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Teofimo Lopez: I’ll fight the top guys after my mandatory

Teofimo Lopez

By Sean Jones: Teofimo Lopez puts the top lightweights on hold while he defends against his IBF mandatory George Kambosos Jr next.

The boxing fans don’t understand that move, as they don’t want to see Teofimo (16-0, 12 KOs) take soft fights against a fighter that they don’t rate.

Fans want to see Teofimo take on Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, or Vasily Lomachenko.

The way that Teofimo’s ego has gotten out of control since beating an injured Vasily Lomachenko last year suggests to some that he’s become a diva and is ducking the best.

People feel that Teofimo uses the IBF mandatory against Kambosos as an excuse to take an easy fight.

While Teofimo insists that the mandatory was due, fans believe he could have steered around it if he wanted.

Teofimo putting the top 135-pounders on hold

“I’ll get after these guys after my mandatory,” said Teofimo to Fighthype when asked about when is he going to fight Haney, Ryan Garcia, and Tank Davis. “In the meantime, let them fight, let them look good.

Teofimo Lopez

“I want them to be successful. And I don’t want them to lose. And I want to be the person that makes them lose. I want to give them their first loss.

“I don’t think everybody understands, but on February 18th, everyone is going to get woken the f*** up,” said Lopez about his purse bid for his fight against Kambosos. “It’s the takeover time.

“I took over last year,” said Teofimo, talking about his wins over Richard Commey and an injured Vasily Lomachenko. “This is where we actually have a breakthrough year, and we end up back to back Fighter of the year; that’s my goal.

“It shouldn’t,” said Teofimo when told that his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank says his fight with Kambosos Jr will go to a purse bid on February 18th.

“Because this is boxing, this is Top Rank, and this is ESPN. So if they’re not living up to the name, what’s the point, you know? Me and my father we’re sitting back and chilling. Why? Because we know what we bring to the table.

“However, should it go that route? I don’t think so, but we’re fine. We’re OK. We’re not stressed, and we’re not worried.

“We’ll find out everything on February 18th,” said Teofimo when told Eddie Hearn said he’ll put in a big,” said Teofimo.

Unlike Teofimo, the top lightweights would be expected to face quality opposition.

Lopez’s fight against Kambosos = “just business”

“Some things are better just said and not done yet. I’m about seeing the actions,” Teofimo said. “We’ll see. I’m not asking for any of that. You’re giving me my minimum.

Teofimo Lopez

“It ain’t nothing personal; it’s just business. The IBF mandated it [the purse bid] because we didn’t agree to the terms, and it’s already done.

“A lot of people don’t understand. Wait until February 18th. I’ll be water under the bridge, and we’ll continue to do what we got to do.

“We’ll continue the takeover to become a legend. Im a legend in the making. I’m 23-years-young. My goal is to become a two-time undisputed champion. I’ve been cutting weight and staying trim. Right now, I’m 148, 149.

“Get the guys that are in the top 10; that’s where the competition is at,” said Teofimo about his advice for Ryan Garcia, Tank, and Haney. “However, they do it, as long as they look good at winning.

“As long as they’re [Haney and Ryan] are fulfilling their mandatory’s and those fights are ordered, those guys [Javier Fortuna and Jorge Linares] are world-class as well.

“They’re not world champions anymore, but they’re world-class top competitors. As I said, I want them all to do good. We ain’t giving handouts,” said Lopez.

With Teofimo weighing close to 150 lbs for his fights at lightweight, you can argue that he’s a ‘weight bully.’ Teofimo should be fighting against guys his own size at 140 rather than melting down to face smaller opposition at 135.

At least Teofimo is honest by saying that his fight with Kambosos Jr is a “business” level fight rather than sporting.

Teofimo not letting go of his belts

“I got to focus on my mandatory, George Kambosos, who is 19-0 with 10 knockouts, a tremendous record, never been defeated, from Australia, has a huge fan base, and he’s my mandatory now,” said Teofimo.

“He’s earned his spot. I’m not going to let go of any of my belts. Now it’s all about focusing on him first. I think at this rate; I’ll be at 135 as long as I want to.

“My thing is, I’m staying at 135 just until I see the winner of Ramirez-Taylor, and then I go after those guys at 140.

“I’m thinking about the glory, becoming a two-time undisputed champion. That’s my whole thing.

“Soon, I’ll be at junior welterweight. We’ll have to wait and see; I feel good right now,” Lopez said when asked if he’ll fight once more at 135 after the Kambosos Jr fight. “No, I’m not struggling,” said Teofimo.

Lopez will have to dump his belts anyway when he moves up to 140 after one more fight, so he might as well give up the IBF strap.

That way, Teofimo can focus on fighting the top fighters that bring U.S boxing public knows and cares about. American fans don’t care about Teofimo holding onto his precious IBF strap by facing Kambosos.

The likely reasons why Teofimo is choosing to stick it out with the Kambosos Jr fight is because of this:

  • It’s an easy fight
  • He can avoid facing the Four kings
  • Money is good for it being a low-risk fight
  • keeping the four belts strengthens Lopez’s hand to insist on being A-side

If Teofimo goes into the contest with WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, or Gervonta Davis as the undisputed champion at 135, he can use that to justify asking to be A-side.

As far as Teofimo’s comments aboutKambosos Jr having a “tremendous record” and having “earned his spot,” these are his best career wins:

  • Mickey Bey
  • Lee Selby
  • Rey Perez

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