Junior welterweight titlist Subriel Matias is doing his part to whip up hard feelings toward Teofimo Lopez.

Matias, the IBF 140-pound titlist from Puerto Rico, and Lopez, the WBO 140-pound titlist from Brooklyn, New York, are reportedly in talks to meet in the ring next summer for a unification of their junior welterweight belts.

Matias (20-1, 20 KOs) indicated in a social media post that while Lopez had accepted an offer to fight in February, Matias said he himself would not be ready by that date due to issues with his hand. Matias, moreover, is coming off a sixth-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Shohjahon Ergashev last month.

In a recent interview, Matias bluntly targeted Lopez’s character.

“He’s a coward,” Matias told Matchroom Boxing in a video uploaded on their YouTube channel. “He says that he’s offered to fight me and he knows the reason why he made that offer is because I recently fought and I won’t be ready and prepared for that fight. If he’s a man of his word, then he will take the fight with me.”

Matias also had a word for Lopez’s garrulous father-trainer, Teofimo Lopez Sr.

“And a message for his dad, stop talking so much sh!t,” Matias said. “If he wants to fight me, he can fight me. There’s dates there, there’s April, March, if he wants to face me, stop being a coward. Stop talking sh!t and make sure that he’ll face me.”

Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs), a former unified lightweight champion who won his 140-pound title this past summer with a unanimous decision over Josh Taylor, is likely set to face Jamaine Ortiz on Feb. 8 in a Thursday night show at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas ahead of Super Bowl weekend.

Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.