Lopez now thinks that Devin Haney is next!
When it comes to Teofimo “Take Over” Lopez (16-0, 12 KO’s) the world simply wants to know: who is next? For the better part of it, the WBO/WBA/IBF world lightweight champion has been coy on the subject. He has let it be known that he wants to fight three times in 2021 and listed some obvious candidates. However, in his most recent interview, with Sky Sports Boxing, the Take Over was far more specific.
First, Lopez tackled the subject of his IBF mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr (19-0, 10 KO’s). Admittedly, he was initially very excited to face his Australian foe at home. Unfortunately, like so many things in the chaotic 2020, that fight was thrown into limbo by COVID-19. First, there is a travel ban to negotiate and secondly, there is no guarantee there will be fans. Staging the fight minus a brimming audience stripped a lot of the appeal away for Lopez.
“I believe since they are doing the travel ban, it kind of made it a little bit more difficult now because I think they have a travel ban in Australia now. So that was the whole purpose of it, why we wanted to fight Kambosos. It was because it was going to be in Australia with the fans. Of course, who would say no to sixty thousand fans in attendance? No one! So that was the whole goal for it. Now that due to COVID they had the travel ban, that kind of takes everything out of the equation, where we might face Devin Haney next.”
HANEYS DREAM COME TRUE
It’s funny to hear that Lopez is saying he wants WBC world lightweight champion Devin “The Dream” Haney (25-0, 15 KO’s) next. Since beating Lomachenko, the Take Over has had to field a tremendous amount of questions regarding the WBC champion. When answering those inquiries, Lopez has played more roles than Eddie Murphy in The Klumps.
Sometimes he says its a great fight right now, while at other times he says the bout needs three to five years to develop. Directly after the Loma fight, the unified champion indicated he wanted to get right at the Dream. Then later he would declare that the Californian kid had to do more and leave a greater impression on the fans. Now, he is back saying that Haney is a top priority. It was telling to note however, he pointed out that he and his father were on the same page on the matter.
In different points in the past, it was clear that the Lopez duo had not always seen eye-to-eye on the topic. To his credit, the Take Over has always given Haney his just due as being a top fighter. He simply believes himself to be a better fighter. His father, Lopez Sr, has been a bit more dismissive. Time will tell if they maintain these similar talking points going forward.
“We’re going to make the fight happen, I tried to save his career, I did, I did, kid you not. I tried to protect his career. I told him three to five years, work your way up. A lot of people are going to take this wrong, I tried to take good care of this man’s career. But now, he’s gotten out of hand and it’s kind of got me going. So we are going to start pressing him on it and me and my father are already all good on it, we’re on the same page. So I believe Devin Haney will be next.”
When asked what the Dream needs to do to make the fight, Lopez gave the following response:
“He needs to take the fight, whether he gets two million or three million, he needs to take the fight. He’s not going to get what he really thinks he might get, he’s going to get less than that. I think that he needs to understand that and where’s he at and the opposition where he’s at. We’re going to choose the fight date, we’re going to choose the fight month because we’re the A-side. Understand the situation that is at hand, understand what’s going on in the real world right now and just make these fights happen for the fans.”
SHAME OF THE PEOPLE
It is not very surprising that Lopez is talking about fighting Haney next. All one has to do is go to his social media and take a stroll through the comments. Yes, he does have a strong supporting cast of fans who are singing his praises. Nevertheless, right along with those fans is an undeniable contingent of boxing enthusiasts kicking dirt on his name. The main gripe of this group is the fact that the Take Over has not fought the Dream.
It is one thing if a fellow fighter is talking greasy, but a whole different monster when it is a chunk of your fan base. This is similar to when Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara finagled his way into a fight with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez by pissing him off. In 2014, Lara was well-known to be a dangerous fighter who was awkward to fight. At the same time, he had a reputation with the fans of being boring. Saddled with stigma, Lara was often dismissed by many fans when thinking of the big fights.
That was until the American Dream crashed Alvarez’s post-fight presser following his bout with Alfredo Angulo. After being asked by a press member who he would fight next, Lara commandeered the stage and nominated himself. After the incident, the redhead seemed content to blow it off, but he quickly saw that he was being labeled a coward by his fellow countrymen. Unable to live with this, Canelo made the fight shortly after. It seems that this brand of shaming now has Teofimo Lopez in the Devin Haney business. In the end, it does not matter how they come, so long as we get the good fights!
By: Bakari Simpson