Teofimo Lopez wants Regis Prograis fight in April
By Jack Tiernan: Teofimo Lopez complained bitterly on Friday after learning that WBC light welterweight champion Regis Prograis will be defending his title against his #1 mandatory Jose Ramirez next in April.
(Photo credit: Sumio Yamada)
Teofimo (18-1, 13 KOs) seemed to get up in arms at learning that he won’t get an immediate title shot against Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs) because he went through the trouble of fighting Sandor Martin last Saturday night in a final WBC 140-lb eliminator last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The 25-year-old Teofimo says he wants to become the undisputed light welterweight champion by the end of 2023, and he intends to make that happen by fighting three times next year.
With Prograis fighting Ramirez next, Teofimo will need to speak with his promoters at Top Rank to have them line up a title shot for him against the winner of the rematch between WBO 140lb champion Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall.
“This was a good test. That’s what I got from it. That’s what I like to do, accept challenges,” said Teofimo Lopez to ESPN+ about his fight against Sandor Martin.
“I never had someone just running. That was a new different thing that I got to work on, and just listen to my coach more. When it came to the camera and everything, I know what a red dot looks like, guys,” said Teofimo when asked why he said, ‘Do I still got it?’ immediately after his controversial 10 round split decision over Sandor Martin last Saturday night.
“It was a strategic move. I know that I’ve got everything in me to always win. That’s why we call it a ‘takeover.’ My whole thing wasn’t about that. It was a strategic move so that people keep talking about Teofimo Lopez, which they’ve been doing.
“I believe I did what I had to do [against Sandor Martin]. The only thing that I didn’t do precisely was listen to my coach on a certain move that we’d been working on in the gym. That’s my fault. That’s my mistake.
“Other than that, everything else has been going well. I did everything I needed to do in the ring. When I wanted to throw a lot of combinations, the guy found a way, I guess because of experience, to hold on.
“So, we’re working on new things now, coming into a new fight and a new camp.
“People don’t understand because they’re not at this level of greatness. Teofimo started the trend of everyone becoming undisputed. Like everything, I’m a trendsetter. So all these things because I’m uniquely me.
“When all that comes together, people don’t realize that I’m just destined for greatness. What I want for myself is perfection. Right after the fight, everybody is talking bogus, and what do I do? I go right back into the gym. I’ve been to the gym. I haven’t been stopping.
“Right now, I’m over here in Vegas, promoting with my sponsors, with Rain, and doing my thing. In my mind, I understand Kobe so well because it eats us inside. We’re great.
“I believe the guy knows how to survive,” said Teofimo about Sandor Martin. “Other than that, I don’t think he has what people continue to talk about. The guy felt my power, he felt my shots every time I came and had those movements, he didn’t want to engage.
“If people want to cheat and do all these other things, then so be it. I’m a clean guy. I may talk a lot about the industry. You guys don’t quite get what I’m trying to do here.
“When you face a fighter that doesn’t come to fight. All he did was come to run. Every time he got in the corner, he would dip under and grab.
“It’s such a difficult and competitive fight at that moment because the guy is here not just to win or anything like that because he’s not trying to,” said Teofimo about Sandor Martin.
“All he’s trying to do is survive in there and try not to get knocked out. People are going to speak on whatever they need to speak on. Look, I’m fighting for a world title next. I’m trying to come back in April and try to have three fights next year.
“I look forward to becoming a unified world champion by the end of next year at 140,” said Teofimo.
“Teo, what makes you think you can beat the top 140-pounders if you struggle with Martin?” said Tim Bradley.
“I said, ‘He’s [Teofiomo] going to be dog food for the top guys at 140 pounds.’ What makes you think you can beat these top guys at 140 after a performance like that against Martin?”
“Everything. I’m too fast, too, too strong and too sharp,” said Teofimo. “These guys are at least going to come to fight and give me a fight. You guys don’t understand how we work here, but it’s okay. You guys have not seen the best version of Teofimo.
“You guys think you know everything, but you guys don’t. I’ve been with other great fighters. I know what to do with southpaws. I know what to do with these fighters. Guys like that run, it’s going to be a difficult fight for anybody because the guy is waiting for you to throw a punch.
“These other champions, Taylor, Regis, at least they’re coming to fight. They come to defend their belt because that’s their job. At least with that, you’re going to see a bigger difference.
“Every person that has come and tried to fight me has been hurt and dropped. Each person. Every person that boxes us, we find a way to beat them. What Sandor Martin did wasn’t box. All he did was run.
“This is a good move for me because guys like you are going to be shown little by little. These are my hands. I have destiny here.
“Everybody doesn’t know how we work. They don’t know how we train. I know what it is. These guys have been in the division for too long already. Their bodies are worn out. I can’t wait to expose it.
“This guy [Sandor] beat a four-division world champion in Mikey Garcia. Everyone can say what they want. They’re just mad that we’re winning, and we’re going to keep winning because we accept tough challenges all the time.
“I can’t wait to collect all these belts in 2023. It’s going to be like [Michael] Jordan all over again. I’m going to be dunking on them. You have the boxer of a lifetime that truly wants to be the greatest. We do what we do because we love it.
“We’re giving the fans everything. All these other kids, they love that. They love to see that challenge.
“Regis is fighting him [Jose Ramirez]. I want my fight. Give me Prograis,” said Teofimo when told that WBC light welterweight champion Regis Prograis is fighting Jose Ramirez in April. “Why? That was a final eliminator.
“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.
“I’m looking to become the first make to become a two-time undisputed champion in different divisions. That’s what I’m here for. History, glory. Give me my rings.
“That he can’t compete against the best guys at 140 just yet, and that he needs to pump his brakes and he needs to continue to build at 140. That’s what I took from it,” said Terence Crawford to The State of Boxing on ESPN+ about his thoughts on Teofimo Lopez’s win over Sandor Martin last Saturday.
“Teofimo Lopez got in that fight. I told you guys before that fight that I didn’t know who that was in the fighter meetings. I’ve been covering this man for three and a half years. I know this kid.
“He’s a respectful young man, but he’s all over the place. You have to be focused on the task at hand. Not on how much money you’re making here [with endorsements and all of this. Who cares about all of that? Martin is the guy that you need to be focused on, and I could tell that he wasn’t.
“So when he got in the ring, and things started to get tough on him, all the stuff that he had going around him, it came inside the ring with him. At the end of the fight, what did he say?
“What was the words he said? ‘Do I still got it?’ That’s a fighter that is on his way out the door like a retired fighter. That’s something that I would say after fighting my last fight. I would say, ‘Hey, do I still got it? You know what? I’m a step behind.’
“He’s 25 years old, people. Twenty-five years old, and he’s saying that already? That’s a problem,” said Bradley about Teofimo. “He’s got to get his mind right, and if he gets his mind right like I always told him. ‘If your mind is right, son. No one can beat you.
“I truly believe that. He’s a talent, but if his mind isn’t right, he’s going to get beat,” said Bradley.
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