Teofimo Lopez finds it amusing that Josh Taylor couldn’t keep his name out of his mouth for the longest time. Now, according to Lopez, Taylor has apparently changed his tune.
Lopez, the WBA/IBF/WBO lightweight champion, could be headed to the 140-pound division sooner than later, where a mouthwatering matchup potentially awaits him against the unified champion of that division, Scotland’s Josh Taylor, who recently collected all the junior welterweight belts by defeating Jose Ramirez in May.
But Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) feels that Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs) is no longer interested in entertaining that fight because of Taylor’s recent comments. The Scotsman claimed that Lopez was not an “undisputed champion” and therefore he “still has business to take care of at lightweight" before coming up to the junior welterweight ranks to challenge him.
Taylor was pointing to the welter of confusion surrounding Lopez's status. Lopez – as well as his promoter Top Rank and network ESPN – has consistently claimed that he had won all four major sanctioning body titles from Lomachenko in their title fight last October, which Lopez won by unanimous decision. But prior to that bout Lomachenko had vacated his WBC lightweight title for a different designation, the WBC’s so-called “Franchise champion.” The WBC lightweight belt currently belongs to Devin Haney. That is why some observers have noted that Lopez, technically, is not the undisputed lightweight champion, even if he is most certainly the “top dog” in the division.
“Josh Taylor was calling me out before. ‘Yeah, I want Teofimo’ and this and that,” Lopez said on Inside Boxing Live. “And now he’s saying that I’m not undisputed because his team is telling him that and because they want to avoid [me].”
“[Taylor’s team] want to avoid [me]. They have a mandatory right now…Jack Catterall. Folks don’t understand that. There are past interviews of him talking about me. Now he’s just …I’m getting better and I think that they feel that. It’s all about that. That energy I bring to the table.
Taylor has expressed his desire to take on Catterall (26-0, 13 KOs) later this summer. As for Lopez, he is preparing for his own mandatory in George Kambosos Jr. (19-0, 10 KOs) on August 14 at a venue to be determined. Lopez, however, says a Taylor fight still greatly intrigues him – all the more so because he would not have to cut as much weight.
“It would be a great fight, a phenomenal fight,” Lopez continued. “I would actually be at my weight. Not that I’m not comfortable now but right now I’m stopping my potential as a fighter. 140 is where I’m most comfortable at and people would get to see my full arsenal. You’ll get to see everything.
“I think [Taylor’s team] knows that. With Teofimo, you can’t worry about one thing. My speed, my power, my ring IQ, my footwork, my inside work, and I can fight backwards. That's a lot of things that they have to worry about. There’s so many elusive things. And I can go southpaw.”