s got good punching combinations, things that I know. But I see that he makes a lotta mistakes as well, makes a lotta errors, leaves his self wide open. And I see I’ve got a lotta holes in his game that I’m gonna exploit. Obviously, I’m not gonna say them here on this interview. But yeah, I see a lotta things that I can expose him with on fight night.”
Oddsmakers have installed Taylor as a slight favorite to beat Lopez, but Lopez has been much more active than Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs). Brooklyn’s Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs) has fought twice in the past eight months, whereas Taylor hasn’t boxed in the 14 months since his controversial victory over Catterall (26-1, 13 KOs) at The OVO Hydro in Glasgow.
The 32-year-old Taylor, who was boxing’s fully unified 140-pound champion before he gave up the IBF, WBA and WBC belts, was supposed to face Catterall in a rematch that was postponed multiple times. Their second fight was supposed to be rescheduled again after Taylor suffered a foot injury in mid-January, but Taylor instead decided to make a mandated defense of his WBO belt against Lopez in a higher-profile fight.
The 25-year-old Lopez is 2-0 since he moved up to the junior welterweight limit of 140 pounds. The former IBF/WBA/WBO 135-pound champion suffered a second-round knockdown in his last fight, however, and narrowly topped Spanish southpaw Sandor Martin (40-3, 13 KOs) by split decision in their 10-rounder December 10 at Madison Square Garden.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing