Teofimo Lopez is already looking past the leading lightweight competition.
The undefeated lineal champion insists greater career opportunities lie ahead than what come from fights to be made his best divisional peers. An upcoming mandatory title defense versus Australia’s George Kambosos Jr. (19-0, 10KOs) remains on deck, before exploring bigger challenges—literally.
“Right now, I’m staying at 135 for now just so I can see the winner of [Jose] Ramirez-[Josh] Taylor,” Lopez told ESPN’s Mark Kriegel while at MGM Grand Conference Center for a live show featuring old foe Richard Commey. “I’ll be out there going for the glory of becoming undisputed at 135 and 140.”
Brooklyn’s Lopez (16-0, 12KOs) refers to the yet-to-be-scheduled undisputed junior welterweight showdown between unbeaten, unified titlists Jose Ramirez (26-0, 17KOs) and Josh Taylor (17-0, 13KOs). The bout could take place as early as May, though remains in limbo as the hope is to have fans in attendance for such a significant championship fight.
The same goes for Lopez, who was once considering the idea of heading to Australia, where the ability to better control the coronavirus pandemic has permitted events with large crowds. Even the biggest fights in the United States have taken place with venues offering a hard capacity limit, rarely exceeding 25%.
For now, the matchup remains the subject of a forthcoming purse bid hearing scheduled for this Thursday.
Meanwhile, the road ahead could conceivably featuring the 23-year old Lopez squaring off with 22-year old WBC titlist Devin Haney (25-0, 15KOs), 22-year old interim titlist Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18KOs) and 26-year old two-division title claimant Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (24-0, 23KOs). That’s if he wants those fights, none of which seem to pique his interest at the moment.
“They’re famous on the internet. I’m real-life famous,” Lopez dismissed of García and Haney. “They got to get their weight up. They’re not my level yet. Devin Haney has fought half of his career in Mexico. He’s been fighting cab drivers.
“Tank Davis has been fighting 122, 126-pounders. Next. What’s next?”
Also mentioned was the possibility of a rematch with Vasiliy Lomachenko, whom Lopez outpointed in their WBA/IBF/WBO lightweight unification clash last October. Lopez walked away with universal recognition as the true lightweight champion, while Ukraine’s Lomachenko (14-2, 10KOs) offered sour grapes over the outcome.
“We went out there, we destroyed everybody,” insisted Lopez, whose first title win came in a 2nd round knockout of Commey in Dec. 2019. “We did what we had to do [versus Lomachenko]. Everybody talks about a rematch. No respect. They didn’t want to give a rematch clause. That’s on them.
“I’m not worried about the guys behind me. I’m worried about taking over.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox