The boxing world was seemingly Teofimo Lopez’s oyster following his upset win over Vasiliy Lomachenko in 2020. However, after watching his pristine and flawless record go by the wayside at the hands of George Kambosos Jr. one year later, the brash and flamboyant 25-year-old was forced to hit the reset button.
Both unwilling and unable to squeeze his ever-growing frame down to the 135-pound weight limit, Lopez (17-1, 12 KOs) abandoned his now former weight class, to compete at 140-pounds.
In his first trip to the ring since his nightmare showing, Lopez did his best to distance himself from his recent defeat. By and large, the former unified lightweight champion did just that, issuing a one-sided beating to fringe contender, Pedro Campa, earlier this year.
For an encore, Lopez will make a relatively quick turnaround when he takes on former multi-division champion, Jose Pedraza. Officially, the two will lock horns on December 10th, in Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater.
While respected amongst his pugilistic peers, Lopez admits that, considering his recent performance, he wasn't initially thrilled about facing the former champion.
For Pedraza, the 2022 calendar hasn't been exactly kind to him. Earlier this year, the Puerto Rican native saw his three-fight win streak come to an end against Jose Ramirez. Five months later, Pedraza fought listlessly against Richard Commey, resulting in a split decision draw.
Although Lopez acknowledges that facing the 33-year-old isn't ideal, with his options barren at this point, he’ll simply take what he can get.
“It’s not someone that I would have liked to face,” said Lopez during an interview with Mark Kriegel. “However, with everything that’s going on, so many other fights are being matched right now. This was the best opportunity right now.”
Should the brazen 25-year-old take care of business on the 10th of December, a more meaningful bout at 140-pounds could be in his immediate future. With countless titles up for grabs, Lopez is firmly of the belief that he’ll lace his waist with gold sooner rather than later.
“Everything happens for a reason. I’m just looking forward to making it a phenomenal end of the year to go into 2023 for a championship.”