Unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez isn’t too worried about what Devin Haney brings to the table. Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) says WBC lightweight champion Haney (25-0, 15 KOs) is a guy that “easy” to figure out, unlike VasilyLomachenko, who Teo says wasn’t easy to break down.
Teofimo states that Haney, 22, isn’t as good as he and some boxing fans believe him to be, and he’ll have an easy time solving his style.
Lopez says he plans on fighting his IBF mandatory George Kambosis Jr next in April or May in Australia, and then come back and fight Haney. That’ll be Teofimo’s second fight in 2021.
For Teo’s third fight this year, he says he’s going to move up to 140 and take on the winner of the May contest between Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor.
Those two fighters both have two world titles apiece at 140, and their fight will be for the undisputed light-welterweight championship.
If Teofimo beats the Taylor vs. Ramirez fight winner, he’ll be the undisputed champion for two weight divisions. At that point, Teofimo will need to make up his mind whether to stay at 140 or return to the 135-lb division.
It’s unlikely that the sanctioning bodies will allow Teofimo to hold titles in two different weight classes. If Teofimo tried to hold onto those titles, it would be a nightmare for him to take care of his mandatory challengers for two weight classes.
Teofimo giving fans the fights they want
“Those fights will be made,” said Lopez to Behind the Gloves about fights against Haney, Tank Davis, Ryan Garcia, and the winner of the Jose Ramirez vs. Josh Taylor fight.
“Some may take time, and some may happen this year. That’s part of it. Someone’s O will go from those four, and it’s all about making big fights happen for you guys.
“That’s what’s most important. When Teofimo fights, it’s more about, ‘Do the fans want this fight? Okay, how are we going to do this?
“How are we going to win? What celebration is coming up? I’m always about the fans. I think this year is going to be a great year and a great year for boxing.
“Devin, Ryan, and the winners of Josh Taylor or Jose Ramirez,” said Teofimo about the fights he wants.
Well, George Kambosis Jr isn’t a fight that the boxing public wants, at least not the U.S fans.
The Australians will obviously be happy seeing Teofimo face one of their own in Kambosis, but that fight does nothing for Americans.
Additionally, it figures to be a mismatch, and that won’t help Teofimo’s popularity.
Beating Devin Haney is “simple,” says Teofimo
“It’s very simple. He’s not as great a boxer as people, and he thinks he is,” said Teofimo when asked how to beat Devin Haney.
“He’s a very easy guy to figure out, but that’s for me. Lomachenko wasn’t an easy guy to figure out, but I learned it like this, and I adapted to his thing. I’m like Albert Einstein when I’m in that ring.
“For my choice, if the IBF didn’t send me this letter [to face mandatory George Kambosis], I’d go straight to Devin Haney or the likes of any of those two fighters [Ryan Garcia and Tank Davis] that a lot of people mention.
“But Kambosis had fought his way just like I once did when I had to fight Loma. I order to fight Loma; I had to earn my spot.
“And Kambosis has done that [by beating Lee Selby], he’s earned his spot. A lot of people may discredit who this guy is. ‘Teofimo will just blow him out.’
“He earned his spot. These other fighters haven’t; they haven’t earned their spot yet. Would I want to fight him? Only if I go to Australia. But I got to respect the mandatory and how it works out.
“We’ll see what happens from that point on with negotiations and everything going back and forth. We’ll see from there,” Teofimo said about his IBF mandatory Kambosos.
The lack of punching power for Haney is going to put him at a considerable disadvantage against Teofimo. Haney’s other problems are Teofimo’s superior size and hand speed.
Teofimo checks every box in the offensive department against Haney, which could prove too much.
Lopez to fight three times in 2021
“There are flaws in his game still that he needs to work on, and I’m sure he will,” said Teofimo about Ryan Garcia.
“Luke Campbell was no pushover, and it goes to show you that you always got to respect the fighters you face. But I think it was a great win for him [Ryan], and he’ll definitely learn more moving forward.
“Everybody has their own agenda. By him [Ryan] calling out Tank. Apparently, they have their own agenda, and they have their own plans for Ryan.
“For myself, I plan on fighting three times this year, twice at 135 and one time at 140, against the likes of Jose Ramirez or Josh Taylor.
“Out of those winners. That’s the thing. Speaking with Bob Arum, we’ve talked about that. He said out of that winner, I want you to go right away, and I want you to go first. I said, ‘Okay, as long as they don’t move up to 147, we’re all good.
“Whatever happens. However, it works. Whether it’s Kambosos, Devin, and then Jose Ramirez or Josh Taylor, or it could be Devin, Ryan, or Tank, who knows?
“We’ll just try and see what we’ll do from now on and who is ready to fight us,” said Teofimo.
This year, fighting three times will increase Teofimo’s popularity, as long as he wins all three fights without controversy. The easy part Teo, 23, is beating Kambosos and Haney.
What won’t be easy is when Teofimo takes on the winner of the Ramirez vs. Taylor fight for all four belts at 140. Both guys are talented, and they’ll likely come up with a great game plan to try and beat Teofimo.
Teofimo to fight in April or May
“It looks like the end of April, the beginning of May will be the month, and we’ll just figure out the minor details or the main details about who we’re going to fight, the location, and the date,” said Teofimo about his next fight.
“Me and Bob Arum have been talking every week now, and we’ve just figured things out. Teofimo ‘The Takeover’ will be back very soon.
“I’m his best friend now, and that’s a good thing. I earned that. He tells me ‘anytime” I want to go out and have lunch with him, or if I want to see him, he’ll fly me out to LA to his other home.
“There’ a lot of things. Like I said, I’m his [Arum] best friend now,” said Teofimo.
It’ll be interesting to see if Teofimo’s title defense against IBF mandatory Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) will take place in front of 60,000 fans in Australia like Bob Arum as talented about.
If the fight is only in front of a small crowd, Teofimo would be better off bringing it back to the U.S and staging the fight in New York.
You can understand why Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is so pleased with Teofimo, as he has the best shot of becoming a superstar in his stable right now. If Teofimo unifies the 140-lb division, it’s going to be huge.