LAS VEGAS – A showdown with Devin Haney could keep Teofimo Lopez at lightweight a little longer.
If the heavily favored Haney beats Yuriorkis Gamboa on November 7 and isn’t interested in opposing Lopez next, however, Lopez probably will move up to the 140-pound division. Brooklyn’s Lopez said he “absolutely” would want to fight the winner of the Jose Ramirez-Josh Taylor fight next if he moves up five pounds.
California’s Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) and Scotland’s Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) are expected to fight sometime early in 2021 for Ramirez’s WBC and WBO 140-pound championships and Taylor’s IBF and WBA belts. The winner would become the fully unified junior welterweight champion and could afford Lopez a chance to become an undisputed champion in a second division.
“I don’t duck or dodge any of these guys,” Lopez said during a post-fight press conference Saturday night at MGM Grand. “And I think that they don’t got the will to win like I do. So, hell yeah, 140, if anything, it’s dangerous for them, man, because that’s where I’m really fully hydrated, I feel much better and I’m faster and I’m stronger than them.”
The 23-year-old Lopez out-pointed favored Vasiliy Lomachenko on all three scorecards in their lightweight title unification fight at MGM Grand Conference Center. Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) retained his IBF championship and won the WBA “super,” WBC “franchise” and WBO belts from Ukraine’s Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs), who lost for the first time in 6½ years.
Lopez will wait until Las Vegas’ Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) defends his secondary WBC lightweight crown against Cuba’s Gamboa (30-3, 18 KOs) to determine his next move.
“I’m a big 135-pounder,” Lopez said. “You know what I mean? Perfecting Athletes, who are my nutritionists, they definitely do their work and their math on me, you know? And it’s not even just dropping weight drastically. It’s about making sure that my brain is fine and perfectly in good condition to make that weight. So, I know I can make 135 again. That won’t be an issue, you know what I mean, as long as I stay consistent with everything.
“That’s why, you know, I’m building a house now, with my wife, and I’m very thankful for that. We’ve been doing it throughout the process of this fight, just so I can have a gym in my house and stay consistent with my work. Who knows what the future holds? You know, I would love to definitely unify at 140, take all the belts and become undisputed champion back-to-back. Hell, yeah!”
Lopez’s father/trainer hopes his son moves up to the 140-pound division for his next fight. He also understands that if they’re presented with the right opportunity, it might make the best business sense to stay at 135 pounds.
“I think it’s time to move up,” Lopez Sr. said. “I think it’s time for him to go and try to get all the belts at the 140-pound division. There’s no reason we have to stay at 135, unless, you know, they give us something to wanna fight for, you know? So, it all depends. It all depends. But I’d rather him go to 140. He’s been suffering at this weight for like seven years already.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.