Teofimo vs. Ortiz & Keyshawn vs. Pedraza on February 8th on ESPNth

By Robbie Bannatyne - 01/04/2024 - Comments

WBO light welterweight champion Teofimo Lopez and lightweight contender Keyshawn Davis will share a card in a Top Rank-promoted doubleheader on Thursday, February 8th, at Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

It’s important that Teofimo looks good in this event and does not revert to the way he’d performed in his three previous contests.

Teofimo seemed like a mentally confused person after his controversial win over Sandor Martin in December 2022, but Top Rank did a good job of giving him a confidence-booster by feeding him Josh Taylor in his last fight.

While his dad, Teofimo Sr., insists that he’s the best fighter at 140, Teo’s performances suggest otherwise. Apart from his victory over a washed Taylor, Teofimo has struggled to find the form that he’d had several years ago.

Lopez vs. Ortiz: Teofimo staying busy

Teofimo (19-1, 13 KOs) will defend against #11 WBO Jamaine Ortiz (17-1-1, 8 KOs) in a twelve round fight. Top Rank reportedly had attempted to get Jose Ramirez for the Teofimo fight, but it didn’t happen, so they opted for former Vasily Lomachenko opponent Jamaine for the job.

The 26-year-old New York native Teofimo is coming off a one-sided twelve round unanimous decision victory over WBO 140-lb champion Josh Taylor last June.

It was one of Teofimo’s best performances in years, as he’d looked mentally gone in his previous three fights, making some believe that his war with Vasily Lomachenko wrecked him physically.

As good as Teo performed against the 32-year-old Taylor, there are still question marks about him.

Taylor was essentially washed, coming off a controversial 12 round decision in his previous fight against Jack Catterall, and he’d looked just as bad against him as he did in losing to Teoimfo.

Davis vs. Pedraza: Keyshawn must look good

The 2020 U.S Olympian Keyshawn Davis (9-0-1, 6 KO) will be looking to bounce back from his poor performance against Nahir Albright by taking on former two division world champion Jose ‘Sniper’ Pedraza (29-5-1, 14 KOs) in a ten round fight.

This would be an excellent fight if not for the 34-year-old Pedraza coming off a year-long layoff and not having won a fight in three years since 2021. Pedraza has struggled badly since moving up to 140, failing to win ANY of his fights and looking too weak & small in this weight class to enjoy the success that he’d had at 130 & 135.

It’s understandable why Top Rank chose to use Pedraza as the 24-year-old Keyshawn’s opponent for this fight rather than a good light welterweight.

Copying Shakur

Keyshawn looked mediocre in his fight last fight against Nahir Albright last October, getting hurt while showboating and appearing timid. He fought like a poor man’s version of Shakur Stevenson and was very, very boring.

That fight was ruled a ten round no contest. Keyshawn tested positive for marijuana. Initially, it was a ten round majority decision for Keyshawn, but was later overturned.

Some fans felt that Albright deserved the win, as he took over the fight from the sixth round, walking Keyshawn down, hammering him with shots, and putting him on the run like Cuban Andy Cruz did in their fight in the 2020 Olympics. Albright exposed Keyshawn, showing that he can’t handle being pressured.

Keyshawn needs to develop his own identity, preferably one that’s entertaining, because right now, he’s not in an exciting enough way to be put in a main event to draw numbers.

It appears that Keyshawn had adopted Shakur’s fighting style, but it doesn’t work for him because he gets hit too much. Top Rank needs to sit Keyshawn down and let him know that if he wants to become a star, he’s going to need to forget about copying Shakur and try to stay in the pocket and throw punches. Don’t step back three steps after throwing shots.

Davis needs to impress

Afterward, Keyshawn seemed in denial about his loss, not wanting to admit that he’d not performed well against Albright. Keyshawn talked about wanting to go house-hunting, and it just seemed it hadn’t hit home that he didn’t fight well enough against a guy that he should have been able to beat.

What’s interesting is Top Rank chose not to set up a rematch between Keyshawn & Albright, which is what they should have done because their fighter failed that test. For Keyshawn to be arguably moved to what, on paper, is a tougher test against Pedraza, it doesn’t make sense.

Should Top Rank dump Keyshawn?

Albright, at this point, is a better fighter than the 34-year-old Pedraza, so Top Rank is actually moving Keyshawn down, and that makes you wonder if they’re confident in his ability to defeat better fighters.

If they don’t trust putting Keyshawn in with Albright again, what does that tell you about his future? Keyshawn lost to Andy Cruz in the Olympics, and he failed his test against Albright.

If you’re Top Rank, you have to be thinking about cutting Keyshawn loose once his contract is up because he lacks the talent to be a star or world champion unless he’s matched against the right guy for a vacant belt. Fighters like Keyshawn are a dime a dozen, and it’s a waste of time to keep them around.

Instead of sinking money into this albatross, Top Rank should focus on building up Raymond Muratalla, as he had an exciting, fan-friendly style that people wanted to watch.

Top Rank can’t afford to have two Shakur Stevenson-like fighters on their roster at 135, and Keyshawn is just a copy of him, but not as good, but with the same safety-first style.

Ortiz, 27, lost to Lomachenko by a narrow twelve round unanimous decision in October 2022 in a fight that he was winning early on, but ran out of gas as he often does in the later rounds.

Teofimo-Ortiz & Davis-Pedraza event will be shown live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.

Beyond the Main Event: A Feast of Young Talent

  • Emilian Fernando Vargas vs. Tomas Ornelas
  • Abdullah Mason vs. Benjamin Gurment
  • Javier Martinez vs. Raul Salamon
  • Charlie Sheehy vs. TBA
  • Alan Garcia vs. TBA
  • Art Barrera Jr. vs. TBA

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