Teofimo Lopez must show his character against Regis Prograis says Stephen Edwards

By Rob Smith - 12/27/2022 - Comments

Trainer Stephen Edwards isn’t counting out Teofimo Lopez should he challenge WBC light welterweight champion Regis Prograis next.

Edwards says he’s still favoring Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs) to win based on his current form, but he’s not saying that Teofimo (18-1, 13 KOs) shouldn’t take the fight or that he can’t win.

The former unified lightweight champion Teofimo, 25 is ready to take the risky fight with Prograis, even though he looked subpar in his last fight against Sandor Martin on December 10th.

Teofimo was given a 10 round split decision that many boxing fans disagreed with. Although Teofimo’s promoter Bob Arum believed he’d done enough to earn the decision over Martin (40-3, 13 KOs), the ESPN commentators and the boxing world had him losing.

Teofimo is in a tough spot because he’s set a goal for himself to become the undisputed 140-lb champion in 2023. For him to do that, he’s going to need to beat Prograis.

It doesn’t matter if Teofimo saves Prograis for last, he’ll still be up against it. At least by Teofimo fighting Prograis next, he’ll be a lot fresher than he would if he went through WBO champ Josh Taylor and the two other champions at 140.

“It wasn’t his best performance, but that other guy had something to do with it. That dude can fight,” said Stephen ‘Breadman’ Edwards to Fighthype when asked to grade Teofimo Lopez’s last performance against Sandor Martin on December 10th.

“He can move. That’s what you call being able to punch on the move,” said Edwards about Martin. “See how difficult that was for Teo? People think that’s an insult. That’s hard to deal with.

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“He’s a true stick & mover. Sandor Martin, that guy can fight. Whoever taught him how to fight knows what they’re doing. He can move both ways, he can punch off the move, and he throws the kind of punches that are hard to counter.

“Teofimo Lopez, that’s tough match-making. I’m not saying that Top Rank did anything wrong because his opponent fell out. They had to do what they had to do to find the right guy, but that’s a hard fight for him.

“Teofimo Lopez isn’t really a pressure fighter. What he is is boxer/puncher that’s really explosive. He can just punch, but he’s not the kind of guy that cuts the ring off, wears guys out, and knocks them out.

“Remember that tall guy that he fought [Masayoshi Nakatani] and how much trouble he had. People don’t realize that. So that’s a tough style for him to deal with.

“On top of that, he lost and was knocked down against George Kambosos, and George Kambosos has been beat two times by Devin Haney. So what that does is kind of attack a fighter’s confidence a little bit. One of your rivals just outclassed a guy that you fought.

“So he’s probably going through some confidence issues right now, and unfortunately, when you go through confidence issues as a boxer, the whole world gets to see it. I still think Teofimo Lopez has a future. He’s just got to find a way back, and he’s got to find his way back.

“He’s got to figure out what that is. I would favor Regis, but I’m not telling no guy not to fight because, guess what? David Benavidez is going to be the favorite against Caleb [Plant],”  said Edwards when told that Teofimo is next in line to challenge WBC light welterweight champion Regis Prograis next.

“That’s part of the game. You take fights as the favorite, and you take fights as an underdog. If he wants to be champion and get his status back, then that’s who he’s got to fight.

“I would favor Regis right now because based on current form, but I can’t say Teofimo can’t beat him. Regis is an excellent fighter, but anybody can lose. It’s going to be a tough fight right now, but this is what boxing is.

“Let’s see what he’s made of. Boxing is more than just talent. It’s willpower, it’s the ability to overcome obstacles, and the ability to block out what everyone is saying, It’s the ability to have the determination and go for a goal that you don’t see in front of you, but you got to go passed so much to get there.

“It’s more than who can throw a right hand, a left hook, and who’s fast and who can punch. Teofimo has got the physical stuff, but now we got to see what his character is like.

“If he’s got it, more power to the young man. Let’s see him go for it,” said Edwards.