Teofimo Lopez vs. Arnold Barboza Jr. in the works for April or May
By Dan Ambrose: Teofimo Lopez has a fight in the works against highly ranked 140-pound contender Arnold Barboza Jr. for April or May in what’ll be his first fight in the light welterweight division.
Top Rank needs to think carefully before making this fight for Teofimo because Barboza, 30, can do the same things that George Kambosos Jr. did.
Former four-belt lightweight champion Teofimo (16-1, 12 KOs) is moving up in weight after losing his IBF mandatory George Kambosos Jr. last November.
‘Takeover’ Teofimo, 24, chose to give up on fighting at 135 after that loss. The New Yorker Lopez was too big to continue to campaign, so he decided to give up on the idea of facing Kambosos Jr. in a rematch.
Barboza (26-0, 10 KOs) also fights for Top Rank like Teofimo, making this an easy match-up. It’s a tough fight for Teofimo to be taking in his first match at 140.
While Barboza Jr. isn’t a big puncher, he’s got the technical skills and conditioning to take advantage of Teofimo’s flaws in terms of his poor stamina and ring IQ.
Kambosos exposed in his win over Teofimo that Teo doesn’t react well when his opponents attack him and show confidence.
Teofimo is much better when his opponents are timid, passive, defensive and let him lead. We saw how well Teofimo fought against Vasily Lomachenko when the Ukrainian fighter fought defensively in the first half of their fight in 2020. Still, when Loma fought aggressively in the second half, Teofimo began crumbling mentally & physically.
“Barboza is the logical opponent. He’s highly regarded, he’s undefeated, he’s also with Top Rank, and he’s a 140-pounder, which is where we’re going,” said Teofimo’s manager David McWater to Fight Freaks Unite.
“Top Rank has asked us about fighting Barboza, and we’re fine with that. It’s a fight that seems to make sense for everybody. We’ve discussed that name with Top Rank,” said McWater.
The problem with taking this fight is that if Teofimo loses or looks terrible, Top Rank will conclude that he’s not cut out for this game. In other words, Teofimo is a one-hit-wonder who took advantage of an injured Lomachenkoin 2020 to capture his three titles.
Before he is allowed to take on Barboza, he will need to be medically cleared to fight. In Teofimo’s loss to Kambosos, he fought with pneumomediastinum.
That problem has been taken care of. However, Teofimo has a wrist and elbow problem that he’s dealing with. If those injuries don’t heal, Teofimo will struggle against Barboza Jr. or anyone that he faces.
“The bigger problem than all of the lung stuff is that he’s had trouble with his wrist and elbow, which were injured going into the camp,” McWater said about Teofimo’s injury problems. “That’s what we’re concerned about. We’re going to try to nail everything down for the fight by mid-February.”
It might be better for Teofimo to take a lower-level fighter in his first match at light welterweight rather than chance-it against Barboza and potentially get beaten again.
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