Earlier this week, IBF/WBA light welterweight champion Josh Taylor made it know that he thinks Teofimo Lopez still needs to face WBC 135-lb champion Devin Haney for him to become the undisputed lightweight champion.
The WBC Franchise title that Teofimo possesses is more of a trinket belt given away by the World Boxing Council because of them appreciating a fighter. You can argue it’s a trinket title rather than one that is won in normal athletic competitions.
The Franchise belt that Teofimo possesses is more for adornment type of belt rather than it having any meaning. That’s why it’s odd that Teofimo even accepted that belt in the first place rather than telling the WBC, ‘No thanks, not interested.’
Teofimo’s one belt away from becoming the undisputed 135lb champ, and he needs to beat Haney 25-0, 15 KOs).
Taylor says he would like to see Teofimo finish his business with Haney before moving up to 140.
It will make for a bigger fight if Teofimo becomes the undisputed champion at lightweight in the real sense rather than trying to pass himself off as having earned that position.
Teofimo (16-0, 12 KOs) has been telling the media and the boxing public that he’s the “undisputed lightweight” champion after beating Vasily Lomachenko on October 17th last year.
Teofimo must win WBC title
The 24-year-old Teofimo says that he wants to move up to 140 to try and accomplish the feat of becoming a two-division undisputed champion.
Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) and George Kambosos Jr have pointed out that Teofimo is NOT the undisputed champion at 135 because his WBC title is a Franchise.
“He’s saying he’s the undisputed champion, and he’s not – he’s still got the other belt to win,” said Josh Taylor to Talksport about Teofimo needing to defeat WBC champion Haney to become the undisputed 135-lb champion.
“He’s got to beat Devin Haney to win the other belt, so he’s got unfinished business at lightweight to do.
Hopefully, Teofimo listens to Josh Taylor and goes after Haney so that he can round out his collection of titles at 135 before moving up.
Strangely, Teofimo didn’t choose to make the fight with Haney because he easily could have asked the International Boxing Federation to allow him to temporarily bypass his mandatory Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) so that he could first face Haney in a fight for the undisputed lightweight championship.
If Teofimo had asked the IBF, they likely would have permitted him to fight Haney. Teofimo didn’t make that move suggests that he’s afraid of Haney and would rather go in the path of least resistance.
I mean, we already know that Teofimo chose not to give Lomachenko a rematch, and that move was seen as a duck by him. But in choosing to face Kambosos Jr instead of Haney, it’s showing the fans what kind of champion Teofimo is.
“Did he do well to beat Lomachenko? Absolutely, I thought he did brilliant, but he did brilliantly against a small lightweight,” said Taylor about Teofimo’s win over Lomachenko last October.
Teofimo is a massive lightweight
“He’s a massive lightweight, and Lomachenko’s a very small lightweight,” added Taylor.
It’s pretty clear that Teofimo is a HUGE lightweight, and he’s basically a light welterweight who chooses to boil down to fight in a lower weight class to have a size advantage over his opponents.
With Lomachenko, he’s a fighter that is doing the opposite. He should be fighting at 130 at super featherweight, but he wants to challenge himself by fighting in a weight division ABOVE his normal size.
Obviously, it takes a lot of courage to do what Lomachenko is doing by fighting bigger guys.
With Teofimo, he’s following in the footsteps of past fighters like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in fighting in a division below his size so he can overpower his smaller opponents.