WBO Requests Lopez to Confirm Plans and Orders Barboza vs Ramirez
Things are getting quite interesting regarding the WBO junior welterweight title. Arnold Barboza (28-0, 10 KOs) is ranked first, and Jose Ramirez (28-1, 18 KOs) is ranked second by the WBO at 140. The sanctioning body has ordered a bout between the two fighters that, in theory, could be for the vacant WBO 140-pound title. But certain factors are making things rather complicated.
A TWISTED WEB
Teofimo “The Takeover” Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs) is the reigning WBO junior welterweight champion. He captured the title with a unanimous decision victory over Josh Taylor on June 10. Following the win over Taylor, Lopez announced his retirement.
However, Lopez has yet to officially vacate the title. In concert with the ordered fight between Barboza and Ramirez, the sanctioning body gave Lopez twenty-four hours to inform them in writing whether he plans to vacate. If Lopez decides to keep the belt and plans to fight again, the ordered bout between Barboza and Ramirez would be null and void. Upon hearing about the WBO’s decision, Barboza posted the following message on social media:
THE PLOT THICKENS
But there’s more to this story and involves the undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney (30-0, 15 KOs). The lightweight champion is strongly considering a move up to junior welterweight. Were he to make the official jump up in weight, by WBO rule, he would be in line to fight Barboza for the title, provided that Lopez relinquishes the belt.
The sanctioning body has also given Haney twenty-four hours to inform them if he’s going up to 140. Despite their request, it appears that Haney has eyes on a possible fight with reigning WBC champion Regis Prograis.
You can see the intentions of the WBO. They are trying to prevent Lopez from holding the belt hostage, which would be unfair to Barboza, Ramirez, or anyone else in the WBO rankings. Time is officially on the clock. This entire matter is far from any conclusion, so stay tuned to 3kingsboxing.com for additional updates.