Father knows best?
It was hard not to be impressed by undefeated lightweight Teofimo Lopez, who dismantled William Silva over six rounds, last weekend, at the Lakefront Arena, in New Orleans, in his ESPN debut.
Many wondered how he’d do on the big stage but it’s clear that this just might be a pugilistic prodigy. What was a homecoming for Regis Prograis was also Lopez’s breakout performance.
You don’t have to convince his father/trainer Teofimo Lopez Sr., who might be the only one more confident than his son in his ability.
“I mean, I was wrong by about 30 seconds. I said it wouldn’t go five rounds,” said the father, in the cramped dressing quarters, in the immediate aftermath of his son’s 10th professional victory. “I thought it was a tremendous performance. I was questioning him in the third, fourth rounds and what he told me was, ‘I’m just trying to set him up, Papi. Don’t worry; don’t worry. I got it.’ And that’s all she wrote.”
After sending Silva to the canvas in the first round, Lopez then floored him at the end of the fifth before finishing him off at the beginning of the sixth. He punctuated his effort with a “home run” celebration that was finished off with a backflip.
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There was a palpable buzz in this venue, during and after his performance. Again many times, it’s not if you win but how you win.
“He did a tremendous performance today and I couldn’t be happier. It’s going to be tough to beat this performance, and he’s just going to get better. He’s only 20 years old. He’s hitting like a monster, and with a guy who had 26 fights and his only loss was to Felix Verdejo,” said Lopez Sr., who has developed his only unique training style blending facets from Floyd Mayweather Jr. to Gennady Golovkin:
While he didn’t come in with quite the accolades of featherweights Shakur Stevenson and Michael Conlan, it’s clear that Lopez is Top Rank’s most advanced prospect, at this moment. And perhaps only lightweight Devin Haney and welterweight Jaron “Boots” Ennis are in his class, overall.
But his father isn’t shy to tell you just how high the ceiling is for his son, ”The best that ever lived. The best that ever lived and he’s showing it,” he stated without an ounce of hesitation. “Twenty years old, you can go back in time and look at any boxer in time and they’re not fighting like him. He looks like a seasoned veteran in the sport, and he’s only a baby.”
The son says the goal is to win a major title by the age of 21 but the father believes they are just getting started on this journey to greatness. “He’s got about five more years to develop,” he began to say before Teofimo Jr. interjected.
“This is what I said: ‘You’re either going to have to get me now because in a couple of years I’m going to be gone.'”
As passionate as Lopez is about the sport, it’s hard to believe he’ll ever retire early.
“He’s not even 21, so basically ain’t nobody in the game ever done it like him, at this age – nobody in the game,” said the elder Lopez, perhaps forgetting about Wilfred Benitez. “And then you have all these fake prospects out there talking all this stuff about they’re being good, and ain’t nobody like them and all this and all that. We got the real deal here.”
The Lopezes want to be fast-tracked, no doubt, and even the notoriously hard-to-please Top Rank matchmakers are impressed by his early form. “We’re going to keep doing our thing; I think the only thing you fear is the confidence and swagger of him, that he’s going to walk into something. That’s really what happens. Teofimo’s just so confident in his ability, and he’s progressed at such a rapid rate, you just hope he has some humbleness in his approach to being in the ring and not throwing jumping lead right hands, helicopter punches and things I’ve never seen before,” said Todd duBoef, the president of Top Rank, with a chuckle.
“As the opposition goes up, he’s going to have to tighten up his game and not have the latitude he may have been having with other opponents,” added duBoef.
Right now the only thing slowing “The Takeover” is a small fracture in Lopez’s right hand, suffered during the first round of this past outing. On Wednesday they will be in Los Angeles to meet with hand specialist Dr. George Shin, to get a prognosis.
Other than that, it will be full steam ahead for “The Teofimo Express.”
“We’re here to take anybody that comes. We’re not in no rush but we’re here to take any fight Top Rank is ready to give us and makes sense because he’s a prizefighter. We want to get what we deserve,” stated Teofimo Sr.
Here’s the latest edition of “The 3 Knockdown Rule.” Mario Lopez and I review Manny Pacquiao’s latest conquest and we talk about everything else in the sport of boxing.
DAZN and Matchroom Boxing unveiled their early fall schedule and they kick off things on September 22, when Anthony Joshua defends his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles against Alexander Povetkin, from Wembley Stadium…They will have cards on October 6 in Chicago featuring Jessie Vargas and October 20, with WBA 122-pound titlist Danny Roman headlining from Los Angeles…Yes, I’ll be in Las Vegas for the Jaime Munguia-Liam Smith card at the Hard Rock Hotel. The night before I’ll be calling the action for Thompson Boxing, alongside Josesito Lopez, at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California…Can we now focus on the opening of NFL training camps in a few weeks?…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.