Teofimo Lopez wants Josh Taylor vs. Jose Ramirez winner after beating Lomachenko
By Chris Williams: Teofimo Lopez says he’s not interested in facing lightweight contender Felix Verdejo in 2021 after he battles Vasily Lomachenko on October 17th. Teofimo (15-0 12 KOs) wants the “big names” at 135 or 140, possibly the winner of the Josh Taylor vs. Jose Ramirez contest in 2021.
Although it would be easy for Top Rank to set-up a fight between Teofimo and Verdejo, as they’re both promoted by them, it’s not a match that Lopez is interested in at this time. He wants to fight world champions, and Verdejo doesn’t qualify.
Teofimo must first beat Lomachenko
IBF lightweight champion Lopez must get past WBA/WBC/WBO 135lb champ Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) in their fight this month on October 17th on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at the Bubble at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Beating Lomachenko will make Teofimo the undisputed lightweight champion, giving him the IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO 135-lb titles. While Lopez says he wants to move on after beating the 32-year-old Lomachenko to face other big names, it’s almost a certainty that Top Rank will set-up an immediate rematch between them.
You’ve got to believe that the Lomachenko-Lopez rematch will be on ESPN pay-per-view in 2021 and not on regular cable. There’s too much money available for the second match between Lomachenko and Teofimo on regular non-PPV on ESPN.
Teofimo not interested in Verdejo fight
“After I beat Vasily Lomachenko on October 17th, I want to look ahead for bigger fights,” said Teofimo Lopez when asked if he’ll face lightweight contender Felix Verdejo in his next fight.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t think Felix Verdejo is one of those bigger names right now. Maybe if he becomes champion, then it will make sense to fight him. I know many people after I beat Lomachenko, they’ll come and look for a fight with me because that means they’re going to make a lot of money.
“So that’s up to Top Rank and ESPN if they want to make that fight [between Teofimo and Verdejo], but if that’s up to me, I’m looking for bigger names.
“Let’s just make it happen with Jose Ramirez after this. Put both of them; I’ll have Josh Taylor in the morning and Jose Ramirez in the night,” continued Teofimo.
It’s logical for Teofimo, 23, not to be interested in facing Felix Verdejo (27-1, 17 KOs) if he beats Lomachenko because there’s no money in that fight. Antonio Lozada Torres already exposed verdejo in losing by a 10th round knockout in 2018.
Yeah, Verdejo, 27, has won his last four fights since that defeat, but those wins came against lower-level opponents. Top Rank hasn’t taken any chances with Verdejo since his loss to the slugger Torres.
Teofimo can gain a lot more in fighting the Josh Taylor vs. Jose Ramirez winner in 2021 if he’s not bogged down the entire year with rematches with Lomachenko.
Arum: Lopez could fight Ryan Garcia or Haney
“Teofimo will have to decide if he wants to stay at 135 or go up to 140,” said Bob Arum of Top Rank when asked what does Lopez do after the Lomachenko fight.
“He’s quite right that the big fight that we’re scheduling is Josh Taylor vs. Jose Ramirez. I know Teofimo would love to fight the winner. Also, at 135, there are some interesting fighters out there.
“There’s Ryan Garcia, who fights under the Golden Boy banner, there’s Devin Haney, who is with DAZN, but would probably be available. There are probably a lot of other guys for Verdejo.
“I know what Teofimo is saying, but Verdejo, since he’s under a new trainer, is looking absolutely great now, and he’s a potential opponent.
“So it’s all good. I know Teofimo is looking at it is he wins this fight [with Lomachenko], but even if he doesn’t win the fight, he’s still a major draw and can fight any of those guys,” said Arum.
WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) is a logical fight for Teofimo to make in 2021, as Devin has already said he wants to fight the Lomachenko-Lopez winner.
It makes a lot of sense for Teofimo to take on Haney, 21, in 2021 if he has all four titles at 135. The WBC Franchise title that Lopez will be looking to rip from Lomachenko is more of a specialty belt that doesn’t really count.
For Teofimo to become the real undisputed champion, he’ll have to beat WBC champ, Haney.
Teofimo wants Taylor vs. Ramirez winner
“I look forward to what the future holds. And I look at it as one fight at a time,” said Lopez. “We’ll see hat happens on October 17th. I’m very confident in myself. Any of those fights, it’ll be a great potential.
“I don’t think any fight will be bigger than this one on October 17th against myself at the moment. Yes, you have Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez in 2021. It’s just many great fights around here in the 135-lb division and in the 140-lb division that I could pick off from.
“I’ve got a great future ahead of me, and I look forward to facing these guys just to show that I am a king,” said Lopez.
It might not be easy for Teofimo to take on the winner of the Taylor vs. Ramirez fight because those two could fight a rematch. If their first fight is as exciting as many boxing fans believe it will be, then a second one will surely follow immediately.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum likes to do rematches and trilogy fights, so it’s a given that Taylor and Ramirez will be good for at least one rematch. If the same guy wins both fights, then you can forget about a trilogy match between them.
It’ll be risky for the 5’8″ Teofimo to take on the Taylor-Ramirez fight in his first match at 140, as those are huge light-welterweights, who arguably should already be fighting at 147.
Without any experience at welterweight, Lopez might struggle with the height, reach, and overall size of the Taylor Ramirez winner. Both of those fighters are 5’10”, and they’ll make it tough on Teofimo like the 5’11 1/2″ Masayoshi Nakatani did in their fight in 2018.
Lomachenko – Teofimo on regular ESPN
“I know I’m going to beat Lomachenko because I have confidence in myself, I’m a young fighter, I have the speed, I have the power, and I have the boxing skills,” said Teofimo.
“A lot of people don’t know it, but I’m also a great boxer. I’m not just a lower puncher. Some people think that I’m only that. I’m also very smart in the ring, and people will see that on October 17th,” said Teofimo Lopez.
“I’ve been around for a long, long time, and I’ve promoted some of the biggest fights, but I’m very, very excited about October 17th for two reasons,” said Bob Arum. “These are two quality fighters.
“You have the contrast in experience with Lomachenko, and the age, youth, and vigor of Teofimo. That makes for an exciting type of battle.
“I just want to thank ESPN because during these terrible times with so many Americans are out of work, I think it would have been unseemingly to ask people to pay $70 or $80 to see this great fight on pay-per-view.
“ESPN went up to the plate and gave us the wherewithal to do this fight so that people, no matter what their economic situation, will be able to watch this fight without any cause.
“We’re going to have a huge, huge audience. It’s going to be a real plus for the sport of boxing. Millions of people will be watching this event, and we’ll be seeing what boxing is all about with these two great athletes and fighters contesting on October 17th.
“So I’m very, very happy, I really am. I’m looking forward to this event, and I know boxing fans all over the world are looking forward to watching this event,” said Arum.
It’s great that ESPN and Top Rank show Lomachenko vs. Lopez on regular cable television for free.
Lomachenko vs. Lopez – winner take all
“On October 17th, tune in on ESPN,” said Lopez. “As long as you have cable, you’re able to watch it for free. Just having the opportunity of a lifetime to watch two fathers and sons going in that ring to face each other.
“It’s a father’s and son’s dual match,” said Teofimo about his father being his trainer and Lomachenk’s ad coaching him. “You’ve got the old lion [Lomachenko] against the young lion [Teofimo].
“It’s amazing just to have this opportunity, and to be able to fight for ‘winners take all,’ just like in the poster. The winners take all, and that’s what it comes to on October 17th. One fighter.
“Two go in that ring, and one comes out the undisputed champion. Tune in on ESPN. Thank you, ESPN, for their platform. And thank you to Top Rank and Bob Arum and everyone. Thank you.
“I look forward to what my career holds, and I look forward to October 17th. I’m very excited. Hopefully, in 2021, we can have some more fans in the arena,” said Lopez.
The Lomachenko vs. Teofimo fight winner will hold all four titles at 135, which is a big deal for both of these guys. Many boxing fans have wondered for a long time which the #1 guy is at 135, and now they’ll get a chance to find out.
Granted, Ryan Garcia, Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, and Devin Haney are are guys that the Lomachenko-Teofimo winner will need to beat to convince 100% of the boxing world that they’re #1.
But at least temporarily, the winner o the Lomachenko vs. Lopez fight will be viewed as the top fighter in the lightweight division. It’ll be an interim time of undisputed championship that the Lomachenko and Teofimo fight winner will hold.
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