Undefeated Teofimo Lopez continues ‘the takeover’ in New Orleans tonight

Lightweight Teofimo Lopez. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Lightweight Teofimo Lopez. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

 

Tonight live from the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana, undefeated lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez, 9-0 (7), will step back into the ring for his third bout this year (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT).

 

It’s a fairly quick ring return, as he just fought two months ago in New York City. However he picked up a first round knockout in that bout, so he was more than ready to return to duty as soon as possible.

 

In May, in support of the main event of Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Jorge Linares at Madison Square Garden, Lopez barely broke a sweat, dispatching Vitor Freitas, now 14-2 (8), with a fight-ending right hand that left his opponent purchasing real estate on Queer Street, a minute into the fight. This time, Lopez will be looking across the ring at veteran William Silva of Saul Paulo, Brazil, who comes in at 25-1 (14).

 

In every interview over the last year or so, Lopez and his father/trainer Teofimo Lopez Sr. have boldly touted that their current run toward a world title is “the takeover.” Lopez is confident that he can indeed be the next big thing in boxing. He looks at every fight as the next step in his prediction that he will indeed be a world champion before the year is out, or, at the very least, early next year.

 

Only 20 years old (Lopez turns 21 at the end of this month), and with less than 10 fights, these are bold predictions for the young native of Davie, Florida. However most people in boxing felt Lopez, Yahoo Sports’ “Prospect of the Year” for 2017, indeed has the talent to be a champion and make a serious splash in the game.

 

Lopez, who can both box and bang in the ring, and who ends each fight with his victory back flip, was adamant, in a pre-fight interview, that he is confident, committed and ready to fulfill his promise of a takeover in boxing.

 

“Everything is going a lot better than I thought it would be, at this point. Top Rank is doing great things with me. And like I said, I will become a world champion by the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019.”

 

In regard to his preparation for this fight, his first 10-rounder, it was clear that conditioning is always number one in camp.

 

“This fight is a 10-rounder, so we gotta step it up and I know I am going to be ready for it,” said Lopez. “Just a lot of conditioning. The main thing about boxing is all conditioning. I have all the tools that I need. Conditioning is our main thing, our main goal. That is what we did in this camp. Conditioning is my main thing all the time. We brought a lot of things back that we did in the amateurs and it worked out perfectly in our last fight, a first round knockout.”

 

And while Lopez has entertained the crowds with his considerable skills, he also lit up social media after his most recent fight with his Fortnite victory dance.

 

“You never know what’s gonna come”, he said with a smile. “You never know what I’m going to bring to the table. July 14 is going to be my next one, and you never know what’s gonna come. It’s always going to be different celebrations, and July 14 is going to be my next one, so we’ll see what I have planned on that one. Nobody is entertaining the crowd the way I am. Not only do I get the job done but it’s the way that I do it. People can say I’m the hype but I back it up. I have worked too hard for this.”

 

Asked about his relationship with his father, it was clear that they share the same goals and there is no one else he’d rather have in his corner.

 

“Everything he says, I back him up. That’s my guy; that’s my right hand. I been with him 15 years in boxing, my whole life in boxing. I’m just grateful to have someone like him. We just click. We’re like one soul. He’s seen me at my best, and he’s seen me at my worst. He knows what else I can do. It’s the best thing; he always has my back,” said Lopez.

 

Asked what is in his immediate future, Lopez’s answer was clear.

 

“Any of the guys they have in my way from being a world champion, basically anyone at 135,” said Lopez. “I want all the world champions. I just want to beat the best of everyone who they say is the best. This year is the takeover. That’s what this year is: It’s the takeover.”

 

 

 

Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca and you can follow him at twitter.com/tibbs_bill.

 

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