Teofimo Lopez Exclusive Interview

By Boxing News - 03/16/2023 - Comments

By Brad Marchetti: Former undisputed lightweight king Teofimo Lopez has signed to fight W.B.O. jr. welterweight champion Josh Taylor on June 10th from Madison Square Garden in one of the biggest fights of 2023. I had a chance to chat with Teofimo before his upcoming battle with the U.K. champ Taylor, 19-0, 13 KO’s, who is regarded as one of the best technicians in the sport.

Sub-par performances against Sandor Martin and George Kambosos have boxing pundits claiming that Teo’s best days are behind him, but Lopez, 18-1, 13 KOs, insists that he will be back at full force against Taylor.

The hard-hitting 140 Lb. contender has added his former amateur coach Milton LaCroix to his team to sharpen the sword in preparation for his title fight against Taylor. LaCroix is the current trainer of celebrity boxer Logan Paul and resurrected the career of former heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs in 2006, winning the W.B.O. title from Siarhei Liakovich.

The colorful New Yorker known as “Milton Supreme” has also trained pro contenders Sullivan Barrera, Harold Calderon, Sebastian Fundora, and Wilky Campfort. In amateur boxing circles, LaCroix is regarded as a legend for producing more than 50 golden glove champions in a career that has spanned over 30 years.

As a kid, the uber-talented Lopez was known as slick boxer Gordo for his oily defense, hand speed, and clever footwork, a trademark of Milton’s training style.

In 2020 when Teofimo Lopez Sr. was recognized as the trainer of the year by the Ring Magazine, LaCroix’s name was added to the award as a tribute to his former ring pilot.

With LaCroix teaming up with his father once again, the sky appears to be the limit for the 25-year-old kid born in Brooklyn who is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport.

Question: What is your training regime like?

Answer: It really depends on if we’re in camp or off-season. Usually, I have two different kinds of regimes that I do. When I’m not in camp, I have to make sure I’m aware of my intake. Boxing is a lot of wear and tear on the body, so after 21 years of boxing, I have to be careful. I watch a lot of Bernard Hopkins because of his longevity. But even when I don’t have a fight lined up, I will train at least twice a day just to stay in shape. When I am in camp, I train three times per day, six days a week.

Q: Are you a morning or a night person?

A: I start my days usually doing a lot of conditioning work. I’m not really a morning person, per se. But I do train in the morning some days. Even Milton will tell you, Sometimes I do my training at 1 AM or 2 AM in the morning. Most of my training is at night.

Q: What kind of cardiovascular training do you do?

A: My main focus is running. I used to run 3-5 miles per day, but now I do 5-8 miles with interval wind sprints. I alternate between running and swimming six days per week. My dad and I also throw the football where I sprint about 100 feet as a drill (Teo says his dad can wing it). We do a lot of footwork drills in general. Lately, I have been obsessed with leg training.

Q: How do your sparring sessions go leading up to a fight?

A: When I begin training camp, I start with the big boys 160 -165 Lb. guys. For the first month of sparring, I get used to their heavier weight. My father has them put their weight on me and try to push me around. I push them back, so we’re almost kind of wrestling while we spar. (Milton also has Logan Paul wrestle with his sparring partners as part of their training). Towards the end of camp, we bring in smaller guys, like 130-140 Lbs, so that we can prevent injuries and work on throwing combinations. I don’t really try to bang them up just work on conditioning and staying light on my feet. I really don’t spar with anyone that is in my weight class. They are either 20 lbs. heavier or lighter.

Q: Do you lift weights as part of your training?

A: I do a little bit of weight training, but mostly I do calisthenics. I’m not trying to bulk up. I do a lot of push-ups and pull-ups. Exercises to keep me in shape naturally.

Q: It has been said that you had some kind of freakish strength as a kid. What is that about?

A: When I was 14 years old, at 106 or 110 Lbs. I could deadlift 315 Lbs.

Q: You most recently signed to fight Josh Taylor with the possibility of a mega-fight with Devin Haney? How would you break these guys down?

A: With Taylor, it’s simple; like with a lot of these guys, once their plan A breaks down, they don’t have a plan B, really. Once Taylor’s plan A doesn’t work, I will make adjustments and beat him. With Haney, there are a lot of ways to beat that cat. As much of a boxer, as Haney claims to be, he isn’t the sharpest or the cleanest. To me, he is actually kind of sloppy with his boxing. Everything is body shots with Haney because he really leaves himself open all the time. They mimic the Andre Ward style, but they really don’t do it properly, and it’s really not an easy thing to do. The Andre Ward jab is very hard. If you ever really look at it, when he throws his up jab, he will dip to the one side all the way, so he really leaves himself open for body shots. There are really a lot of ways to beat that guy because he likes to counter and even as a young kid, I was always the best counterpuncher in the game. So usually, what I like to do is just sit in the pocket and wait for a counter puncher like Haney to throw and just counter him. The thing that Devin has a lot of faults in is this. None of it is Devin Haney’s style. Everything is someone else’s style. What I noticed with Devin, too, is underneath with uppercuts. That boy can’t see uppercuts to save his life. Any uppercuts underneath are a blind spot for him.

Q: What can we expect now that you have added Milton Supreme back into the mix?

A: You know everything happens for a reason. My father told me that I would never see Milton again, but things work the way they do. Milton is the one that paved the way for me in boxing. Milton also paved the way for my father too because he got to watch Milton work. When my dad won trainer of the year in 2020, we put Milton’s name on it. We both learned from Milton’s fundamental basics. Milton didn’t teach me 1-2-3 from up top. He taught me 1-2-3 from my feet. A lot of these trainers teach all of these fighters 1-2-3 from up top. But Milton teaches the fundamentals of footwork. I mean, that’s how we beat Lomachenko with footwork and angles. We’re really excited to show everyone what boxing really is. It’s going to be the return of slick boxer Gordo.

Q: How much has life changed since getting married and having a child?

A: Oh yeah, for sure, man, my life has changed. It’s definitely added motivation. It’s inspired me to push more and focus more on the goals that I do have in mind. It changes everything really. It pushes me to find better ways to stay off the streets and make more business outside of my sport. I just have to have the right people around me. That’s why my circle is very small. I’m starting to see what my purpose is in my own sport, but I am also realizing what it is outside of boxing as well. I have a lot to leave behind. It’s just how much you let impact you that’s the question.

Q: What are your goals in boxing?

A: To become a two-time undisputed world champion. Make more history. Put a legacy out there. Even if I have to take a pay cut right now, it’s cool with me just to let ’em know what I can do. Also, to become the fighter of the year in 2023. I’m really excited to reunite with Milton. This is going to be the Supreme Team takeover.