There is no doubting the talents and the enormous promise of unified lightweight king Teofimo Lopez. At just 23 years of age, Lopez, 16-0(12), has already done plenty – his win over Vasyl Lomachenko, his career highlight so far – yet he says, “We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
At this stage in his career, though, at least one massively respected boxing trainer has mentioned Lopez in the same breath as the one and only Roberto Duran.
Speaking with Fight Hub TV shortly after Lopez’s decision win over Loma, Abel Sanchez said Lopez is “the closest we’ve come in the last 30 to 35 years to Roberto Duran.” It goes without saying that this is the highest of high praise. But is it valid? Is Sanchez right in your opinion, or has Sanchez committed blasphemy by comparing Lopez to the immortal “Hands of Stone?”
“I think that Teofimo Lopez is the closest we’ve come in the last 30 to 35 years to Roberto Duran,” Sanchez said. “He has that meanness, he has that bravado, he has that skill, but he still has a lot to learn and a long way to go to be compared to Roberto Duran. But he’s as close as we’ve seen in a long, long time.”
It’s exciting to think how special Lopez really can be, and with Sanchez saying what he’s said, we fight fans can likely look forward to some great, great stuff from Lopez over the forthcoming years.
As we know, Duran is often ranked as THE greatest 135 pounders of all time, with maybe Benny Leonard topping the Panamanian in some lists. Can Lopez really go on to match the achievements of Duran?
Duran, like Lopez, won his first world title at a young age. Duran was just 20 years of age when he defeated Ken Buchanan to become the lightweight ruler in 1972. Duran had had 29 pro fights by then.
Having no equal at 135, Duran went on to defend the title 12 times before he moved up to cement his greatness with a win over Sugar Ray Leonard for the world welterweight championship.
Duran then accomplished even more: winning belts at 154 and 160.
It’s obviously way too early to be able to say whether or not Lopez can come anywhere near to emulating that huge pile of gold-laden greatness, but Sanchez, for one, feels Lopez has some of the stuff Duran had. At lightweight, at least.
Again, it really is going to be exciting and fascinating, seeing how much more Teofimo Lopez can go on to achieve in the ring. I wonder what Duran himself thinks about Lopez and his talents.