Former unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez Jr. will be making his long-awaited return to the ring when he faces off against Pedro Campa this Saturday at Resorts World in Las Vegas on ESPN.

Following a stunning split decision loss to Geroge Kambosos Jr. last year, Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs) will continue his career campaigning at 140 pounds with the goal of getting himself back into the world title mix. 

But first, he must beat the Mexican contender Campa (34-1-1, 23 KOs). 

“I’m just excited for this new chapter at 140,” Lopez told ESPN’s “Max on Boxing” host Max Kellerman. “That fight [against Kambosos], the amount of pressure that athletes go through during the course of our career. I think as a fighter, I can’t let the fans down. I have to give them a show no matter how I'm feeling. I’m blessed to not be dead. True. I’m just looking forward to 140, taking over that division just like I took over 135, beating the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world at that time, Vasiliy Lomachenko, and just moving forward.”

After the Kambosos fight, Lopez later admitted that he was dealing with a list of ailments varying from a potentially-fatal respiratory issue to hand and elbow problems. In February, Lopez had arthroscopic surgery on his right hand and left elbow. 

“It was amongst a lot of things [why I moved forward with the Kambosos fight]. The number of postponements we had. I think they had like seven, eight postponements during that time, getting ready against a [mandatory challenger] that was basically dictating my career in a sense, with the IBF and everything ... I pushed as much as I could that night. Everything happens for its own reasons,” said Lopez.

“When it comes to a split decision, you really have to beat the champion, man. I don't think he did enough. You have to beat the champion. A lot of people wanted to push me to the side so they can have Devin Haney become undisputed, and all that other nonsense.”

Haney has since beaten Kambosos and owns all of the lightweight belts. 

Kambosos had nowhere near the same success he showed against Lopez. 

Lopez and Kambosos traded knockdowns in their 12-round fight and the Greek-Australian outlanded Lopez 182 to 176. 

"To me man, honestly, listen, the way that things played out, it is what it is. I still believe that I won the fight. Whether people call me delusional or not, I am the greatest of my time and my era for that reason. If that makes me delusional than so be it. Everybody needs to tune in on Aug. 13 to see how delusional I really am. I'm just looking forward to bigger and better things.”

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] or on