By Max Schramm: Bob Arum plans on matching Teofimo Lopez tough against Jose Pedraza in his first fight at 140 when he moves up to the weight class in the midpoint of this year.
Teofimo needs to attempt to bounce back from his crushing loss to underdog George Kambosos Jr. on November 27th.
Arum might want to think hard before matching Teofimo against Jose Pedraza or Montana Love because he might not like what he discovers about his fighter.
Those guys can actually fight, and they can take a punch. If Teofimo gasses out after three to six rounds against those guys, he’ll lose again.
Is Teofimo a one-hit-wonder?
If Teofimo is unable to return to the form that he showed in his huge victory over Vasily Lomachenko in 2020, one would have to conclude that he’s another example of a fighter that is a one-hit-wonder. Kambosos might soon join that club when he defends his undisputed championship against likely Devin Haney in the coming months.
Unfortunately for Top Rank, there’s a real possibility that Teofimo’s career will never be the same, but not because of his injury. Rather, he was never a great fighter, to begin with, and a big part of his success was having a size advantage over his lighter opponents in the 135-lb division.
Some would say that Teofimo was a weight bully when he was campaigning at lightweight, as he would drain down from near 160 to 135 to fight against smaller opponents than him.
Now that Teofimo can no longer fight at 135, he won’t have as much of a size advantage against his opposition when he begins fighting at 140.
Arum says that before he schedules a fight for the former undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo (16-1, 12 KOs), he will have him checked out by the Cleveland Clinic to have him medically cleared.
Once Teofimo is cleared, Arum says he’d like to match him against ‘Sniper’ Pedraza (29-3, 14 KOs) in his first fight at light welterweight. Pedraza, 32, is battling former WBC/WBO 140-lb champion Jose Ramirez (26-1, 17 KOs) next month on February 5th on ESPN at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California.
Arum says, win or lose, he wants Pedraza to face Teofimo next fight. As long as the former two-division world champion Pedraza doesn’t suffer an injury against Ramirez, he should be available to battle Teofimo by June.
Teofimo to be matched tough
“He’s going up to 140, and Jose Pedraza could be a good opponent for Teofimo,” said Bob Arum to Fighthub on Teofimo’s first fight at light welterweight.
Of course, Teofimo can always veto the choice of Pedraza if he’s not comfortable with that choice of opponent. Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn says he’d like Teofimo to face Montana Love (17-0-1, 9 KOs).
If Teofimo loses to Pedraza or looks terrible in winning, Arum will need to decide what to do with him. Teofimo is too big to return to the 135-lb division, and if he can’t beat a guy like Pedraza, it won’t bode well for him when Arum matches him against tougher guys with more power.
Teofimo’s asthma problem might limit how hard he can fight, and he’s not going to succeed if he’s only capable of fighting hard for two to six rounds.
In Teofimo’s fight with Kambosos, he only had the energy to fight hard in the second and tenth rounds. He won both of those rounds, but he struggled in the other rounds.
When Teofimo fought Vasily Lomachenko in October 2020, he faded after six rounds and gave away five of the last six rounds.
Some boxing fans believe Lomachenko deserved a draw because he’d won at least one of the first six rounds and five of the last six.
The critical thing to note about this fight is how Teofimo gassed after just six rounds and looked in distress in the second half of the bout.
Teofimo, 25, health esophageal problem that he experienced while dropping weight for his title defense against George Kambosos Jr. on November 27th.
According to reports, Teofimo could have died during the fight, and he shouldn’t have been competing in the state that he was in at the time.
Hearn wants Teofimo to fight Montana Love
“It’s probably time [for Teofimo] to move to 140 lbs, and I’ve got just the guy for you. Montana ‘Too Pretty’ Love,” said Eddie Hearn to DAZN.
“He just lit up the MGM Grand, one week after Teofimo Lopez against Kambosos. So if you [Teofimo] want to be welcomed into 140 lbs, Montana is waiting for you, Teo. I’ll see you both soon,” said Hearn.
It would show a lot of bravery on Teofimo’s part if he agrees to fight Montana because that won’t be an easy fight for him, but it would be a winnable one.
Love doesn’t possess the kind of power that Teofimo does, and he won’t be able to stand and slug. Still, this is a hard fight for Teofimo to take, coming off his loss to Kambosos.
If Teofimo experiences issues with his stamina against Love, he’ll likely get beaten worse than he did in his last contest against Kambosos.
Love is a better fighter than Kambosos and capable of knocking out Teofimo if he fades after two rounds.