Teofimo Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs) is getting ready to get back in the ring with a new beginning at 140 in the spring against unbeaten, highly ranked light welterweight Arnold Barboza Jr. (26-0, 10 KOs).
ESPN reports that #2 WBO, #5 WBC, and #15 IBF Barboza is the fighter that Teofimo will be facing next. Barboza, 30, is signed with Top Rank, like Teofimo, unbeaten, highly-ranked, making it a no-brainer to make this fight next.
The unbeaten Barboza has recent wins over these fighters:
- Alex Saucedo
- Antonio Moran
- Tony Luis
- William Silva
Teofimo’s father, Teofimo Sr., believes that his lung problems will be a thing of the past now that he’s moving up to 140 and won’t struggle to make the weight anymore as he had while campaigning at 135. He’s already talking about wanting Teofimo to take on undisputed light welterweight champion Josh Taylor.
Unfortunately, things might not be any easier for Teofimo to make weight at 140 as it had when he was fighting at 135. We’re only talking about five pounds difference in weight between the two divisions.
Given that the hulking 5’8″ middleweight-sized Teofimo walks around at close to 160 lb of pure muscle, the weight cut to get to 140 is likely going to be just as hard as it was in getting down to 135. With that said, don’t be surprised if Teofimo struggles badly to make weight and is eventually forced to move up to 147, which is where he probably should be fighting right now instead of 140.
It’s an important fight for the famous former four-belt 135-lb champion Teofimo Lopez because he made a mess of things in his last fight against unheralded IBF mandatory George Kambosos Jr. last November.
That was supposed to be a slam-dunk win for the New Yorker Teofimo, a fight that would lead to bigger and better match-ups against the likes of Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, and Vasily Lomachenko.
Instead, the injured and weight-drained Teofimo came unglued in the first round after getting put on the canvas from a flash knockdown in which he walked into a right hand from Kambosos.
Unable to mentally bounce back from the early knockdown, the 24-year-old Teofimo lost his four titles to the 28-year-old Australlian Kambosos Jr. on November 27th.
It was a fight that Teofimo came close to winning, but the injuries he was dealing with at the time proved too much for him.
“We ready for anybody at 140 pounds; he doesn’t have to struggle at that weight, he’ll be perfect, he won’t be getting sick from his lungs anymore,” Lopez’s father and trainer, Teofimo Lopez Sr., said to ESPN. “I think that would be a great fight; I think Top Rank is looking for that fight with Barboza.
“We’ll fight anybody; it doesn’t matter who it is. And then eventually fight [undisputed 140-pound champion] Josh Taylor and get our belts back.”
Despite what the former undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo was up against that night at Madison Square Garden in New York, he narrowly lost by a 12 round split decision. The scores were: 115-112, 115-111 for Kambosos Jr, and 114-113 for Teofimo.
In Teofimo’s previous fight a year earlier, he beat IBF, WBA, WBC Franchise & WBO lightweight champion Vasily Lomachenko by a surprising 12 round unanimous decision in October 2020. The scores were wickedly lopsided. They scored 116-112, 119-109, and 117-111.
In reality, the fight was much closer than the scores the three judges handed it, and you can argue that Teofimo just barely edged in in the end.
Teofimo’s almost total collapse in the second half of the contest is the reason why the fight should have been scored 115-113 by all three judges instead of the strange set of scores that were turned in.
“He beats me, he gets back at title contention at 140; I beat him, my name gets out there more,” Barboza said. “He is a big name — he’s the type of guy I want to beat and make a statement against. It will be good on my resume.”
Barboza has a good shot at beating Teofimo if we see the former undisputed lightweight champion gas out in the second half once again. In Teofimo’s last two fights, he’d faded badly in the championship rounds. Whether that’s weight-related or a product of cardio problems is unknown at this point.