Teofimo Lopez Jr. enjoyed the first major breakout of his career on Dec. 14, 2019 as the co-feature to a Terence Crawford fight, knocking out Richard Commey to win the 135-pound IBF championship title.
The event was broadcast on ESPN immediately following the NCAA Heisman Trophy presentation.
Fast forward three years later, and two of the sport’s top attractions will again be fighting on the night of the Heisman Trophy ceremony – only this time on competing cards.
Lopez and Crawford are no longer Top Rank stablemates, each guiding their careers down different paths in different divisions.
Lopez will be campaigning for the second time at 140 pounds – the division Crawford was once an undisputed champion in – when he takes on Sandor Martin on Dec. 10. at the Madison Square Garden in New York on ESPN.
Crawford, meanwhile, will be taking on David Avanesyan in a homecoming bout in Nebraska headlining a BLK Prime pay-per-view.
Crawford was on a path to fight Errol Spence Jr. for undisputed welterweight honors, but months-long negotiations never cleared the finish line.
Lopez offered his opinion on the situation.
“There’s too much ego. These guys have too much ego,” Lopez told Sean Zittel of FightHype.com. “I don’t know who has more ego in this one, though. I don’t know if it’s Spence or Crawford. Crawford, I think he has too much pride. I think he’s f------ up his own bag by doing that, so badly.
“[I saw an interview with him saying he] doesn’t need to be undisputed at 147 because, basically, he’s done it at 140. I just smacked my face, like, I don’t think you kind of get it. It’s not about doing it once. It’s about doing it multiple times so no one else can do it. Look at Claressa Shields, a three-time undisputed world champion in three different divisions, and the girl is still going. It’s that type of mentality.
“So you know what? I don’t even care because these guys aren’t going to fight, obviously, because they have their own reasons, their own pride, their own ego, and once I go to 147, you guys aren’t going to have that mistake.”
Lopez is coming off a seventh-round TKO win against Pedro Campa in August.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.
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