Teofimo Lopez isn’t convinced Vasiliy Lomachenko is firmly committed to fighting him next.
Promoter Bob Arum planned to put on the Lomachenko-Lopez fight May 30 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Their lightweight title unification fight hadn’t been announced prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, though.
Ukraine’s Lomachenko and Brooklyn’s Lopez hadn’t even signed contracts before the coronavirus crisis brought boxing to a standstill in the middle of March. Until Lomachenko is contractually committed to their fight, Lopez will remain cynical.
The unbeaten IBF lightweight champion explained his skepticism during a recent appearance on SiriusXM’s “At The Fights.”
“We’re just trying to see that this guy doesn’t back out,” Lopez told co-hosts Gerry Cooney and Randy Gordon. “My thing is really that – don’t back out. Let me talk my sh-t and I want you to feel it and I want you to not back the f--k out. Because everybody wants to see this fight happen.”
Lomachenko-Lopez is one of the most anticipated boxing matches of 2020. The 22-year-old Lopez suspects Lomachenko hopes he’ll grow out of the 135-pound division before they fight for the IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight titles.
“I plan on definitely moving up in weight,” Lopez said. “At 140, it’s like the next thing and it’s real, real, really close. The thing is, that’s why I’ve been working out and just maintaining. I have to, because if not – I’m a big [135-pounder]. I’m still growing. That’s the thing. … My bones are still growing, everything. I’ve just gotta make sure that I’ve gotta maintain my weight the best way I can, so we can make maybe one or two more fights happen at the 135 division, before we move up to 140.
“I can’t promise you guys anything. I do want the Loma fight, but as this pandemic keeps on going, it’s just making that fight slowly fading away. And I think they’re waiting on it, though. That’s the sh-t, and I hate it. They’re waiting on it. They’re waiting for me. They know I can’t make this weight no more. They know I can’t make the weight. They know I can’t make the weight no more.”
Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) told BoxingScene.com recently that he doesn’t expect the Lomachenko fight to take place until October or November.
If they were to square off in October, the 32-year-old Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) would end a 13-month layoff in what figures to be a difficult fight. Lomachenko last boxed August 31, when he convincingly out-pointed England’s Luke Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) in a 12-rounder to win the then-vacant WBC 135-pound crown at O2 Arena in London.
Lopez’s last fight occurred December 14. He knocked out Ghana’s Richard Commey (29-3, 26 KOs) in the second round that night to win the IBF lightweight title at Madison Square Garden.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.