Teofimo Lopez Jr. delivered the resounding breakthrough moment of his career that he’d long been promising when he scored a unanimous decision win over Vasiliy Lomachenko in October.
The IBF, WBO, WBA and WBC lightweight franchise champion Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) is currently recovering from surgery to repair microfractures and ligament damage in his right big toe, but he already has his sights set on his return to the ring in the spring of 2021 to continue his takeover.
"What we’ve been talking about is maybe March/April, that’s what it looks like. Madison Square Garden [in Manhattan, New York] is the No. 1 priority right there, that’s the number one place where we want to do it and make it happen. Come back and have all the fans, but that’s the problem. We’re trying to shoot for the fans, but we have to talk with the governor,” Lopez told The Last Stand Podcast with Brian Custer.
Shortly after the interview was released, Lopez took to Twitter and put a price tag on the purse he expects from promoter Bob Arum and Top Rank in his next fight.
“$5 million minimum now and this is only the beginning. Soon I’ll shoot for a $20 million minimum. Take a lesson out of my book. In order to make big dollars you have to take risks!” Lopez wrote.
The task of delivering the Brooklyn-based Honduran Lopez the millions he desires ultimately falls on the shoulders of his manager in David McWater, head of Split-T Management. Lopez earned nearly $1.5 million in his career-defining win while Lomachenko raked in $3.25 million in a losing effort. The fight was almost called off altogether until Lomachenko agreed to part away with a portion of his purse and push it across the table to Lopez, who was originally on the books for $1.25 million.
A $5 million asking price would surely require for Lopez to keep the caliber of his competition at a premium level.
Another critical wrinkle that needs to be ironed out for Lopez is what his desired weight is for fighting moving forward, especially with a palatable list of names at lightweight to choose from, led by the likes of Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia.
"Six months to a year I see myself, and if not that’s why I’m still trying to stay as active as possible. I am a big 135 pounder, however, I been at this weight for seven years. There is a high possibility I will be moving up to 140 soon,” Lopez warned.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.