Teofimo Lopez – Bob Arum lists options for his next fight in 2021

By Boxing News - 10/20/2020 - Comments

By Kenneth Friedman: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum and manager David Mcwater both like the idea of matching Teofimo Lopez against either Devin Haney or Ryan Garcia in 2021.

Those are the most appealing options for the unbeaten young star Teofimo (16-0, 12 KOs) for his next fight if he doesn’t  choose to give Vasily Lomachenko an immediate rematch

At the post-fight next conference last Saturday night, Lopez said that he would be interested in facing WBC lightweight champion Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) or Ryan Garcia.

Tank Davis not an option for Teofimo Lopez’s next fight

Teofimo also singled WBA secondary 135-lb champion Geronta ‘Tank’ Davis to dump on him for fighting the smaller Leo Santa Cruz on October 31st.

Tank would be a great option for Teofimo as well, but that would be a difficult fight to make because he’s with Mayweather Promotions. They’ve not shown a sense of urgency to match Tank against fighters like Teofimo, Vasily Lomachenko, or Ryan Garcia.

The lack of interest in matching Tank against quality fighters will likely make it impossible for Top Rank to set-up a fight between him and Teofimo.

Arum lists Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia as options

Image: Teofimo Lopez - Bob Arum lists options for his next fight in 2021Teofimo is coming off of a career-best 12 round unanimous decision over WBA/WBC/WBO lightweight champion Vasily Lomachenko last Saturday night. The 23-year-old Lopez became the undisputed 135lb champion with the win, and he now holds the IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO lightweight titles.

Lomachenko did nothing in the first seven rounds of the fight, which let Teofimo build up a huge lead that turned out to be insurmountable. As a result, the judges gave it to Teofimo by 116-112, 117-111, and 119-109.

The boxing world is eager to see more of Teofimo, and many of them would like for him to stay at 135 a little while longer. They want to see Teofimo take on Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, Ryan Garcia, and Devin Haney before he makes a move up to 140.

Arum didn’t mention Tank Davis’s name as a potential future opponent for Lopez, but he does seem intrigued by the idea of him facing Ryan Garcia or Devin Haney.

“Those would be attractive fights,” Arum said to ESPN on Teofimo facing Haney or Ryan Garcia. “They have other promoters, Haney and Garcia, but I’m sure that they would be appropriate challengers for Teofimo. But again, I haven’t discussed it with him.”

Devin needs to beat Gamboa

Image: Teofimo Lopez - Bob Arum lists options for his next fight in 2021

Haney still needs to win his next fight against former IBF/WBA featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa on December 7th to be considered an option for Teofimo in 2021.

Devin and the 38-year-old Gamboa (30-3, 18 KOs) are headlining on DAZN at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida.

Although the 21-year-old Haney is the favorite to beat the 2004 Olympic gold medalist Gamboa, it’s not a sure thing that he will.
Gamboa showed that he still has a lot of life left in him in his last contest against Tank Davis in December of last year, making it to the 12th round despite fighting with an injured Achilles.

Gervonta stopped Gamboa in round 12, but the fight was competitive throughout. Tank is a much bigger puncher than Haney, and he’s faster as well.

If Gamboa could give Davis problems with him fighting on one good leg, he might pull off an upset against Haney. We’ll see what happens in this fight on October 31st. If Haney wins and looks good, it’ll increase his chances of landing the Teofimo Lopez fight.

De La Hoya likes Teofimo vs. Ryan Garcia

Image: Teofimo Lopez - Bob Arum lists options for his next fight in 2021

Ryan Garcia arguably has the best shot at fighting Teofimo due to his six million followers on social media.

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya doesn’t have a problem with King Ryan fighting Teofimo Lopez.

Speaking with TMZ, De La Hoya said, “That [a fight between Lopez and Garcia] will be like Fernando Vargas vs. De La Hoya all over again. I mean, that’s a classic. I think both guys are skilled, amazing fighters. That will be a classic.”

The only thing that stands in the way of Ryan getting a potential fight against Teofimo is Luke Campbell. He’s got to beat him to have a shot at fighting Teo, and he may not be able to handle the British fighter.

Also, Tank Davis has made it clear that he wants to fight Ryan Garcia in 2021 on pay-per-view. Ryan would need to decide whether there’s more money in a fight against Tank on Showtime PPV or a match against Teofimo. It’s a toss-up which of those two fights would make more money for Ryan.

Lopez will have to wait to fight at 140

Image: Teofimo Lopez - Bob Arum lists options for his next fight in 2021

As far as Teofimo moving up to light-welterweight to take on champions Jose Ramirez or Josh Taylor, Arum says he would have to wait until the end of 2021 for that to happen. 

Taylor and Ramirez are fighting for the undisputed 140-lb championship in the early near year, and the winner of that fight must face WBO mandatory Jack Catterall.

At best, Teofimo would be looking at late 2021 to challenge Taylor or Ramirez with all four belts at stake at 140. But there’s also a possibility that Teofimo might need to wait until 2022 to fight one of those two champions, especially if the pandemic is still an ongoing problem. 

Arum likely won’t match Teofimo against the Taylor-Ramirez winner behind closed doors because there would be a lot of money at stake in a fight of that nature.

Arum isn’t ruling out a future rematch between Teofimo (16-0, 12 KOs) and Lomachenko once crowds are allowed to return after the pandemic ends. However, that’s not expected to happen soon, unfortunately, and there’s a possibility Lomachenko, 32, will move back down to 130.

Lomachenko getting a good win under his belt against one of the top lightweights or super featherweights will increase interest from boxing fans in seeing a rematch between him and Teofimo.

Arum says Lomachenko should move down

Image: Teofimo Lopez - Bob Arum lists options for his next fight in 2021

“It seems to be that the 135-pound guys are too big for him,” Arum said to ESPN about Lomachenko. “Ridiculous,” Arum said about Loma’s game plan for the Teofimo fight last weekend. “He gave away half the fight. He came on, but it was too late.”

With Lomachnko’s pride, he’s likely going to want to stay at 135 to try and get a reach with Teofimo. Lomachenko showed that he could succeed against Teofimo in the second half of the fight when he started to pressure him.

If Lomachenko moves down in weight to 130 without avenging his loss to Teofimo, his popularity will suffer. Loma will be looked at by boxing fans as damaged goods.

The least appealing option for Teofimo’s next fight in 2021 is to face the winner of the October 31st IBF lightweight title eliminator between George Kambosos and Lee Selby. Neither of those fighters is well-known in the U.S, and there would be less interest from the American boxing fans in watching Teofimo fight the winner of that contest.

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Kambosos has already voiced interest in challenging Teofimo if he defeats former IBF featherweight champion Selby, but that’s unlikely to happen. The time that Teofimo has left at lightweight [135] is limited, and he’s not going to waste one of his last remaining fights facing someone like Kambosos or Selby.

It’s too hard for Teofimo to make 135, and it won’t attract fans for him to face one of those two fighters.

Ryan Garcia still needs to beat 2012 Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell in their fight on December 5th, and it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to do that.

Many boxing fans believe that Campbell will beat Ryan, which will effectively remove him from the list of potential opponents for Teofimo to fight. The 22-year-old Garcia and Campbell will be fighting for the interim World Boxing Council lightweight title.

The winner is supposed to challenge WBC 135lb champ Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) for the belt. If Campbell wins, it’s not likely that Teofimo will choose him for his next match.

What makes Campbell unappealing is he lost to Lomachenko in 2019 by a 12 round unanimous decision, and Jorge Linares and Yvan Mendy have beaten him. Lomachenko stopped Linares in 2018.

Teofimo expected more from Lomachenko

Image: Teofimo Lopez - Bob Arum lists options for his next fight in 2021

“I expected more. A lot of people were talking highly about him, but I expected more,” said Teofimo at the post-fight news conference when asked what he thought of Lomachenko.

“He’s pretty basic, honest. Maybe it was the 14-month layoff that did it; I don’t know. But I had a 10-month layoff, so why would it matter?

“I fought the pound-for-pound guy and the guy that everybody talks about. He’s going to be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame for one thing.

“Being a three-division weight champion along with Claressa Shields, but that’s it. Everybody is always going to remember this fight with me,” said Lopez.

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