The lightweight unification battle between pound-for-pound No.1 Vasiliy Lomachenko and Honduran-American hotshot Teofimo Lopez doesn’t really need too much promotion.
It pits a contemporary great against a gifted, yet outspoken, young fighter who may prove he belongs in that company in the years to come.
The 23-year-old Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) carries as much self-belief as he does power, illustrated by his chilling second round stoppage of the usually hardy Richard Commey in December.
A natural and heavy-handed 135-pounder, Lopez believes the brilliant Lomachenko is just part of his story and this eagerly-awaited fight won’t define what he anticipates to be a spectacular career.
“Personally, I don’t like the guy and I don’t like the way he carries himself,” Lopez told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports. “He’s arrogant. I don’t want to promote him by even saying his name. Every interview I do, or have done for a long time, that’s the guy everyone asks me about. His name doesn’t carry my career, and after this fight, I don’t want to hear about him or talk about him again.
“I’m not even in my prime yet. I haven’t started that rise, believe me when I tell you. I have a lot more to come on this journey. He’s one step along the way, but there’s a lot more to come after this. Trust me on that one. There’s a lot more to come.
“Man, I’m still growing,” added Lopez. “I’m not close to where I’m going to be. My body is maturing, but what do they say, the average man keeps growing until he’s 26? I’m accomplishing a lot at a young age, but I’m nowhere near my best.
“I’m never satisfied. I always want more and better challenges. I want to push myself. I think that’s why I have been so successful, because I haven’t just taken the slow road or the easy path. I have worked to get where I am but I know the kind of talent I am, and I’m nowhere near where I’ll eventually get to.”
Main image: Teofimo Lopez has that star quality. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank.