- Posted By: Chris
- November 13, 2020 @ 6:58 am
Fresh off an upset of Vasiliy Lomachenko to unify lightweight titles that announced him as a future pound-for-pound star of the sport, unbeaten Teofimo Lopez isn’t afraid to let the world know he’s feeling himself just a bit.
“Trust me, I’ve got smiles everywhere,” Lopez told “Morning Kombat” on Monday. “I’m happy. Just the fact that I can say, ‘Go f— yourself,’ or anything like that, it’s amazing.”
The 23-year-old Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) outboxed and bullied the smaller Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) in October. He’s hoping to return in March or April and said he’s in talks with New York’s Madison Square Garden, Hard Rock Stadium outside of Miami and the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas as possible venues provided at least a portion of each venue’s capacity can be filled with fans amid the pandemic.
Although Lopez sees an eventual move up to boxing’s money division of welterweight, he acknowledges there are enough big names he hasn’t yet fought at lightweight to give him motivation to keep making 135 pounds despite his body starting to outgrow it.
But whether his next big fight comes against fellow rising stars Gervonta “Tank” Davis, Devin Haney or Ryan Garcia, the native of Brooklyn, New York, has a trio of messages to share first. Actually, it’s more like a question — “what can they bring to the table for me?” And demands that you lower your price to understand there’s only one A-side.
“[Fighting them next] is a possibility, it’s just that they can’t overprice themselves,” Lopez said. “I didn’t get what I would’ve gotten had this COVID not hit. I had to take a pay cut and I’m sure Loma did as well. Yes, money applies to everything and this is our career. We are putting everything on the line and we are jeopardizing that we might have to start from ground zero again if any of us loses.
“Yes, we can make a big fight happen but everybody needs to stop thinking about the business aspects as of right now. Yes, it’s a business but Tank, you’re not [Floyd] ‘Money’ Mayweather and you will never be ‘Money’ Mayweather unless you fight oppositions and let your ego go. The same applies for Devin Haney and the same applies for Ryan Garcia. These guys are trying to be ‘Money’ Mayweather but you have to be ‘Pretty Boy’ first. You have to work your way up.”
Lopez’s reference is to Mayweather, the retired PPV king and current promoter of Davis, who built his name first in the lower weight classes under the nickname “Pretty Boy” and took on all comers to gain critical respect. Once that was established, he moved up to welterweight and called his own shots under the moniker of “Money,” a villainous alter ego who produced record-breaking numbers at the box office.
Although Davis made his own PPV debut two weeks ago by moving down to 135 pounds and knocking out four-division champion Leo Santa Cruz, Lopez took issue with Mayweather saying after that Davis would only fight Lopez if his fighter received top billing.
“They tried to put [Davis] on the pound-for-pound list. Hell no! You have a lot more to do,” Lopez said. “My dude, you have to fight bigger and better competition and the same thing applies to Devin Haney. They are fooling the critics and the casual fans making [the Santa Cruz win] seem like a bigger fight, but it’s not. These guys are supposed to win. It’s all an illusion. You need fights that are 50/50 and it’s a hit or miss fight.
“I understand [what Mayweather said] but I am going to be the A-side and that’s the problem, though. If Floyd is saying that Tank has to be the A-side to fight me, he’s f—ing crazy. He’s crazy, he’s f—ing crazy. It’s not going to happen. Tank doesn’t bring nothing to the table more than just an opponent that I could beat the shit out of and that’s about it.”
Although Lopez seemingly unified all four lightweight titles to become the division’s first undisputed champion of the four-belt era, the WBC and WBA’s proliferation of belts makes things deceiving. Technically, Lopez is the “franchise” WBC champion and the “super” WBA champion despite Haney serving as the “regular” WBC champion and Davis as the “interim” WBA champion.
Lopez takes big issue with the alphabet title soup that he calls “ridiculous” and doesn’t believe he should need to defeat Haney and Davis for portions of titles that he already won.
“If I fight Devin Haney for the WBC e-mail championship belt and I clearly beat him and probably knock his ass out, next thing you know they will talk about how Tank Davis has the regular WBA championship belt,” Lopez said. “So I’m just fighting for all these belts that I already earned the bigger and main ones? I already hit the top tier of these championship belts so now I have to go downhill to add more belts I already earned?”
Despite the comments about Davis (and, by proxy, Mayweather) Lopez seems to hold the greatest disdain for that of the 21-year-old Haney who Lopez said “would definitely be last on my list” when ranking the top lightweights in the world. Lopez didn’t hold back when bringing up Haney’s thorough yet far from scintillating decision win over a faded Yuriorkis Gamboa last Saturday.
“Devin Haney, poor performance from him, honestly. He got the job done but it wasn’t what everyone expected from him,” Lopez said. “When you have high expectations, you have to [deliver]. I’m the type of person where if you have high expectations for me, I’m definitely going to bring it to the table. I can’t say that for everyone else in my division.”
— CBS SPORTS