By Dan Ambrose: The WBO has ordered #1 Arnold Barboza Jr and #2 Jose Ramirez to begin negotiations for a fight that potentially could have the 140-lb title available.
The World Boxing Association are giving the current WBO 140-lb champion Teofimo Lopez 24 hours to let them know whether he will keep it or vacate the belt.
According to Mike Coppinger, undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney is being given 24 hours as well to let the WBO know if he’s going to be fighting at 140.
If so, Haney can fight Barboza Jr for the vacant WBO 140-lb belt if Teofimo vacates it. Devin does appear to be moving up to light welterweight, but he’s interested in fighting WBC 140-lb champion Regis Prograis.
Haney would stand a better chance of beating Prograis than Barboza Jr because he’s more fearless, throws more punches, and is younger. That would be a hard fight for Haney to face Barboza.
Teofimo told the media after his victory over WBO light welterweight champion Josh Taylor last month on June 10th that he’s retiring from the sport.
If he chooses to continue, he’ll need to defend against Barboza Jr (28-0, 10 KOs), and that’s someone that Teofimo has never shown interest in fighting.
It’s a bad match-up for Teofimo because Barboza Jr isn’t washed like Josh Taylor, and he would force him into a dog fight similar to the one he had against George Kambosos Jr.
It’s probable that Teofimo will stay retired because a fight with Barboza Jr wouldn’t give him the big payday that he would be looking for to get motivated enough to return.
The former WBC & WBO light welterweight champion Ramirez (28-1, 18 KOs) has won his last two fights against Richard Commey and Jose Pedraza since losing to Josh Taylor by a 12 round unanimous decision in May 2021 for the undisputed championship.
Ramirez hasn’t looked impressive in his last four fights dating back to 2020. The last time he looked good was when he stopped Maurice Hooker in the sixth round in 2019. It’s not that Ramirez has lost anything from his game. It’s more of a case of him never being great, to begin with.
It would be a miracle if Teofimo chose to keep his WBO title and defend it against Barboza Jr. Teofimo isn’t the type that handles success well.
After big wins, Teofimos’s ego runs amok, crippling him like a virus taking over his body, and he’s not able to handle it. Teofimo is much better when fans are counting him out, and nothing is expected of him. He’s a Tyson Fury type of fighter that can’t handle success.