Teofimo Lopez Claims He’s Ready to Face Devin Haney…Finally!
Within the lightweight division there is no denying that WBC Lightweight champion Devin “The Dream” Haney (25-0, 15 KO’s) is the odd man out. Despite having a big name and owning a title, he has had a devil of a time securing a big named opponent. Unified lightweight champion Teofimo “Take Over” Lopez (16-0, 12 KO’s) has flip-flopped numerous times on the subject. Whenever he says he wants the fight, quicker than Super Dave can hurt himself, he offers a rationale for why he won’t.
Ryan “KingRy” Garcia fought in a title eliminator for the opportunity to dance with Haney. Then, after winning that eliminator, he oddly chose to fight another eliminator instead of taking his shot at the title. Ultimately, he bowed out of that fight too. Therefore, unable to test his skills with those that he wanted, The Dream is now set to square-off with three-division champion Jorge Linares.
In a bit of late breaking news, the WBC has announced the winner of the upcoming Joseph Diaz versus Javier Fortuna bout will take hold of the interim lightweight belt. This was the same interim title that Garcia held until his “mental issues” forced him into inactivity. Armed with that interim belt, the Diaz/Fortuna winner would then be the mandatory for Haney. Cleary, the Take Over is taking an issue with this!
FACE ME FIRST!
After getting wind of the WBC’s announcement, Lopez quickly took to his social media to say he wanted Haney next…again! On one hand, it is good to see that he is showing interest. Still, at this point, it is hard to believe Lopez is not just once more crying wolf.
One reason to believe that this is more legitimate is due to the fact that his pride has probably been bruised. On countless occasions the Take Over has told the media about his desire to move to super lightweight. Once done, it was his goal to face the winner of the then upcoming Josh Taylor versus Jose Carlos Ramirez undisputed clash. Taylor would win and walked away with the spoils of war. When asked about his desire to face Lopez, Taylor snubbed him and said he needs to first actually become undisputed.
A CASE OF PRICKED PRIDE?
Ever since defeating Vasiliy Lomachenko, a great controversy about Lopez being undisputed has waged. This is because Lopez holds the WBC’s nonsensical “Franchise” title while Haney owns the legitimate version. Up until this point, the Take Over has remained extremely dismissive of those who have taken issue with this undisputed status. Yet, it is not so easy to brush aside the opinion of an actual, controversy-free, undisputed champion!
Taylor has publicly stated that Lopez is not a legitimate undisputed champion on several occasions. Despite this, the Take Over has never publicly disputed or challenged his opinion. However, it seems more than a coincidence that now that Taylor is hot as a chili pepper soaked in battery acid that Lopez is pressed to face Haney.
No matter what his motivation is, let’s just hope that we finally get the Haney versus Lopez prizefight once and for all. With that we can crown a legitimate undisputed champion at lightweight. Yet, for this to happen, Lopez cannot change his mind…again.
By: Bakari Simpson