By Brian Webber: Tim Bradley gave Teofimo Lopez some rare praise today in reaction to his dethroning of unbeaten WBO light welterweight champion Josh Taylor last Saturday.
Bradley has been one of Teofimo’s not vocal critics since his loss to George Kambosos Jr in 2021, taking shots at him repeatedly for his lackluster efforts.
Suddenly, after one good fight against the slow, flat-footed, plodding, shopworn 32-year-old Taylor, Bradley has changed his tune about him, at least for now.
Tim thinks that Teofimo (19-1, 13 KOs) has returned to his old vintage self and is excited about it. As one of ESPN’s commentators, Tim must have quality fighters with Top Rank to discuss.
What might not make Bradley happy is that after Teofimo’s first impressive performance in three years since his win over Vasyl Lomachenko in 2020, he’s now saying he’s “retiring.”
The 25-year-old Teo quitting now could be construed as him losing his nerve, knowing that if he were to continue his career, he would be expected to face Regis Prograis, Subriel Matias, Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, and Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero. Those guys could potentially beat Teofimo and end his 15 minutes of fame.
Lopez responds to criticism
“Teo was explosive. I think it had little to do with Taylor being laid off. He was a little flat. He started off good, and then he died out,” said Tim Bradley to MillCity Boxing, reacting to Teofimo Lopez’s win over Josh Taylor.
“It was a great performance. I thought he was back to the old Teo. The counter-punching was on point. I love the fact that he got aggressive. He started bringing it to Taylor. Taylor didn’t know how to respond to that. I love the fact that he had the fire in his eyes, walking forward.
“Even in the corner, you could see that he was focused and determined. Nothing was going to stop him last night. With that kind of performance, I think he gives any of the 140-lb champions or any other guy out there; he’ll give them a run for their money. He looked fantastic.
“I give credit where credit is due. Teo impressed me last night, and I knew he had it in him. So if I got to continue to talk s**t about the boy so that he can go out and play and do what he’s supposed to do, then I’m going to continue to do that.
“So Teo, it’s up to you. It seems like when you get all the praise in the world; you don’t perform. When people talk s**t about you, you perform at your very best. So you pick your poison. Which one do you want because I can do both? But yeah, I thought it was a fantastic performance,” said Bradley.
Teofimo rises to the occasion
“Special fighters move up to fight dominant champions, especially when they’re not championing because something went wrong for them to lose their title and move up and beat that guy. Teofimo has done it. He’s a special guy,” said Max Kellerman to the media after Teofimo Lopez’s over Josh Taylor last Saturday.
“He’s able to be his best when he needs to be his best. When the lights are brightest, he is at his best, and it’s been this way throughout his career. Even in the one loss to [George] Kambosos, he had a condition that could have killed him.
“He gets himself up off the canvas and rallies late and scores a knockdown [of Kambosos in 2021]. He just loses a close [twelve round split] decision and that’s the only reason, they [Teofimo & Josh Taylor] were both 19 fights and 13 knockouts.
“The only difference is Taylor had survived his close call with [Jack] Catterall, and the decision didn’t go Teo’s way, which it shouldn’t have against Kambosos, but he’s a special man.
“Like if it’s Heisman night if or if it’s [Richard] Commey for his first belt or if it’s Lomachenko or if it’s Taylor, that’s when he’s been at his best,” said Kellerman about Teofimo.