More people doubted than believed. The majority of boxing people seemed to feel that Josh Taylor, rightful unified junior welterweight champion, would beat Teofimo Lopez last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York.
Those people were wrong.
The 25-year-old Lopez dominated the 32-year-old Taylor from the fifth round on and took a well-earned unanimous decision to claim Taylor’s WBO 140 lb. belt– the last of the four belts the native of Scotland earned, but lost via boxing politics.
Saturday’s triumph marked a full turnaround in Lopez’s career, which reached its heights with his upset of unified lightweight champ Vasiliy Lomachenko in October, 2020 and reached its depths when he barely got by spoiler Sandor Martin last December and was caught on ESPN cameras forlorn, asking his people if he “still had it.” In between, the Brooklynite lost his 3 lightweight belts to George Kambosos, moved up in weight, delivered an uneven performance against Pedro Camp, and went through a world of personal dramas.
Clearly, though, his troubles did not give him a lesson in humility. Right after Saturday’s big win, the Teofimo of old reemerged, as vainglorious as ever.
“25 years young, 7-time world champion, 2-time lineal world champion, 2-divisional world champion,” Lopez told FightHub TV at ringside. “I mean, two Hall of Fame careers in one, at just 25. You can’t tell me I’m not great. You can’t tell me that I’m not the double-greatest since Muhammad Ali. This is what I do. This is what I do best. Now, just to stir it up, I might retire after this fight…Retirement. I’m kind of tired. I’m not getting paid enough. A million dollars? Get the fuck out of here.”
Not too long after that, Lopez would double (and triple) down on this line of thought.
“The ONLY way you get Teo back is a nine-figure contract deal because I’ve made ESPN over a $100M,” Teofimo said on the Porter Way Podcast.
“I’m still getting paid a million dollars to fight while all these other fighters have not even done a quarter of what I’ve done and accomplished in the sport; they’re getting eight, 10, 12, 15 million dollars.
“So I’m the black sheep of the industry, and they’re really hurting me on that end. I really want to fix the sport of the boxing world and the corruption that’s going on.
“The fact that they want us in a slave kind of situation where it’s control and it’s like we are the bosses, we’re the ones that people want to come and see fight.
“I know that if I keep fighting, they’re just going to keep giving me pennies when I’m worth more than that. I’m worth eight, nine figures, and I’ve been knowing that, and it’s like enough is enough.
If fans remember, Lopez went on an “I’m a legend” tirade after the Lomachenko fight as well, comparing himself to some of the sport’s biggest legends and vowing to fix boxing for future generations.
He would them move on to the pursuit of more money, which led to a scheme to hold out on his first unified lightweight title defense and force a purse bid to generate a larger payday. The ploy succeeded, but it put his career in the hands of incompetent upstart promotional company, Triller, which proved it couldn’t handle a real boxing match of that magnitude and eventually defaulted on their purse bid. All in all, Lopez’s miscalculation cost him more than a year of prime career time and it would eventually lead to his loss to Kambosos, the first of his career at the absolute worst time for a setback.
Lopez is back on top now. But if he makes all of the same mistakes that he made before, he could be in for another fall sooner rather than later.