By Matt Lieberman: Teofimo Lopez Sr says his son Teo wanted to face the best champion at 140 in WBO light welterweight champion Josh Taylor for their June 100th fight at Madison Square Garden in New York.
As Lopez Sr points out, former unified lightweight champion Teofimo (18-1, 13 KOs) could have taken an easier fight at 140 against WBC champion Regis Prograis or IBF belt holder Alberto Puello, but he wanted the “boogeyman,” which is why he selected Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs).
It’s going to be a tough fight for Teofimo because he’s only fought twice since moving up to 140 last year, and he hasn’t faced anyone near as talented as the former undisputed light welterweight champion Taylor.
Teofimo wanted Taylor
“We’re getting ready for this fight. We’ve been training already. We’re officially in the house, getting ready for the biggest fight of this year. It’s two undisputed champions putting it on in New York,” said Teofimo Lopez Sr to MillCity Boxing about his son, former unified lightweight champion Teo, preparing for his title shot against WBO light welterweight champion Josh Taylor on June 10th.
“Listen, man, styles make fights. We’re not taking nothing lightly. We’re going to bring entertainment back to boxing, which is very needed right now. It’s happening June 10th at Madison Square Garden, the mecca of boxing.
“This will probably be his [Teofimo] ninth or tenth fight there. They love him at Madison Square Garden, so we’re very excited about this fight.
“Very competitive and just shows how my son makes it look so easy,” said Lopez Sr about former Teofimo opponent Pedro Campa giving unbeaten Brandun Lee (28-0, 23 KOs) problems in a ten-round unanimous decision defeat in Carson, California.
“There’s nobody in the boxing game like him [Teofimo]. He has different dimensions to his fighting style and can do whatever he wants in that ring. That’s what we’re most focused on, and we’re coming to take this dude’s head off,” said Teofimo Sr about Taylor.
“He’s been talking a lot of trash, and we’re going to show why my son takes the toughest fights that nobody wants. We’re here to make history and collect all those belts.
“Beating Josh Taylor makes me trainer of the year again this year, and the way we’re going to beat him is going to be just crazy. I have no doubts. My son is the one that picked this fight. We could have gone a little bit easier with Prograis or anybody else that has belts, especially the Dominican dude [Alberto Puello] that is fighting Rolando Romero now. We don’t want that.
“We weren’t raised around greats like Floyd Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins, Oscar De La Hoya. All these guys that we were brought up with. That’s why nowadays people don’t care about belts no more. People only care about social media and the people that are viewing you.
“We got to do it the hard way, and it’s always been the hard way for me and my son. My son won the Olympic trials and should have represented the United States in the Olympics in the lightweight division, and that was taken away from him, so we’re used to this s**t, bro.
“Winning over there on the first day against the French dude. They took it off from us, and it’s hard, but we’re breaking these walls, and we want to show the whole world that we’re not giving up,” said Teofimo Sr.
Lopez taking the big risks
“We’re going to show the whole world that Latinos are the ones that are going to conquer the boxing industry, and we’re showing it,” Lopez Sr said. “Right now, the only ones that are standing is Canelo, my son, and then you got Jesse [‘Bam’ Rodriguez] in the lighter divisions. Hardly anybody hears about Jesse.
“Right now, it’s just Canelo and my son. [We have to show] that we’re still here and that you can count on us. Come June 10th; we’re going to destroy this dude. I told my son that it can’t be competitive. ‘It has to be one-sided, and you can do it, bro. Josh Taylor can’t box like you, he’s not fast like you, and you’re strong or stronger than this dude, and you hit harder.’
“I don’t take nothing away from Jack Catterall because he’s a great fighter, and it wasn’t surprising to me to see him put up a good, competitive fight. It could have gone either way. A lot of people gave the edge to Catterall, but to tell you the truth in this sport, anything can go.
“It’s like we’re fighting Josh Taylor for all his belts. It’s like he hasn’t lost any of his belts. I was just speaking to Max Kellerman the other day, and he was saying this is a Hall of Fame fight. At 25 years old, this kid [Teofimo] doesn’t even have 20 fights. It’s f***ing ridiculous.
“Then you can see what level he’s at. We’re taking all these risks. People don’t understand that when you take all those big risks, you gain a lot. So, we’re already at this level where we’re taking all these big risks, and that’s making us a better fighter.
“It gives him more trust and belief in himself. So, we’re not over there trying to fight Ryan Garcia or these guys that have no belts. That’s a big fight in boxing, but in reality, it’s not a big fight in accomplishment.
“We’re just going to keep going because the person that is going to be eating the most is the one that is taking all the risks. If you don’t take no risks, you’re not going to be doing nothing in the sport of boxing.
“So, we’re going after the boogeyman, and the boogeyman at 140 is Josh Taylor. Everyone was telling us that we were scared of Prograis and that we didn’t want to fight Prograis. It was my son that decided that he wanted to fight Josh Taylor, and he had an injury.
“The scenario is the f***ing same, bro. When Comey was going to fight Lomachenko, what happened? He got hurt. So instead of Lomachenko having to fight Comey, he had to fight us because of the injury.
“So two, three months later, he [Comey] fought us, and we knocked him out in the second round. So that gave us the opportunity to fight Lomachenko. I told my son that we can’t let this guy go. We’ve got to fight him right away, and that’s how we became undisputed. Beating Lomachenko.
“If you go back to this fight. They promoted this fight with Lomachenko and my son, as undisputed. When my son won that fight, they named him the undisputed champion of the world. It put him up there #5 pound-for-pound.
“We were #5 pound-for-pound in the list, winning the Ring Magazine award for best fighter, and my son won five belts that night. WBC, WBO, IBF, WBA, and the Ring Magazine. So we are very happy. Things like this don’t happen. It’s very rare.
“Josh Taylor getting ready to fight Jake Catterall, a fight that I believe Josh Taylor really wanted, and he got hurt. It’s a blessing because everything comes to us.
“So I don’t my son that this is an opportunity we need to take. We were aiming for Prograis or the Dominican dude [Puello], but mostly we were wanted Prograis. But when we found out Josh Taylor got hurt, I negotiated with my manager. I said, ‘Y0, listen. My son wants Josh Taylor, bro. Let’s get him.’
“This is the right time to get Josh Taylor. My son is coming off two victories, a victory over [Sandor] Martin, which everybody doesn’t know who this guy is. He beat Mikey Garcia,” said Teofimo Sr.