Bob Arum Discusses What’s Next For Teofimo Lopez
For Teofimo Lopez Jr (16-0, 12 KOs), the boxing world is his oyster right now. The 23-year-old from Brooklyn is still basking in the glow following his October 17 upset win over Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) to become the unified WBA, WBO, and IBF World Lightweight champion (and no, he is neither the WBC champ nor the undisputed Lightweight champion of the world). So it now begs that question, what is next for the kid?
Both Lopez and his father/trainer made no bones about stating their future would be at junior welterweight during the lead-up to Lomachenko. And it is no secret the young man has to work hard to get down to the 135-pound lightweight limit.
But according to his promoter, Bob Arum, there is a possibility the Brooklynite could stay at his current division for at least one more fight.
During an interview with ESPN, the Top Rank CEO contemplated the options for his fighter at 135 or 140. Arum even teased a rematch against Lomachenko despite there not being a rematch clause.
“If you do a rematch, you want to do it after this COVID is over, where people are vaccinated so we could monetize things and we have a gate and everything.
If he goes to 140, he has a problem because obviously he wants to fight for a title and that’s taken up for the first half of next year.
And then the winner of that fight has an obligation to fight [the WBO mandatory challenger Jack] Catterall (25-0, 13 KOs). So you’re looking for, at best, the end of next year for him to fight for a 140-pound title.”
CONTEXT IS CRITICAL
When it comes to Lopez’s future, here’s the thing. Despite his ambitions of becoming a two-division world champion, the reality is Arum has a point.
WBC/WBO world 140-pound champ Jose Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) and IBF/WBA world champion Josh Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) are on the verge of fighting each other for the undisputed title in that division at some point in 2021. That fight is foremost on both Arum’s and ESPN’s 2021 boxing calendar. And with Catterall being the WBO’s #1 junior welterweight contender for well over a year, you know he is itching for his chance to fight for a world title.
With all that serving as a backdrop, it is no surprise that Lopez’s manager Dave McWater said to ESPN there’s now a 50/50 chance that his fighter will stay at 135.
Then there is the option of Lopez fighting either the true WBC Lightweight belt holder, Devin Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) or young upstart Ryan Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs), two opponents Arum said he would be interested in.
When you are a top dog and a potential cash-cow, it is about business. The goal is to put a fighter in the best position to succeed and to capitalize on one’s earning potential.
This is Teofimo Lopez Jr’s position. It will be interesting what their next move is on the boxing chessboard. Stay tuned to 3KingsBoxing.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.