Junior Welterweight King Josh Taylor Dismisses Callout by Teofimo Lopez
Anytime you enter a new year, it’s custom for folks to make a declaration of intent. It is done to set a new goal. Such was the case for former unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs), who went on social media to announce that, in 2022, he will become the undisputed junior welterweight champion of the world.
As a point of order, Lopez claiming he wants to become the undisputed champion “again” implies he was undisputed and held all four major sanctioning world titles at 135. That is wrong, as he was not the WBC lightweight champion. That title belongs to Devin Haney.
That correction aside, with plans to move up 140, Lopez has eyes on a match with undisputed junior welterweight champ Josh Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs). Currently preparing to make the first defense of the undisputed titles against WBO mandatory contender Jack Catterall on February 26, Taylor was asked about the comments from the former lightweight champ during an interview with iFL TV.
“Well, the thing was he wasn’t undisputed in the first place. So, he’s going to have to try at some point. But, he’s got a long queue ahead of him to get that fight. So, he can wait about all he wants and bark all he wants.”
It’s not the first time the two men have sparred verbally. Throughout 2021, they had their share of heated back-and-forth exchanges on social media. Before his shocking loss to George Kambosos in November of 2021, Lopez threw Taylor’s name out as an opponent he’d like to face eventually. The fighter nicknamed “Tartan Tornado” was quick to respond in kind.
THE LIKELIHOOD OF A TAYLOR-LOPEZ SHOWDOWN?
What are the chances of the fight happening? It’s possible because they are promoted by Top Rank. But ultimately, it all depends on the undisputed junior welterweight king and what he wants to do.
Taylor’s immediate concerns must be on getting past his upcoming defense against Catterall. If successful, the Scottish fighter has multiple options on his plate. He has visions of a fight against WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford. However, Taylor insists he’s very comfortable making 140 pounds and could conceivably stay in the division a bit longer.
On the other hand, Lopez is in rebuild mode. He is still licking his wounds following a shocking loss to George Kambosos in November 2021. Not only did he lose his unified lightweight titles, but he was also heavily criticized by fans and pundits for what they deemed as a fighter who became quite full of himself. Now he has to go back to the drawing board, restore his reputation, and prove worthy of that kind of opportunity.
On paper, it’s a sexy matchup that would draw considerable interest from the boxing public. But at this point, the fight seems to be more talk and boxing fantasy than a legit reality.
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By: Michael Wilson Jr.