For the path he’s chosen on the road to lightweight supremacy, any fight would have been an acceptable next option for Teofimo Lopez Jr.
The theory on the way up was to never settle for something less when the best was available. That same logic is applied to the next likely fight on Lopez’s radar, a mandatory defense of his IBF title which he aims to turn into an event.
Talks remain ongoing for an unavoidable mandatory obligation to face Australia’s George Kambosos, Jr. (19-0, 10KOs), a perennial Top 10 contender who has earned his way to the title stage following back-to-back wins over former beltholders Mickey Bey and Lee Selby.
The fight is targeted to take place sometime this spring on an ESPN platform live from either Melbourne or Sydney. The location would grant home turf advantage for the unbeaten Kambosos, while providing Lopez with the type of coronation befitting a reigning lineal lightweight champion coming off of a Fighter of the Year campaign.
“I think it’s a great opportunity—not just for Kambosos, but for the people in Australia, and also for us,” Lopez told BoxingScene.com. “it’s an opportunity we are willing to take, something we are very willing to do.”
The fight would be the first for Brooklyn’s Lopez (16-0, 12KOs) since a head-turning 12-round unanimous decision win over three-division and unified lightweight titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-2, 10KOs) last October at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. The win—coupled with a crushing 2nd round knockout of Richard Commey to win the IBF title in Dec. 2019—thrusted Lopez into the pound-for-pound rankings and all the way on top of the lightweight division.
With superstar-level performances shall come superstar-worthy rewards.
“Money talks, bullsh-t walks, right,” notes Lopez, who is expected to make a career-best payday to travel abroad. “If they want the king over there, they gotta pay up. I think it will be a very smart move.
“It will be amazing to be able to fight with however many they can allow in attendance, 40-, 50,000. It will shut everyone’s mouth about my (drawing power).”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox