Top Rank is interested in matching former undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez tough in his first fight at 140 by putting him in with Arnold Barboza Jr. in the first quarter.
The Teofimo vs. Barboza Jr. fight isn’t official yet, but it’s one that Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Tamper wants for Teo.
Before the fight can happen, Bob Arum wants Teofimo to be checked out by the Cleveland Clinic and given a clean bill of health to ensure that his throat injury and lung problems have healed.
This is a tough first fight for Teofimo in moving up in weight in taking on the 30-year-old Barboza Jr. (26-0, 10 KOs). Still, if Teo is serious about challenging undisputed light welterweight champion soon Josh Taylor, he’s got to prove himself against this type of foe.
If Teofimo loses this fight, he and Top Rank will have a big decision they’ll need to make about his future. Should Teofimo stay at 140 or try and move up to 147?
Barboza’s best wins have come against these fighters:
- Alex Saucedo
- Antonio Moran
- Tony Luis
- William Silva
- Mike Reed
In Barboza’s last fight, he defeated Antonio Moran by a one-sided 10 round unanimous decision in August.
Teofimo must prove that he can succeed at 140 because he’s too heavy at this point in his career to continue boiling down to 135 the way he’d been doing since turning pro in 2016.
Teofimo weighs close to 160, and, incredibly, he was able to campaign at lightweight for as long as he did.
Even 140 might prove to be impossible for Teofimo soon because he’ll still need to take off close to 20 lbs of water weight to make the limit for the division. If this proves to be too hard for Teofimo, he’ll need to move up to 147 and try his luck against welterweights.
“The Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler wants Teofimo Lopez’s first fight at 140 pounds to be against Arnold Barboza Jr (#3 in the WBO ranking), and it seems that both boxers are interested in the proposal,” said @EspnKnockOut.
Lopez, 24, is coming off a surprising 12 round split decision loss to his IBF mandatory George Kambosos Jr. on November 27th at Madison Square Garden in New York. It was revealed later that Teofimo had fought with an injured throat that cut have been life-threatening.
The fight with Kambosos was initially scheduled for last summer, but Teofimo came down with COVID-19, which resulted in the match being moved to November 27th.
Shockingly, the 13-to-1 underdog Kambosos dropped Teofimo in the first round and outboxed him to win a narrow 12 round split decision. Kambosos would have given Teofimo a rematch had he asked, but he chose to move up to 140 instead.
Promoter Bob Arum had talked recently of wanting Teofimo (16-1, 12 KOs) to face former two-division world champion Jose Pedraza in his first fight at 140.
However, those plans were likely scrapped after Pedraza tested positive for COVID 19 this week, which has caused the postponement of his next fight against Jose Ramirez until March 4th.