As fight fans know, reigning WBO 140 pound champ Teofimo Lopez has a job to do tonight, this against Jamaine Ortiz in Las Vegas. But “The Takeover” is looking at bigger fights, and Lopez is also taking inspiration from one of the greatest fighters of all-time – Roberto Duran.
Lopez, 19-1(13) and making his maiden 140 pound title defence tonight, spoke with Sky Sports, and the 26 year old said it is “not a publicity stunt” with him calling out Terence Crawford. Lopez says the next generation of fighters, himself the best of the young fighters on the scene today in his opinion, need to do what ‘The Four Kings’ did, Duran especially, and take the biggest, riskiest fights against each other.
“If you look at my track record, everything that I talk about, I walk it as well,” Lopez said. “We don’t just talk the talk to amp something up, we want to walk the walk. And I just had to remind him (Crawford) I’m the biggest cat in the world, absolutely and because of that we face fighters, great champions and I look forward to facing a fighter like him after this fight however that pursues itself. This is not a publicity stunt here. If you look at my track record, it shows that I really choose to face the best. Because that’s what ‘The Takeover’ is. Who would I be if I didn’t face the best? The main guy that stands out of the four [Kings] was Roberto Duran. Regardless of whether he lost to all of them, he faced all of them and that right there is what I’m trying to bring back to my own beloved sport of boxing.”
Duran did indeed go up from 135 pounds, as Lopez has, with “Hands of Stone” eventually winning a world title at middleweight. It remains to be seen if Lopez, a two-weight champion, can be successful at welterweight. But Lopez, if he comes though okay against the 27 year old, 17-1-1(8) Ortiz, will almost certainly keep on calling out not only Crawford but also Devin Haney.
And we fans want to see these fights happen, and credit goes to Lopez for calling for them. Lopez, who threatened retirement not too long ago, looked great in his most recent fight, this when he dominated Josh Taylor to take the WBO 140 pound belt. Now, perhaps at his peak, mentally as well as physically, Lopez might have the stuff that is needed to become a true great.
And the way Lopez tells it, ‘The Takeover’ is far from done. Can Lopez stop Ortiz, or will he have to settle for a points win the way common opponent Vasyl Lomachenko did back in October of 2022?