Teofimo Lopez Jr. is apparently thinking about taking a hiatus from boxing.
Shortly after defeating Scotland's Josh Taylor by unanimous decision Saturday night at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the WBO 140-pound titlist, Lopez told ringside reporters that he needs “to take a break” from the sport. Lopez then suggested he was not being paid enough, saying he deserves more than one million dollar paydays to enter the ring. The Brooklyn native also said in the post-fight interview Saturday night that he will turn his attention to battling his ex-wife in their ongoing divorce proceedings.
Lopez, 25, reiterated his claim about retirement in a subsequent Instagram post.
“What a relief! Retired at the Top,” Lopez wrote in a post that featured an old picture of him and his father. ”Thank you Boxing for the amazing life you've provided for myself and my entire loved ones! THE DOUBLE-GREATEST.”
Lopez, who was lambasted by boxing fans for his controversial and bizarre remarks leading up to Saturday’s fight, expanded his "retirement" claims in an interview with The Porter Way Podcast. Lopez said he will only return to boxing when a “nine-figure contract" has been offered to him. Lopez insisted that he has generated ESPN, his broadcaster, over $100 million and that he deserves a bigger paycheck as a result. Lopez’s promoter, Top Rank, has an exclusive content deal with ESPN.
“I think the only way you get Teo back is a nine-figure contract deal,” Lopez said. “Because I’ve made ESPN over a $100 million. I’m still getting paid a million dollars to fight while all these other fighters have not even done a quarter of what I’ve done and accomplished in the sport, they’re getting eight, 10, 12, 15 million dollars.
"So obviously I’m the black sheep of the industry and they’re really hurting me on that end. I really want to fix the sport of the boxing world and the corruption that’s going on.”
Lopez’s win over Taylor makes him a two-division titlist and seemingly redeems a career that appeared to be on the rocks for nearly the past two years, ever since he was upset by George Kambosos Jr.
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.