From Teofimo Lopez’s perspective, Josh Taylor has shown weakness by changing trainers following his subpar performance against Jack Catterall.
The Scottish southpaw parted ways with Ben Davison after his debatable split-decision defeat of England’s Catterall in February 2022. Taylor has been prepared for his 12-round, 140-pound title fight against Lopez on Saturday night by Joe McNally, who also works with former WBO junior middleweight champ Liam Smith.
Lopez expressed his blunt opinion on Taylor’s trainer switch during one of their heated exchanges in “Trash Talk: Taylor Vs. Lopez,” a 30-minute promotional preview that premiered Saturday on ESPN2.
“The thing is is it’s not the trainer’s fault – it’s yours,” Lopez said. “It’s not the trainer’s fault. You can go and switch [to] another trainer and then have to adapt. You’re still gonna fight the same that you probably fought with Catterall. It doesn’t change, doesn’t change. That shows weakness. That’s how I see it. Whether he’s your new trainer or not, it’s just the facts, mate.”
Taylor explained that he determined Davison, who used to train Tyson Fury, wasn’t the trainer he thought could maximize his potential.
“Cuz I needed a change,” Taylor said of replacing Davison. “The trainer wasn’t right for me. He wasn’t right for me, wasn’t working for me. I need to do what I do for myself and do what I do best.”
Lopez, meanwhile, has had the same head trainer – his father, Teofimo Lopez Sr. – throughout his time as an amateur and as a pro. Assistants, most notably former two-division champ Joey Gamache, have helped prepare Lopez for fights in the past, but Lopez is most comfortable with his father training him.
“My father’s everything, man,” Lopez said. “It’s a dynamic duo, you know? I like to keep him reserved right now, you know, for my own reasons. This is not a backup guy here next to me [strength and conditioning coach Leron Turner]. This is a team sport, so that’s really what it is. My father is everything. A lotta people wanna bring other trainers involved.
“I’ve had assistant coaches, but they don’t know sh*t about boxing to the point that my father does. And that’s why it’s just me and him going into this fight. Don’t want nobody, don’t need nobody coming in there. My father’s a very, very intelligent man in the game – very. I mean, I know my sh*t in boxing and he still surprises me daily, daily.”
Taylor, 32, will defend his WBO junior welterweight title when he opposes Lopez, 25, in a 12-round main event ESPN will air Saturday night from The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. Most sportsbooks have installed Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) as slightly less than a 2-1 favorite to beat Brooklyn’s Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs), a former unified lightweight champion.
ESPN’s two-bout broadcast is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. EDT. Puerto Rican junior middleweight Xander Zayas (15-0, 10 KOs) and Los Angeles’ Ronald Cruz (18-2-1, 12 KOs) are set to square off in the 10-round feature before Taylor battles Lopez.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.