By Brian Webber: Former unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez and Jose Pedraza are reportedly finalizing a deal to meet on December 10th in a fight in NewYork on ESPN.
The 33-year-old former two-division world champion Pedraza (29-4-1, 14 KOs) isn’t the fighter that boxing fans want to see ‘Takeover’ Teofimo faces next. Fans want to see Teofimo step up against a quality 140-pound contender like Arnold Barboza or Gary Antuanne Russell.
Pedraza has come up empty in his last two fights, battling Richard Commey to a 12 round draw last August and then losing to Jose Ramirez by a 12 round unanimous decision last February.
What’s clear from those two fights is that Pedraza isn’t cut out for the 140-lb division, and he needs to return to the 135 or, better yet, the 130-lb weight classes so that he has a better chance of success. 130 is where Pedraza enjoyed most of his career success.
He’s not looked like the same guy since moving up to 135 and especially at 140. Pedraza is too small & weak for the light welterweight division, which you can argue is the season why Teofimo’s promoters selected him.
They weren’t going to feed Teofimo to killers like Barboza, Gary Antuanne Russell, or Subriel Matias because, as we saw in his loss to George Kambosos Jr, he’s mentally fragile when he deals with adversity, and his stamina is horrible.
Teofimo (17-1, 13 KOs) will be making his second fight at 140 since moving up in weight last August. He didn’t look at all good in his debut at light welterweight, stopping little-known Pedro Campo in the seventh round.
Teofimo was matched against a non-contender by his promoters, yet he struggled through the first six rounds, getting hit frequently by the light-punching Campo before finally stopping him in the seventh.
If Teofimo has a hard time defeating Pedraza, he will need to consider getting a nutritionist and moving back down to 135 because that’s his best weight class.
Top Rank is likely counting on WBO light welterweight champion Josh Taylor vacating his title soon so that #1 Teofimo can swoop in and pick up the belt by defeating #2 Liam Parro (22-0, 13 KOs). That’s a winnable fight for Teofimo.
If Teofimo captures the WBO 140-lb belt, he might be able to sit on it for a couple of years if matched carefully by Top Rank.
Teofimo Lopez and Jose Pedraza are finalizing a deal for a Dec. 10 junior welterweight fight in New York, sources tell ESPN. Lopez's second bout at 140 pounds, and he's back on ESPN's Heisman Night. Story coming.
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) October 11, 2022