Teofimo Lopez says Devin Haney must look impressive against Jorge Linares to get a fight
By Sean Jones: WBC lightweight champion Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney will need to beat challenger Jorge Linares impressively next month on May 29th to get a fight against undisputed 135-lb champion Teofimo Lopez.
IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO champ Teo (16-0, 12 KOs) says Haney (25-0, 15 KOs) and the other fighters in the lightweight division need him, but he doesn’t need them.
Teofimo’s talk of Haney needing to earn a fight against him rings hollow when you look at who Teo is facing next in little-known George Kambosos Jr from Australia.
Kambosos Jr (19-0, 10 KOs) looked poor in scraping by 37-year-old Mickey Bey and past his best Lee Selby by a pair of split decisions in his last two fights to earn the IBF mandatory position to challenge Teofimo.
Instead of Teofimo bypassing Kambosos Jr to take the bigger fights against Haney or Vasily Lomachenko, he chose to go in that direction.
Teo’s move to take the easier fight against Kambosos has many boxing fans viewing him as avoiding the best and just looking to milk his titles against weak opposition.
Teofimo’s move to take a weaker opponent could be a glimpse of what people can expect to see from him in the future. Coming events cast their shadows before.
Teofimo says Haney must look good
“You have to,” said Teofimo to Fighthype when asked if Devin Haney has to look good against Linares to earn a fight against him.
“I hope so; that’s all I can say. And I don’t know what Devin is going to be there that night. I don’t know what Linares is going to be there that night,” said Lopez.
At this point, Haney still might not get the fight with Teofimo, even if he looks sensational against Linares in their headliner fight on DAZN on May 29th at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“I never sparred him [Linares]. The only person I sparred in the past was Devin Haney, and they went all about talking about it all the time, making up stories,” said Teofimo.
“But I know he remembers the time we sparred, and he sat on the side by the stairs. He had his headgear off and had his gloves on, just looking down at the floor.
“It’s alright, bro. He was looking at the stairs. I don’t like messing with these guys no more. We came to a point where they need us, and we don’t need them. We do need each other absolutely, but in times like these, I don’t need to keep them up,” Teofimo said.
If Teofimo doesn’t want to fight Haney, he should vacate his lightweight titles and move up to 140 to take on the Josh Taylor vs. Jose Ramirez fight winner.
Teofimo has a ready-made excuse for swerving the risky Haney fight by telling the fans that he’s going up to 140 to fight for the undisputed championship.
Lopez to let fans decide if he should fight Haney
“Let him keep himself relevant; let him do his part. Let him go out there and do whatever he has to do and fight Linares,” said Teofimo about Haney. “The same goes for [Ryan] Garcia, and whoever else is in my division.
“I’ll let everybody else decide on that,” Teofimo said about whether he should fight Haney or not. “Whatever everyone else feels on his performance,” said Teofimo when asked if Haney needs a knockout of Linares to earn a shot against him.
“I go on what everybody says. If they say he did a great job, and looked phenomenal, and looked unbeatable, then there you go.
“He’s a young grown man, he knows what he needs to do, and he knows what everyone wants to see from Devin Haney.
“What does ‘The Dream [Haney] bring to the table? That was a dream that he picked that one [WBC 135-lb title received via email] up. He brought that one back in reality,” said Teofimo.
It sounds like a wishy-washy way for Teofimo to skirt out of a fight with Haney by pushing it on the fans rather than just coming out and saying directly he doesn’t fancy the fight.
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