By Craig Daly: Teofimo Lopez is next in line for WBC light welterweight champion Regis ‘Rougarou’ Prograis after #1 mandatory contender Jose Ramirez turned down his mandated title shot due to him not being happy with the 65-35 purse split in favor of the champ.
Teofimo (18-1, 13 KOs) will need to make a fast decision on whether he’d be interested in challenging Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs) for his WBC belt.
Last week, the 25-year-old former unified lightweight champion Teofimo said he wanted to be the one that challenged Prograis for his title instead of the higher-ranked Ramirez. Teofimo mentioned that he would speak with his promoter Bob Arum about it because he wanted to face Prograis next.
Now that Ramirez has declined to take the fight with Prograis, this is Teofimo’s big chance to get what he said he wanted by challenging for the WBC belt.
If Teofimo turns down the fight against Prograis as well, fans will know that he doesn’t want that smoke and probably never did. In Teofimo’s two fights at 140 against Sandor Martin and Pedro Campa, he doesn’t look cut out for the division.
Teo isn’t dominating in the new weight class against the mid-range opposition Top Rank has matched him against. If he can’t dominate these guys, he will not do well against upper-echelon fighters like Prograis and Josh Taylor.
Teofimo has tough decision to make
“Regis is fighting him [Jose Ramirez]. I want my fight. Give me Prograis,” said Teofimo Lopez to The State of Boxing on ESPN+ last week in reacting to being told by the ESPN hosts that Jose Ramirez is first in line to challenge Regis Prograis for his WBC light welterweight title.
“I got to call Bob [Arum]. I got to call Bob for this one. I’ve got to meet him tomorrow because that’s ridiculous. If I’m fighting for these belts, give me my belt right now. This is the takeover. Don’t run away from me,” said Teofimo about Prograis.
While it sounds like Teofimo wants the Prograis fight, he’s been quiet since yesterday when it was learned that Jose Ramirez had turned down the fight. If Teofimo wanted to take the fight with Prograis, he would have spoken up by now on social media, but he hasn’t.
“140 is different. It’s only five pounds, but it’s a huge difference because those 140-pounders are walking around at 160, 155,” said Andre Ward to ESPN about Teofimo Lopez following his controversial win over Sandor Martin.
“The mystique is off. As courageous as fighters are, there’s a mystique sometimes where a guy is up a couple of rounds just off of reputation, just off the last knockout they saw you get,” Ward continued.
“He’s [Teofimo] had performances back to back now where people said, ‘Man, maybe he’s not as good as we thought he was.’ Now, they’re emboldened, and they’re going to be tougher to beat.”
“Sandor Martin didn’t have to win it outright. He just had to do enough to make sure Teofimo didn’t look great, and he was going to be questioned. He did beyond that because he did drop him,” said ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna about Teofimo’s fight with Sandor.
“I think the valor that he showed, fighting through that broken nose and the fact he told us, ‘My two advantages are is my heart and my mind.’ It proved to be correct against Teofimo.”
“I really hate when I hear people say, ‘This guy was running.’ You hear it way too often. Someone was running,” said Mike Coppinger. “No, you [Teofimo] got outboxed. You got outboxed by a guy that knows what he’s doing. A capable guy, a competent guy that just beat Mikey Garcia.”