Undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez wants to give the fans the fight they want in Devin Haney, so he says he’s going to try and get his IBF mandatory George Kambosos Jr. to step aside to make that match happen.
Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) and Kambosos have been in negotiations for a fight in late April or early May, but it’s possible that we could see the New Yorker go in a different direction.
The main reasons Teofimo would want to take the fight with Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) is the easy money he’ll get for that fight and to hold onto his IBF belt.
Having all four titles at 135 strengthens Teofimo’s bargaining power if he were to get a fight with Ryan Garcia, Gervonta Davis, or Haney.
Other than that, it isn’t beneficial for Teofimo to keep his IBF title because he says he’s moving up to 140 at the end of 2021.
If Top Rank can’t negotiate a fight between Teofimo and Ryan, Haney or Tank, it means he’s going to be facing the less popular contenders in the 135-lb division.
Teofimo won’t need to be the undisputed champion to be the A-side in negotiations with just an average contender. Indeed, Teofimo doesn’t need any titles when facing a no-name.
Teofimo wants Kambosos out of the way
“If y’all want to see that, we’re going to give it to you,” said Teofimo on social media about a fight against Haney next. “I already said it; we’re talking about Devin Haney next.
“As long as we get everything sorted out with my mandatory [George Kambosos Jr]. We’ll move that to the side and fight Devin Haney next. You’ll definitely see why I am undisputed,” said Teofimo.
Teofimo is all over the place right now with him talking about wanting to fight everybody. To get Kambosos out of the way, Teo will likely need to pay him a step aside feel, which could be too costly to make it worthwhile.
If Teofimo values the IBF title so much, he’ll probably take the fight with Kambosos rather than try and sidestep the fight. With that said, it’s hard to understand why Teofimo would bother to keep the IBF title, though, because he only has a couple of fights left at 135.
Why would Teofimo use up one of his last fights at 135 facing an opponent that won’t resonate with the U.S boxing fans and will bring in poor numbers on ESPN?
Teofimo moving up to 140 in 2021
“End of April ‘or at the beginning of May,” said Teofimo when asked when he fights next. “It’s already been confirmed. Now we’re just getting into the details now.
“Everyone will see me back in the ring at the end of April or the beginning of May. Whether it’s the Cinco de Mayo weekend, that’ll be awesome.
“It’ll depend on what Canelo does on his end, and I look forward to that. I also look forward to who we get next, whether it’s Kambosos, Haney, [Ryan] Garcia, or Tank Davis.
“Teofimo is the undisputed lightweight world champion,” said Lopez in banging his own drum. “You guys haven’t noticed it yet, but you will find ut this year against the guys we do face. I look forward to fighting at 135.
“But at the end of this year, I will be at 140,” said Teofimo. “At the end of this year, I will move to 140. I have one or two fights left in me to be at 135 before I move up to 140. All I say now is tune in. It’s a takeover for a reason,” said Lopez.
If Teofimo is serious about moving up to 140 at the end of 2021, that makes it even more important that he maximizes his time that he has left t 135.
Unless Teofimo or his promoters at Top Rank don’t feel it’s important to try and negotiate a fight with one of the popular lightweights, he should be trying to fight one of them or give Vasily Lomachenko a rematch instead of facing Kambosos.
The fans’ general belief about Teofimo is he wants no part of a second fight with Lomachenko, as he doesn’t believe he can win. That makes Teofimo look weak, and it limits his options.
If Teofimo believes in himself, he should strongly consider a rematch with Loma if he can’t get a fight against Haney, Ryan Garcia, or Tank Davis.
A low-level opponent like Kambosos shouldn’t even be in consideration for a fight with Teofimo. Taking a fight with Kambosos would be a self-defeating move on Teo’s part, seeing that it does nothing for his career.
Lopez interested in Tank Davis fight
“Obviously, me, the king of the division, is #1,” said Lomachenko in rating himself at the top at 135.
“Lomachenko, I guess we’ll put [Ryan] Garcia, we’ll put Tank, and we’ll put Haney.
“The reason is because Tank has fought only once at 135, and it was against someone [38-year-old Yuriorkis Gamboa] that is on their way out,” said Teofimo when asked why he ranked Tank Davis below Ryan Garcia.
“People don’t realize at 135 it’s a big difference. It took Tank Davis 12 rounds to finish someone like Gamboa at 135. It took six, half that, with Leo Santa Cruz, who fought at 122, going up to 130.
“What I’m saying is size is a big difference for him. I think Floyd Mayweather knows that. Floyd is a very smart man.
“He’ll protect his assets and protect his fighter [Tank Davis]. That’s why we don’t know what Floyd’s intentions are with Tank Davis. Gervonta Davis,” said Teofimo when asked who he’d want to fight out of these three: Tank, Ryan Garcia or Haney?
“Yeah, Gervonta Davis. The reason why is because the guy thinks he’s got it like that. I like the fact that all of them are like that, but I think it’ll be a very interesting fight [Tank vs. Teofimo] for everyone.
“A lot of people place him at #2, but he’s only fought once in the lightweight division. So I think I would love to have that type of fight with him,” said Teofimo.
If Teofimo is interested in fighting Tank Davis, he should be pushing Top Rank to make that fight right now. He’s never going to be in a better position to negotiate the match with Tank than he is right now, seeing that he’s coming off the biggest win of his career.
If Teofimo chooses to milk his titles by facing Kambosos, he won’t emerge from that fight with more popularity because no one has ever heard of this guy before.
The only people that will be impressed with Teofimo if he beats Kambosos are Australians because they’re the ones that know if this guy.
Lomachenko will give everyone problems
“I think anyone else that he faces, they’re going to have issues with Lomachenko,” said Teofimo to IFL TV. “He still has a lot in the tank to continue what his goal is, whether it’s to be undisputed at 130.
“Whatever he’s trying to do. I think Lomachenko has all the potential to beat everyone at 135.
“I hope he stays at 135 to scare these guys. The Tanks, the Garcia’s, the Haney’s, they’re so happy that Teofimo beat Lomachenko because now they feared him so much.
“Now they can forget about him, or at least they’re trying to. That’s why we do not hear Lomachenko’s name.
“I think it’s a sign of disrespect because the guy was the #1 pound-for-pound in many people’s eyes,” Teofimo said of Loma. Even Bob Arum himself was saying, this guy is better than Muhammad Ali or the next Muhammad Ali.
“So I give credit to Loma. The whole thing with the rematch clause and the rematch [with Lomachenko], a lot of people talk about it. The thing is, we beat him, we beat him fair and square, and it was shown,” said Teofimo gloating about his win over the injured Lomachenko.
“I think a lot of people can’t accept it. ‘How did this guy do it?’ That’s what Teofimo brings to the table.
“You’re always going to want to see more of me, and I’m thankful for it because I have that IT factor,” said Lopez.
“Lomachenko was no pushover. He was one of the most decorated fighters of this era.
“To beat a guy like him, it takes a lot of skills; it takes a lot of ring IQ. A lot of people try and question who’s the king of the lightweight division.
“We all know who was the rightful guy in the division, and that was Lomachenko. He was defeating the guys that he needed to beat and collecting the belts that he needed to collect.
“Obviously, I showed what I was able to do against a guy like him. Yeah, the whole thing now is who is going to be next, and I’m very excited to know that a lot of people are trying to discredit or question the champ, the king.
“It’s time that I got to impress these guys and let them know that this year, it’s the same thing. Nothing has changed.
“They were there with him all this time, and why are they not with him now because he lost?” said Teofimo about the boxing fans that have abandoned Lomachenko.
“But he didn’t lose to someone that is a bum. He was fighting someone that knows what they’re doing in that ring.
“I have the biggest b*** in the division. You know why? Because I was the only one to step up no matter what the cost was.
“I lost $800,000 to $1 million in that fight, but I took my gamble, and that’s what I do in my life, I risk it.
“That’s what it’s all about. A lot of people need to stop that and give the credit to Loma. He can still beat all these other guys, and that’s why I have him as my #2 in the lightweight division,” said Teofimo.
It’s safe to say that a healthy Lomachenko beats everyone in the 135-lb division, including Teofimo. That’s why Loma isn’t going to get a rematch with Teo, and it’s also why Tank, Ryan, and Haney never mention Lomachenko’s name. They know what they would be in for if they fought him.