Teofimo Lopez Claims a Fight With Devin Haney Must Happen at Junior Welterweight
Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) is a young man who thinks very highly of himself and certainly has some loft goals. On November 27, the 24-year-old puts the IBF/WBA ‘super’/WBO world lightweight titles on the line for the first time against IBF mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr (19-0, 10 KOs) at Madison Square Garden live on DAZN.
As far as the defending champ is concerned, this fight is about more than retaining the unified world belts and his undefeated record. He views it as the biggest fight of his career. He looks at this fight as step one towards what he hopes is a path to eventual greatness.
For that to happen, it means that Lopez must fight the best in his division. There has been a long-standing beef between him and the current WBC world lightweight champion, Devin Haney. It’s a showdown that would be welcomed by both fans and pundits.
WANTING THINGS HIS WAY
According to Lopez, if the fight is to take place, it will not be at lightweight. That’s because he claims that Kambosos will be his last opponent at 135. During an interview with Boxing Social, a fight with Haney is possible, but it must come at his terms.
“A bout with Devin Haney is possible. The whole thing is, they gotta come and see me. I’ve been at this weight for too long. Man, I started realizing some things. First off, you ain’t really earn the belt and fight for the belt, you got it delivered through email.
“Second, I’ve been at this weight for almost eight years now. I’ve been waiting, sitting as a matter of fact, for two years to get a call from any of them guys. They haven’t presented themselves.
“So, I feel like nobody wants to come to me because I have all the belts. Maybe if I drop the belts, let’s see how confident they start getting then. Let me get that fight at 140. I earned all these belts, man. For everybody that’s supporting Devin Haney, you’re fake too and I don’t like y’all, fuck y’all.”Teofimo Lopez – Unified Lightweight Champion
IS THIS TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY?
Some fans would view this stance with a bit of skepticism. If Lopez wants to move up because of weight issues, it didn’t look that way during the November 26 weigh-in for Kambosos. He didn’t need to strip down to make weight. More to the point, a potential fight with Haney makes the most sense at lightweight.
It’s no secret that Lopez and Haney do not like each other. The two got into a heated exchange while ringside for Sandor Martin’s upset win over Mikey Garcia on October 17. They’ve also had their share of back and forth trash-talk on social media.
With both men currently holding all the major belts in the division, a match between the two would be for undisputed honors. It’s a fight bubbling with the most money-earning potential in 2022. If it were to happen at 140, it would mean they would have to re-establish themselves in a new division and presumably win a world title in that division as well. That takes time. Is it a guarantee that Lopez would be as successful at a higher weight? Would it be fair for fans to sit by and wait for that to happen? All of this is contingent on a win against Kambosos Jr at MSG.
TALKING OUT OF BOTH SIDES OF YOUR MOUTH
Teofimo Lopez has been all over the place in terms of the status of his career. One minute he speaks about staying right where he is and facing the likes of Haney and WBA world ‘regular’ lightweight champion Gevonta Davis. In the next breath, he wants to face current undisputed world junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor. The common theme? He loves to opine about his self-worth and how he’s the present and future. Because of his constant chattering, Lopez is becoming one of the most talked-about figures in boxing, for better or for worse.
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By: Michael Wilson Jr.