After his second fight in the junior welterweight division, a split-decision win over Sandor Martin in December 2022, Brooklyn native Teofimo Lopez was asked who he wanted in the ring next.
“We would love to fight Josh Taylor,” he said. “We would love to fight Regis Prograis. Or even a rematch with George Kambosos. My whole thing now is just staying focused and staying devoted.”
If Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs) answered that question in order of preference, then he indeed received what he wanted. The 25-year-old former undisputed lightweight champion will meet Taylor
(19-0, 13 KOs), the reigning WBO light-welterweight title holder, for the latter’s belt this Saturday at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. But is Taylor too much for Lopez in the light-welterweight division?
After his victory against Martin, Lopez appeared to make excuses for the close fight, even saying sorry to fans for what many considered a lackluster performance.
“It’s so hard to fight somebody like this when they’re running the whole time,” Lopez said.
“Every time this guy committed, I countered and got him every time. He just ran the whole time. It’s OK, though. We got a lot to work on. But first off, I want to thank God for this. No matter what it was. I apologize to everybody tonight. This is not how we perform. But, listen, our dancer partner was running the whole time.”
Lopez also suggested the subpar performance might encourage fighters to want to challenge him. “These guys are going to want to fight me now. More than ever…Now I can actually have a good fight.”
Taylor is favored in his fight. But so was Vasiliy Lomachenko, who Lopez defeated in Las Vegas in October 2020 by a 12-round decision. “The way I think he’s going to fight, we’ll put him out of there early,” Taylor told Sky Sports.
This past Saturday, 11,784 people witnessed the first-ever boxing event at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, as Claressa Shields dominated Maricela Cornejo.
The scorecards of 100-90, 100-90, and 100-89 allowed Shields, the undisputed champion, to retain her WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, and WBF women’s world middleweight titles.
“I feel great,” she said after her decisive win. “I was landing my shots. I won every round like I knew I could. I went for the knockout how many times this fight? Maricela is tough. She did a great job. Height doesn’t matter and power doesn’t matter, either. It’s all about the skills and will and heart, and I always have more than the other girls.”
With the recent loss by Katie Taylor, Shields, the self-proclaimed GWOAT (greatest woman of all time), is unquestionably the biggest name in women’s boxing.
The fight game returns to Detroit on July 15 when Alycia Baumgardner defends her undisputed world super-featherweight title against Christina Linardatou at the Masonic Temple.