By Jim Calfa: Teofimo Lopez has leapfrogged previous #1 Jack Catterall in the WBO’s rankings at 140, going to the #2 spot, pushing the Brit down to #3 in the rankings. The #1 position is occupied by unbeaten Liam Paro (22-0, 13 KOs).
As a result of the World Boxing Organization’s new reassignment for Catterall, the former four-belt lightweight champion Teofimo (16-1, 12 KOs) is that he could soon be facing the Australian Paro for the WBO 140-lb title as soon as Josh Taylor vacates the strap.
It won’t make some boxing fans happy that the recently beaten 24-year-old Teofimo Lopez could be getting a world title shot in his first fight at 140, but he’s not going to turn the fight down.
British boxing fans won’t be happy seeing Catterall dislodged from his #1 ranking and replaced by Paro, but that’s the norm when a number one fighter loses.
With Teofimo’s power, speed and size, he’ll have an excellent chance of defeating the little-known Liam Paro, who has fought primarily obscure opposition his entire six-year professional career in Australia.
Recently, Paro stepped up against fringe contender Yoma Alamo (20-1-1, 13 KOs) of Puerto Rico and barely beat him by a 12 round split decision last December.
The way that Paro struggled to beat Alamo showed that he’s probably not going to have any chance of defeating a far better fighter like Teofimo.
Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) is poised to vacate his four light-welterweight titles to move up to 147 to go after the world titles in that weight class.
Josh feels that after a subpar performance against Catterall (26-1, 13 KOs) on February 26th, it’s too difficult for him to make weight any longer for the 140-lb division.
Taylor beat Catterall by a controversial 12 round split decision in a fight that many in the boxing world felt should have gone the other way.
Rather than clearing up the controversy by giving Catterall a rematch at 140, Taylor is leaning toward vacating his four titles to move up to welterweight to challenge WBO champion Terence Crawford, potentially.
Catterall’s recent 12 round split decision defeat at the hands of undisputed light welterweight champion Josh Taylor has proven to be devasting, as he’s now out of the loop and has been surpassed Teofimo.
If Catterall wants another title shot, he’s going to have to get busy and start winning again because he’s not going to get the opportunity to fight for the WBO 140-lb world title once Taylor vacates the belt in the coming months.
Teofimo is still getting his health back together after suffering an injury during training camp for his last fight against George Kambosos Jr last November. The Top Rank promoted Teofimo should be ready to return to the ring soon to fight for the vacated WBO 140-lb title.
It’s unclear why Josh Taylor hasn’t already vacated his four light-welterweight titles. Some people that he might be having second thoughts about the idea of going up to 147 after the way he performed against Catterall.
Although his off performance was attributed to weight issues, that might not be the case. Taylor didn’t look solid in his narrow win over Regis Prograis in 2019, and he struggled badly in his victory over Jose Ramirez in 2021.
The Scottish fighter won the fights, but they weren’t the type of performances that would suggest that he could beat the top welterweights like Crawford, Errol Spence Jr., or Yordenis Ugas.
Even the contenders Keith Thurman, Jaron Ennis, and Vergil OrtizJr at 147 would likely beat Taylor and do it convincingly. There’s an excellent chance that Taylor’s move up to welterweight will end in failure.
WBO top 10 at 140
1 Liam Paro
2 Teofimo Lopez
3 Jack Catterall
4 Jose Carlos Ramirez
5 Jose Zepeda
6 Arnold Barboza, Jr.
7 Regis Prograis
8 Sam Maxwell
9 Danielito Zorrilla
10 Tyrone McKenna