Josh Warrington wants Luis Alberto Lopez rematch: “I’d love to run it back”

By Will Arons - 05/29/2023 - Comments

Josh Warrington says he’s interested in a rematch against Luis Alberto Lopez after watching him knockout Michael Conlan in the fifth round last Saturday night in their contest in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Lopez probably won’t be excited about fighting Warrington again after being fouled continually by him last December in a fight that he won by a 12 round majority decision in Leeds. He was angry afterward about Warrington’s dirty tactics.

The scores were surprisingly close, with the judges giving it to Lopez by a 115-113, 115-113, and 114-114 decision. Lopez wasn’t happy that the referee didn’t take charge to control Warrington’s fouling, as he was head-butted, hit in the leg, and nailed by numerous rabbit punches during the contest. None of it resulted in Warrington being penalized.

“He even hit me on my legs. I don’t think the referee did his job in protecting the fighters tonight,” said Lopez after his fight against Warrington.

Is Warrington clout chasing?

Until last Saturday, Warrington (31-2-1, 8 KOs) had been quiet since losing his IBF 126-lb belt to Lopez last December in Leeds, England. But after watching Lopez  (28-2, 16 KOs) obliterate Conlan in his hometown, he’s come out of the woodwork, saying h wants to run it back against the hard-hitting Mexican talent.

Of course, Warrington is likely just clout chasing, getting attention on his stalled-out career before he accepts an offer to challenge Leigh Wood for his newly won WBA featherweight title in September at the City Grounds in Nottingham.

“It would be nice if they could get a fight that’s not in the other guy’s hometown for a change. Whether that means fighting in Mexico or somewhere in the United States in a heavily Hispanic area in Las Vegas or in Southern California,” said Dan Rafael to Big Fight Weekend about Luis Alberto Lopez in where he goes from here in his next fight after defeating Michael Conlan in his hometown of Belfast last Saturday.

Lopez has options for next fight

“They [Top Rank] has other champions they work with. They are the promoters for Robeisy Ramirez,” said Rafael. “I think the logical fight that would be interesting would be the loss that he took.

“Luis Alberto Lopez has two defeats. One of them was very early in his career back in 2018 in Mexico. His most notable loss came the following year in a nationally televised fight in the United States on ShoBox. He lost a decision to Ruben Villa,  who later fought for a world title [against Emanuel Navarrete] and lost.

“Ruben Villa recently signed with Top Rank and made his debut with them in the last couple of weeks and looked very solid in getting a [fifth round knockout] victory [against Maickol Lopez Villagrana on May 13th]. He’s a very solid contender.

“Eventually, that might be an attractive fight for Lopez to try and avenge his loss to Villa, and Villa getting another title opportunity. I can absolutely see that happening, and then they may also go the route where ‘We want to make an exciting fight’ where Lopez is also the favorite.

“They promote Joet Gonzalez, who has also come up short in some title fights, but he always gives a great effort and is always in an exciting fight. That would be a very fan-friendly fight. I could see Top Rank looking in that direction.

“He’s going to have Villa, Joet, a unification against [WBO featherweight champion] Robeisy Ramirez, which, if that were to happen, it would probably be a ways away. I say that because Robeisy Ramirez is heading to Japan to defend his title on the undercard of the great match-up between Inoue and Stephen Fulton.

“But suffice it to say, the Top Rank stable with fighters at 126 pounds or other fighters at 122 that could come up in weight or whatever, there are a lot of opportunities and options for him. The other unification fights seem unlikely for different reasons.

“I don’t think they’re making a fight between him and Leigh Wood. Although, I would certainly embrace it. You never know, I guess. That’s probably unlikely. Like I said, Robeisy has the WBO title.

“I’m sure that based on Lopez’s before this fight and after this fight, this guy is utterly fearless. He doesn’t care about going to the hometown or whatever. I assume if you pay him right, he’ll go.

“Leigh Wood coming to the United States to fight him, I don’t think Leigh Wood would be fearful of that at all. But he made it very clear what he wants in his post-fight. There’s not a big amount of money to come to the United States to fight Lopez. That seems a bridge too far.

“What Leigh Wood wants is the big City Ground stadium fight where he lives in Nottingham, and he would also like a unification. The other champion in the weight class, for what it’s worth, is with PBC, and that’s Rey Vargas.

“If I was to bet on it, when Lopez comes back, he’s going to fight one of the Top Rank guys. It’s probably not going to be a unification in his next fight. He’s most likely going to fight one of their contenders. A Joet, Ruben Villa, or someone else. It’s going to be that type of fight. We’ll see him on ESPN in a title fight,” said Rafael.

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