By Dan Ambrose: Former unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs) will challenge WBO light welterweight champion Josh Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) tonight live on ESPN at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Taylor vs. Teofimo will be shown live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+, starting at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT.
Teofimo Lopez, 25, is finally getting his way to challenge for another world title after losing his unified lightweight crown to George Kambosos Jr two years ago by a 12 round split decision and electing not to take a rematch, even though it was offered to him by the Australian.
“This is a super fight on both sides of the pond, the junior welterweight king in Josh Taylor stepping up against the young, dynamic Teofimo Lopez,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “I cannot wait for these two supreme talents to step into the Madison Square Garden ring. It’s going to be a special night.”
Teofimo has taken a lot of heat from boxing fans for rejecting a title shot against WBC 140-lb champion Regis Prograis after the sanctioning body ordered the fight.
TEOFIMO LOPEZ VS JOSH TAYLOR START TIME
- Date: Saturday, June 10
- Time: 8 p.m. ET / 1 a.m. BST
- Main event ringwalks (approx): 11:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 a.m. BST
- The fight will take place at the Hulu Theater at MSG, New York.
- The fight will be available live on ESPN+ in the U.S. In the UK, viewers can watch the fight on Sky Sports.
- The main card is set to get underway at 8 p.m. ET / 1 a.m. BST with the main event ringwalks scheduled for 11:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 a.m. BST. These timings could change due to the length of the undercard fights.
Many fans saw it as a case of Teofimo realizing that he couldn’t beat Prograis, so he went for an easier fight against Taylor, who hasn’t fought in 14 months and is coming off a controversial12 round decision over Jack Catterall in February 2022.
Although Taylor defeated Regis by a close 12 round majority decision in London in 2019, the Scottish fighter has lost a lot from his game from age & ring wear and isn’t the same fighter that beat Prograis four years ago.
If Teofimo is able to fight aggressively and stay on his feet for the full twelve-round contest, he’s got a decent chance of beating Taylor, but it could prove difficult. Teo was knocked down twice by his last opponent, the light hitting Sandor Martin, and George Kambosos Jr also dropped him, and he can’t punch either.
Some fans believe Teofimo is a mental basketcase now, having been ruined by Vasily Lomachenko from the punishment he took in that fight to the head.
It’s taken Teofimo two years to get a title shot after moving up to 140, and he’s lucky to be getting the chance because he was arguably beaten in his last fight against Sandor Martin last December in New York.
Luck was on Teofimo’s side that night, with the judges giving him a 10-round split decision against Martin in a fight that virtually the entire boxing world had him losing.
TEOFIMO LOPEZ VS JOSH TAYLOR FIGHT CARD
- • Xander Zayas 152.8 lbs vs. Ronald Cruz 152.4 lbs
- (Zayas’ NABO & NABF Junior Middleweight Titles — 8 Rounds)
(ESPN+, 6:15 p.m. ET/3:15 p.m. PT)
• Robson Conçeicão 130.6 lbs vs. Nicolas Polanco 130 lbs
(Junior Lightweight — 10 Rounds)
• Omar Rosario 139.2 lbs vs. Jan Carlos Rivera 138.4 lbs
(Junior Welterweight— 8 Rounds)
• Damian Knyba 261.4 lbs vs. Helaman Olguin 256.8 lbs
(Heavyweight — 8 Rounds)
• Bruce Carrington 126.8 lbs vs. Luis Porozo 126.4 lbs
(Featherweight — 8 Rounds)
• Henry Lebron 129.2 lbs vs. Carlos Ramos 129.6 lbs
(Junior Lightweight — 10 Rounds)