Undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez illustrated he belongs at the pinnacle of world boxing with his decisive points win over Vasiliy Lomachenko at the weekend.
Lomachenko was widely considered the premier fighter in the sport, but the 23-year-old Lopez defeated him with relative ease. With no rematch clause, Lopez now has plenty of options with the fighter himself teasing a move to 140lbs.
Top rank chief Bob Arum, who promotes Lopez and Lomachenko, says a rematch remains a possibility when Covid-19 restrictions ease and fans are allowed to attend in significant numbers.
A swift move to 140lbs comes with complications with all the belts tied up through most of 2021 with unified champions Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez set to meet, and the winner duty bound to face WBO No.1 contender Jack Catterall.
“If you do a rematch, you want to do it after this Covid is over, where people are vaccinated so we could monetize things and we have a gate and everything,” Arum told Steve Kim of ESPN.com.
“If he goes to 140, he has a problem because obviously he wants to fight for a title and that’s taken up for the first half of next year. And then the winner of that fight has an obligation to fight Catterall. So you’re looking for, at best, the end of next year for him to fight for a 140lbs title.”
Yet enticing fights remain at 135 for Lopez in the form of Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney who currently have bouts scheduled against Luke Campbell and Yuriorkis Gamboa respectively.
“Those would be attractive fights,” added Arum. “They have other promoters, Haney and Garcia, but I’m sure that they would be appropriate challengers for Teofimo. But again, I haven’t discussed it with him.
“He proved that he wasn’t just a one-punch slugger [against Lomachenko], but was also an astute boxer, and had command of the ring. He showed some strengths we hadn’t seen before because I guess he didn’t have to show them. He had just gone out and knocked out his opponents.”
Main image: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.