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Teofimo Lopez & Devin Haney clash, trash talk war of words

Devin Haney Teofimo Lopez

By Matt Lieberman:  Devin Haney ambushed undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez last Saturday night during the Mikey Garcia vs. Sandor Martin card at the Chukchansi Park in Fresno.

Haney was right up in Teofimo’s face during the clash, making him look uncomfortable. Teofimo had the look of someone that wished he could magically be teleported to the other side of the universe to escape the heat that Haney was putting on him at the moment.

WBC 135-lb champion Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) got in the face of IBF/WBA/WBC Franchise/WBO champion Teofimo (16-0, 12 KOs) put his feet to the fire, pressuring him to set up a fight between them.

Teofimo expressed interest in making the fight, but it’s unknown whether the contest will happen. Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn is in the process of attempting to negotiate a fight between Haney and Joseph ‘Jojo’ Diaz Jr. for December 3rd on DAZN.

If Haney beats Jojo Diaz Jr. and Teofimo gets through his November 27th title defense against George Kambosos Jr. in a Matchroom promoted show, Hearn says he wants to set up a fight between Devin and Teo in 2022.

For the Teofimo vs. Haney fight to happen, both will need to be on board, as well as Teo’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank. That’s the tricky part. Does Arum want to make the Teofimo vs. Haney fight?

In the past, Arum hasn’t seemed eager to match Teofimo against Haney, perhaps because the two compete on different network platforms. Whether Arum will suddenly change his mind about making that fight may depend on how badly Teofimo wants the war.

If Teofimo wants to fight Haney, he’s got enough clout with Top Rank to encourage them to make it happen. They want to keep Teofimo happy because he will be a superstar someday if he can continue to win.

Devin Haney Teofimo Lopez

Eddie reacts to Teofimo & Haney clash

“I saw Devin [Haney] go over, and their heads came in a little bit, but it was just a heated conversation, and then I went over and then Teofimo and his dad started having a little go at me,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social on the Teofimo & Haney clash last Saturday night.

“After a while, I said in a meeting earlier with Devin, I said, I think we’re going through all the fighters. It’s clear that no one wants to fight Devin. So, I said to Devin, ‘I believe Teofimo will fight.’ I said, ‘I think he thinks he can beat you.’

“He said, ‘I don’t think he will fight me,’ but I disagree. I actually think he will, and then that [Teofimo & Haney clash]. I said to the dad [Teofimo Sr.] like they were screaming and shouting.  ‘Listen, Devin will 100% take the fight.’ ‘We’ll take the fight as well.’ ‘I believe you, so let’s just crack on.’

“It looks like on November 27th, Teofimo vs. George Kambosos, Matchroom, DAZN. The week after, hopefully, Devin Haney, he’ll be fighting Jojo Diaz, Mandalay Bay MGM, or wherever it is.

“Let’s end this year with a massive bang and get those two [Haney and Jojo Diaz] together because if the other Kings or princes, as they should be known, won’t fight each other, I believe those two will.

“It’s a massive, massive fight. Two undefeated brilliant fighters from America,” Hearn said of Teofimo and Haney. “Let’s make it happen, but they’ve got to come through their respective challenges, and let’s get those fights announced this week, which we will, and then we move on,” Hearn said.

The two fighters need to get through their interim contests before any real talk of a Teofimo-Haney fight can happen.

Teofimo must beat the highly confident Kambosos Jr.(19-0, 10 KOs) on November 27th, while Haney has an arguably more challenging fight against former IBF super featherweight champion Jojo Diaz Jr. (32-1-1, 15 KOs) that he must win.

It’s still up in the air whether Hearn will be able to negotiate the Haney vs. Jojo Diaz fight, though, because they need to come up with a large enough offer to get JoJo and his promoters at Golden Boy to agree.

Hearn wants Teofimo vs. Haney in 2022

“I know we get stick, but I want people to think about the situation. Jojo Diaz won a final eliminator [against Javier Fortuna on July 9th] for Devin Haney. He was mandatory.

Devin Haney Teofimo Lopez

“He went and chose to fight Ryan Garcia. Actually, it was more money [$1.5 million] than my original offer than I made him to fight Devin Haney. No problem, I understand that.

“Now, today, in writing, we made an offer of the same amount of money that he agreed to [$1.5 million] to fight Ryan Garcia to fight Devin Haney. The Ryan Garcia [vs. Jojo Diaz] fight is off. He’s not going to fight until next summer.

“So it’s the same amount of money, but the only reason you [Jojo Diaz] don’t take that fight is because you don’t believe you can beat Devin Haney or your team don’t. Jojo is a fighting man. He’s a tough guy, and he’s got a lot of heart.

“He cannot [swerve the Haney fight]. I don’t want to put the pressure and tease him with it, but you cannot not take the fight.

“It’s embarrassing, and I believe he will take the fight, and I believe we’ll have a tremendous fight in December [between Haney and Jojo Diaz Jr]. If Teofimo and Devin can come through those fights, I believe [Top Rank promoter] Bob [Arum] will allow that fight to happen, whether it’s on DAZN, whether it’s on DAZN; let’s just make it happen.

“Teofimo is a great character. His dad’s hilarious. Devin is great, and this is what we need in boxing, and these are tremendous young fighters. So, let’s get them together,” said Hearn about his desire to put together a fight between Teofimo and Haney.

It’s questionable whether Teofimo will agree to the Haney fight because the money and attention he would receive in moving up to 140 to face IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO undisputed champion Josh Taylor be more significant.

The thing is, Teofimo doesn’t have a lot of time to get to Taylor because he’s going to be moving up to challenge WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford in 2022.

Once Taylor makes that move, it’s unknown if he’ll return to the 140-lb division. But even if he does, he’ll likely be returning after a defeat against Crawford, and his popularity won’t be the same as it is right now.

Unless Hearn can make it worthwhile for Teofimo to fight Haney in early 2022, he’s better off facing Josh Taylor for his four belts. Teofimo has more to gain fighting Taylor than Haney at the moment.

A fight against Haney needs to marinate for a few years before it can be the moneymaker that it could be one day.

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