Teofimo Lopez Sr: Sulaiman said Franchise belt the most prestigious WBC strap
By Sean Jones: Teofimo Lopez Sr still insists that his son Teofimo Jr is the undisputed lightweight champion despite the boxing public viewing him as merely a three-belt unified champ due to him holding the giveaway WBC Franchise strap rather than the true belt. Many of the fans view the Franchise title as a “fake belt” given to champions that want to duck their opposition.
Teofimo Sr says that fans that say that Teofimo isn’t the undisputed champion at lightweight “Hate us.”
Interestingly, Teofimo Sr backs up his illusion that his son is the undisputed champion at 135 by claiming that WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman personally told him that the Franchise belt that they created is the most “prestigious” of the titles the sanctioning body has.
The boxing public sees things differently than Suliaman when it comes to his recently created ‘Franchise’ strap. They view that title as a ‘Fake belt,’ created for prima donna champions to duck their dangerous challengers, who might beat them.
In other words, these fans see Franchise titles being created for popular champions so they can cherry-pick soft opponents to keep themselves at the top longer than they would otherwise be.
Canelo is a good example of a higher who was given the Franchise belt by the WBC when he had Jermall Charlo breathing down his neck as his mandatory.
You can argue that the World Boxing Council created the Franchise belt in a hurry when they saw the possibility of Canelo NOT holding onto their WBC ‘regular’ middleweight title belt because he would have been required to defend it against Jermall.
That’s a fight that Canelo might have lost. So the creation of the Franchise belt in 2019 was one of necessity, you can argue, to keep Canelo from vacating the sanctioning bodies’ WBC 160-lb title to duck Jermall Charlo. It’s all pretty wretched when you think about it.
So now we’ve got Teofimo Sr claiming that the WBC Franchise belt is the equivalent of the sanctioning bodies’ uppermost belt rather than a fake belt designed to help popular champions duck the dangerous mandatory challengers that could potentially beat them.
Teofimo Sr insists Franchise is a real belt
We’re going to give him the chance to take all the belts from us. My son IS undisputed. We beat the man [Vasily Lomachenko] to get all these belts.
The people that insist he’s not are people that hate us. [WBC president] Mauricio Sulaiman said the prestigious belt in the WBC in the 135-lb weight division is the Franchise belt.
“So that is the destination belt to be the best, and we did it. We took it from Lomachenko.
It’s pathetic that Teofimo Jr has been embellishing his credentials by labeling himself the undisputed champion at 135. The reality is that Teofimo is a three-belt unified champion, but not the undisputed.
You can say that Teofimo is a four-belt champion because he also holds the Ring magazine strap to go along with his IBF, WBA, and WBO titles.
But for Teo to be the true undisputed champion, he’s going to have to set a portion of his schedule to fight the winner of the May 29th match between WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney and Jorge Linares.
The Franchise belt can’t be a real belt because it can’t be won or lost, which means it’s just an honorary type of strap.
When you have a title that can never be lost through competition, that constitutes an honorary strap and not a real one.
Kambosos has never been on this stage
“This is a huge fight for us, and this is just the beginning. It’s going to open doors for all of us,” said Teofimo Lopez Sr about the Kambosos Jr fight on Triller.
“Of his 16 fights, all the four fights that he hasn’t won by knockout, he’s won by a unanimous decision and by a long margin,” Teofimo Sr said about his son.
“The reason why we’re taking this fight is because my son didn’t want to lose his IBF belt. Kambosos is getting $2 million for this fight.
We can’t give him step aside money.
“Here we are. We’re about to take over the world. Kambosos has never been on this stage, and come June 19th, we’re ready,” said Teofimo Sr.
“We’re already on weight. He’s walking around at 148, 149. Plus, he has 10 lbs of water weight, so we’re already on weight. I’m going to take it down a notch due to the change of dates [from June 5th to June 19th].
“I’m not going to kill my son. So come June 19th, we’re going to be more than ready.
“The way he’s talking and the way he’s acting, I’m expecting him to come to fight,” said Teofimo Sr about George Kambosos Jr.
“Loma did a lot of talking but then didn’t do a lot of action when the fight came to fruition.
“Let’s see what happens. But Kambosos is nowhere close to Lomachenko. I’m coming into this fight very confident, and I know the outcome is going to be very amazing,” said Teofimo Sr.
Of course, Kambosos Jr hasn’t fought on the big stage. He’s just an average fighter that Teofimo Jr and his dad insist on fighting next rather than asking the International Boxing Federation to let them have an exception to fight Devin Haney or one of the popular contenders.
Let’s be clear about this. The IBF likely would have let Teofimo bypass Kambosos Jr for one fight without stripping him of the belt if he’d have asked. It’s believed that Teofimo wanted an easy fight after the close call he had against Vasily Lomachenko last October.
If Teofimo had asked for an exception, he would have been hammered by boxing fans for not giving Lomachenko a rematch.
That’s the fight the fans wanted to see, particularly after learning that Lomachenko fought Teofimo with an injured right shoulder.
Teofimo Sr wants Josh Taylor vs. Jose Ramirez winner
“I don’t care about nobody that is in the back of us,” said Teofimo Sr. “We already took care of the 135 weight division, and we’re going to take care of this guy [Kambosos Jr].
“Hopefully, we get the winner of Josh Taylor and [Jose] Ramirez. Let the best man win, but that’s the fight that I’m searching for.
“I’m searching for greatness, you know? I’m not searching for bragging rights. I’m searching for the belts.
“If you want to be great, you’ve got to fight my son. I’m not promising anything. We might go down and fight one of those guys if the fight with Josh Taylor doesn’t happen or Ramirez.
“Man, we’d fight anybody. My son ain’t scared of nobody. I think Josh Taylor is more craftier [than Ramirez] and a better fighter.
“Ramirez is a little more hungrier and throws a lot of punches. But I think that styles make fights, and I think that Josh Taylor is going to win this fight,” said Teofimo Sr in predicting a victory for Taylor over Jose Ramirez.
Teofimo will have some competition for getting the winner of the Taylor vs. Ramirez fight because two-division world champion Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis has already made it know that he wants the winner of that fight.
Gervonta first needs to take care of business against WBA ‘regular’ light welterweight champion Mario Barrios on June 26th. Teofimo has an advantage over Tank Davis in landing the Taylor vs. Ramirez fight because his promoters at Top Rank also promote Taylor and Ramirez, so it’s in their best interest to let him face the winner.
However, if Top Rank boss Bob Arum wants to put Teofimo in his place for the way he forced his non-marquee fight against IBF mandatory George Kambosos Jr to a purse bid, which Triller won, he won’t give him the Taylor-Ramirez winner.
If Arum gives the Ramirez vs. Taylor winner to Tank Davis, it’ll anger Teofimo and his dad and send a message to them that this is what they get for being disloyal.
There’s nothing wrong with Arum giving the fight to Tank because it’ll bring in a ton of PPV buys for Taylor or Ramirez to fight him.
You can argue that Tank is a bigger name and a far more proven PPV attraction than Teofimo, who has only fought on pay-per-view once in his career against Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Devin Haney vs. Jorge Linares = 50-50 fight, says Lopez Sr.
“That’s a 50-50 fight. Jorge Linares is already on his way out,” said Teofimo Sr when asked about his view of the Devin Haney vs. Jorge Linares clash on May 29th.
“He’s [Linares] been knocked out. He’s lost. Devin Haney has a better chance of winning this fight because he’s more confident, he hasn’t lost yet, but you never know. To me, that’s a 50-50 fight.
“That’s what I want. I’d like to fight Josh Taylor in England,” Teofimo Sr said when asked if Teo would ever consider fighting in the UK.
“That’s what I want. I want to take him out in his own hometown and show the world what my son is made out of. We can fight at any stage. We’ve already proven it by fighting in New York, Texas, New Orleans.
“It doesn’t really matter. Put the stage there, but the people there. We’re getting a crowd, so I’m really happy about that.
They’re talking about 25,000 to 36,000 people that will be there [for the Teofimo vs. Kamboso Jr fight on June 19th at the LoanDepot Park in Miami, Florida].
“Buy your tickets right away because the show is going to be sold out. I see him with all the belts in the 140-lb division in his 18th fight,” said Teofimo Sr. in making it clear that Teo will be moving up to light welterweight after he faces Kambosos Jr on June 19th.
With the skeleton crew that Triller has put together for the Teofimo Lopez vs. George Kambosos Jr undercard in Miami, it’s hard to imagine the event selling out. Basically, boxing fans would be purchasing the card to see Teofimo fight an unknown Australian guy in Kambosos Jr, who is totally unproven.
It’s fair to say that most casual boxing fans have never heard of Kambosos Jr, which is why Top Rank didn’t view the Teofimo-Kambosos Jr fight as a marquee affair.
Of course, they don’t turn their fight cards into mini-concerts with musical acts surrounding every fight the way Triller does.
Teofimo Sr’s view on the Haney vs. Linares fight being a 50-50 affair is what many boxing fans believe. While Haney has the youth and self-confidence, Linares has the experience, speed, power, and technical ability to match all those advantages.
What Linares doesn’t possess is the chin, but that may not be a worry for him because Haney can’t punch.
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