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Bill Haney: Teofimo Lopez vs. Devin is the fight to be made at 135

Devin Haney Teofimo Lopez

By Sean Jones: Trainer Bill Haney says a fight between his son WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney and Teofimo Lopez is the fight that needs to be made right now at 135.

Teofimo doesn’t have the real WBC 135-lb title, according to Bill, Devin Haney, and Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn.

For Teofimo to hold the genuine WBC belt that historically has been by great fighters like Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather Jr, he’ll need to beat WBC lightweight champion Haney (25-0, 15 KOs).

Teofimo hasn’t shown any interest in fighting Haney for some reason, which could be of what his father Bill says; he’s a bad style match-up for him.

Bill views the clash as a bad style match-up for Teofimo (16-0, 12 KOs), who would have to change his game if he wanted to avoid his first career defeat.

Teofimo, 23, captured the WBA, WBC Franchise, and WBO lightweight titles last October with a 12 round unanimous decision win over Vasily Lomachenko. Going into the match, Teofimo already held the IBF belt, and he was able to outbox the talented Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs).

Devin looked great last month in beating former two-time featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa by a 12 round unanimous decision on November 7th.

Haney isn’t a good style match-up for Teofimo

“You take chances to get the best rewards, and we know that’s not a fight that is the best style match-up for Teo,” said Bill Haney to AKHi TV about Devin being a difficult style for Teofimo.

“The people know and the boxing community knows that’s the fight to be made right now in the lightweight division.

Devin Haney Teofimo Lopez

“That’s absolutely incorrect,” said Bill in responding to Teofimo saying that he didn’t petition t become Franchise champion. “With the Franchise designation, you have to petition.

“It’s not something they just award you and bestow on you. You have to have it as part of your plan and your moving as a champion. It has to be part of your plan. ‘Can I get the Franchise designation to make a different fight happen [or not happen] so I don’t have to do my mandatory.’

“That’s what Lomachenko did. When Teofimo applied for the Franchise designation, it had to be applied before the [Lomachenko] fight happened. So he applied for it.

“You can look it up and type it in. ‘Lopez applies for Franchise designation with Top Rank for the WBC.’ Once you do that, you automatically let them know that you don’t want to fight the WBC champion, not right now.

“But they respect you enough with that designation that it allows you to fight [for the title] at a later date. So it’s not like the old school where you just get stripped or you vacate the belt. You vacate the belt with honors.

“With Teofimo’s Franchise designation, he can say right now, ‘I want to fight Devin Haney. I want to make this fight for everything.’ We understand that Teofimo would be taking on a big challenge,” Bill Haney said.

Teofimo sounding disinterested in fighting Devin

Lopez doesn’t acknowledge that Devin has a title, saying to DAZN, “What belt? Anybody can, and anyone will get an opportunity to face Teofimo, as long as they understand their station and where they stand at.”

In other words, what Teofimo is saying is that if anyone wants to fight him, they got to understand that they’re going to need to take the smaller split of the loot. There won’t be any 50-50, even if they’re a belt-holder.

Devin Haney Teofimo Lopez

“We’re the A+ side,” continued Teofimo. We ain’t no A-side, we’re the A+ side. So everybody needs to respect that and understand that.

“We came out there and dethroned the [injured] king [Lomachenko] that everybody talked about for the longest. So now it’s our turn to go out there. Now you’ve got to show me what you’re all about.

“Show me something,” Lopez said about Devin Haney. “You had your opportunity with Gamboa, 38-years-old, and you couldn’t do nothing.

“What does that show for everybody else out there? If you want to come at me, you better be ready, and that’s what I’m saying about everybody in 2021. I’m coming out there to take your head off,” Lopez said.

As you can see, Teofimo is going to be a problem with him spouting about being the “A+ side.” The way that Lopez devalued Haney’s win over Gamboa can be translated to him saying, ‘I don’t want to fight Haney, he’s too much of a problem.’ 

Teofimo isn’t going to be sticking around at 135 for more than one or two fights, according to his father Teofimo Lopez Sr. However, he’s not talking about wanting his son Teofimo Jr to face Haney with one of his last fights in the 135-lb division.

He wants Teofimo Jr to defend against his IBF mandatory George Kambosos Jr in Australia, and then possibly Ryan Garcia if he wins his fight this Saturday night against Luke Campbell.

Teofimo is ignoring Devin, and that has to be interpreted as the highest form of respect. If Teofimo thought he could beat Devin, he’d be trying to make that fight right away.

Teofimo vs. Kambosos: Do fans want to see this?

“You can’t do that as a company to petition without a fighter agreeing to the terms of it as a company and a promoter, you can’t do that,” Bill Haney said when asked if Top Rank is the one that asked the WBC to make Tefimo the Franchise champion without him letting them know about it and getting his blessings first.

Devin Haney Teofimo Lopez

“It’s strictly up to the fighters and their teams in picking that route [to become Franchise champion].

“As of now, Canelo, Lomachenko, and Teofimo Lopez are the only Franchise champions the WBC has had since they started the belt. [Deontay] Wilder was offered the belt, and he didn’t take it, he didn’t want it.

“We’ve already established the belt is a Franchise designation, it’s not a championship belt,” said Bill talking about the WBC title that Teofimo won from Lomachenko.

“He doesn’t have a lightweight WBC belt of any kind because he never won one, and he [Teofimo] was never awarded one.

“So the Franchise destination that he has, it gives him the opportunity to become the mandatory for the real WBC lightweight title.

“He says he’s going to give [IBF lightweight mandatory] George] Kambosos the opportunity at the belts. We just have to see how the people are going to feel about Kambosos, about him picking Kambosos to fight vs. him picking Devin,” said Bill.

The fans don’t want to see Teofimo fight Kambosos, but that looks like that’s the direction he’s going on.

Teofimo seems to have lost his ambition after his win over the injured Lomachenko, and we may not see him taking risky fights against the likes of Devin anytime soon.

Fighters typically react one of two ways after they pull off a big upset win like the one Teofimo picked up against Lomachenko.

They become more motivated and work harder, or they rest on their laurel and cherry-pick and drive their careers into the ground. Guess which direction Teofimo is taking his career.

Teofimo’s WBC lightweight title isn’t real

“The belt that Devin has is the same belt as Floyd, Ali, Sugar Ray [had],” Bill said in responding to Teofimo’s comment about him having the real WBC lightweight title. ”

Devin Haney Teofimo Lopez

“All those fighters had their pictures on it. It doesn’t have a promoter, and it doesn’t have Matchroom or Top Rank. And it doesn’t have DHP, and it doesn’t have none of that. It has the fighters, and I feel the fighters are the ones that have earned those belts, and it should be the ones with their faces on there.

“The Franchise designation is something you petition to the WBC for, and they consider you and what you’re doing and they ultimately decide if they’re going to give it to you are not,” Bill Haney said.

“It’s not something you can challenge for, it’s not something you can win. It’s something you have to ask and petition, and they give you and award you. In their case, they elevate you to a position where you’re not just a regular fighter.

“If you want to lay off, when you come back, you can become the mandatory challenger for the real WBC lightweight title that Devin has.

“That just gives him [Teofimo] the opportunity to have an opportunity if he wants to [challenge Devin for the WBC title], but if he doesn’t take advantage of the opportunity and he goes up to 140, then he’s not the Franchise champion at 135 to my understanding.

“I know that we haven’t petitioned to become a Franchise champion at all. What we [Devin] want to do is be a well-recognized champion in Devin, that fights his mandatory’s and does everything that Floyd did and Ali did and Sugar Ray did. That’s what he wants to be recognized for,” said Haney.

Bill has got the point in saying that Teofimo’s WBC Franchise title isn’t a real belt because it’s not. It’s an honor strap that the World Boxing Council gives to fighters they personally like, which allows them to circumvent their mandatory challengers that they have no interest in fighting.

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