Josh Taylor vs. Teofimo Lopez agreed for June 10th

By Boxing News - 02/23/2023 - Comments

By Brian Webber: Josh Taylor and former unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez have reached an agreement for a fight on June 10th on ESPN & ESPN+ to take place in Teo’s home city of New York.

The unbeaten 32-year-old Scotland native Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) will have his WBO light welterweight title on the line against Teofimo (18-1, 13 KOs)

According to Mark Kriegel of ESPN, the Taylor vs. Lopez clash will be staged at either Madison Square Garden or the Hula at the Hula Theater in MSG.

This is an important fight for Teofimo Lopez because he needs to show the fans that he’s not mentally gone because he’s looked like a shell of his former self in his last three fights.

Top Rank, they got to be deeply concerned about Teofimo because if he loses this fight, it would be a clear sign that he no longer has it.

Teofimo arguably lost his last fight against Sandor Martin last December, and he didn’t look good against second-tier fighter Pedro Campa.

Taylor vs. Lopez venue still to be determined

There’s a massive difference between the two. While Madison Square Garden seats 20,000, the smaller venue at the Hula Theater has a seating capacity of only 5,500. You got to imagine that Top Rank will scale back for the Taylor-Teofimo fight if the tickets aren’t selling well,

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to project the amount of interest from the East Coast boxing fans for this fight because Teofimo hasn’t looked good in ages since his victory over Vasyl Lomachenko three years ago in 2020, and some people believe Teo is mentally & physically shot since that encounter.

In other words, Lomachenko took something out of Teofimo with the punishment he inflicted in their fight and vice versa. The two were locked in a battle that seemed to drag them both down, leaving them a shell of the fighters they’d once been.

Taylor isn’t well known in the U.S., and he’s coming off of a career-worst performance against Jack Catterall last February in a fight that many boxing fans felt Josh should have lost.

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The judges gave it to the 32-year-old Taylor by a 12 round split decision, but the fans aww it as a victory for Catterall. The two were supposed to fight a rematch, but when the opportunity came available for Taylor to fight a lucrative match against Teofimo, he opted to go in that direction, which hasn’t made his British fans too happy, but oh well.

Initially, the reason why the former undisputed 140-lb champion Taylor’s rematch with Catterall was delayed is that he suffered a plantar fascia injury, causing the bout to be postponed. They were supposed to fight on March 4th.

Teofimo gets quick title shot

“Josh Taylor and Teofimo Lopez have agreed to a deal for Taylor’s WBO junior welterweight title June 10 in New York on ESPN/ESPN+,” said Mike Coppinger to ESPN.

We’re set on the fight. Teo is set on Josh Taylor like he was set on [Vasiliy] Lomachenko,” said Lopez’s manager, David McWater. “We don’t know yet, but I suspect it’s the big room. We almost sold out the big room in December for Sandor Martin.”

Boxxer, the U.K.-based promoter of the Taylor-Catterall rematch, failed to place rescheduling language in the contract, multiple sources said, which freed Taylor to move on to the Lopez bout.”

Taylor is still interested in fighting Catterall later, but he’s not saying when. Not surprisingly, Taylor acknowledges that the Teofimo fight is the bigger one than the rematch with Catterall, which would be a match for domestic consumption only. Catterall is an unknown in the U.S., just as Taylor is as well.

Teofimo has held world titles before at 130 and has wins over Lomachenko, Richard Commey, Sandor Martin, and Masayoshi Nakatani. In contrast, Catterall’s best wins were against domestic-level fighters Tyrone Nurse, Ohara Davies, and Tyrone McKenna.

Whatever sense of eagerness Taylor once had of fighting Catterall again, he’s lost it in the last year since their fight. Catterall hasn’t helped his cause by staying inactive for an entire year, waiting on the Taylor rematch. In hindsight, Catterall should have returned to the ring a lot sooner once he realized Taylor wasn’t going to fight him.

Taylor hasn’t looked in top form since his grueling battle against Regis Prograis in 2019. He won that fight by a questionable 12 round majority decision, but many people thought Prograis had done enough to deserve the victory. The fight was staged in London.

Since the Prograis fight, Taylor has looked lackluster, beating Jose Ramirez and Catterall by close 12 round decisions.