By Chris Williams: Former unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez believes he will knock out Jose ‘Sniper’ Pedraza on December 10th on ESPN+ at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Teofimo (17-1, 13 KOs) wants to show the fan that he’s improved in his see the second fight since moving up to 140 earlier this year. He wants to show against the 33-year-old former two-division world champion Pedraza (29-4-1, 14 KOs) that he’s improved since his upset loss to George Kambosos Jr in 2020.
If Teofimo is not improved, he might struggle and possibly lose to Pedraza because he’s every bit as good as Kambosos, if not better.
Teofimo must impress in this fight because there are a lot better fighters in the division than Pedraza. As long as Teofimo looks good against Pedraza, his promoters at Top Rank will move him against a quality fighter next year, preferably one of the champions.
“Just learning, elevating, getting better, it’s been great,” said Teofimo Lopez to Fighthype when asked how things have been in the last three months as he prepared for his December 10th fight against Jose Pedraza on ESPN+ at MSG in New York.
“The knockout is going to come. You don’t even have to look for the knockout. It’ll eventually come. Whether it takes a little bit more time, it’ll come. I feel like that’s what’s going to happen between myself and Pedraza.
“I’m not counting Pedraza out. He’s a guy that comes at you, and he boxes. At the same time, he switches, he dances and knows how to fight orthodox, and he can also fight southpaw very well.
“I don’t think I’ve ever faced anyone that can do both. So, I’m really looking forward to that type of match-up as well. It’s a bit of a challenge. Not the biggest challenge I’ve taken since Lomachenko. However, it’s a stepping stone for what’s next for the following year.
“That’s the thing about me, the beauty about myself. I think God that I have this gift and this talent. I can fight many of these fighters in different ways. I can use what they’re really good at to my advantage.
“That’s the type of calibrated fighter I am. I’m able to take your most dominant, which I like to do most of the time. However, we like to switch it up; my whole thing is just focusing on
“Honestly, it’s been great. I love the journey that I’m on. I love the fact that I’m enjoying this journey rather than just a destination. Just focusing on that. I just know that Pedraza is going to bring out a better version of that I didn’t even know I had in me.
“That’s why we’re pushing ourselves to greater heights, greater limits. Even in sparking. Throwing more combinations, getting myself even more fatigued, more tired. So that way, when fight night comes, I don’t have any of that in any of the rounds.
“I don’t know,” said Teofimo when asked if Pedraza is better now or when he fought Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis when he was undefeated at 130 in 2017 and was knocked out in seven rounds.
“I honestly believe that after fighting Lomachenko and stuff. You guys got to realize that fighting a calibrated fighter like Lomachenko, someone that was such a technician in there. You got to learn something from them.
“I believe he learned a lot from the Lomachenkof fight, the Commey fight. He’s only getting better. Even though he’s still able to give you good quality fights that people want to see.
“What I would like to say to a lot of people. I can go anywhere I like. I don’t need to go specifically to the WBC. With all due respect to Mauricio Sulaiman and to the WBC sanctioning. Why do we have three other sanctioning [bodies] there? For a reason.
“We’re able to navigate and figure it out. I’m going to listen to Top Rank, ESPN, and my manager and keeping it moving, pushing that thread, pushing that needle, and giving the people a show. That’s really my main objective here.
“It’s to give them the type of fights that they’ve been looking for. We’ve been talking about how long for the Spence and Crawford and how long for the Garcia and Tank. Do you know what I mean? There has been so many fights going and going, and no one is fighting.
“So, I just want to be the first guy that breaks that ice. I thought by facing Lomachenko; I would. Obviously, these guys are still trying to protect their O.
“So, I think we just got to keep going, building these fights and giving the fans what they really want to see, and that’s knockouts.
“My last fight against [Pedro] Campa, and now I feel much better. My camp has been much, much more vigilant and more observant of me, trying to maintain and trying to keep me on a good steady course.
“Now that we’re fighting twice just this year alone, obviously, we’re starting to get some momentum and starting to build that. The whole thing now is next year, the whole goal is to fight three times next year.
“That’s exactly what’s happening; that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Teofimo about him pulling the trigger more on his punches. “It’s not even ‘a try’ at this point. It’s something we’re naturally doing at this point.
“I believe I’m getting more comfortable in there, even in sparring. I hate sparring, I really do, because I never take it that serious not like many others do. I just try to practice on my techniques and things.
“Now I’m even doing that. I’m pushing it. If I hurt my sparring partners, it’s move on to the next guy. That’s really where we’re at mentally-wise, focusing on how do we build up more of that dog in me. How do we do it? Keep pushing.
“We’re closing it out on Heisman night. It’s going to be the best show on ESPN that night.