When Teofimo Lopez walked by means of the ropes again in November (*140*) was the ruler of the lightweights and the most effective pound-for-pound boxers on the planet following an upset victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Nine months later, Lopez entered the ring with uncertainty swirling round him. After the surprising defeat to George Kambosos Jr. in that battle, how would the 25-year-old reply? Is (*140*) nonetheless the most effective fighters on the planet following his first professional defeat? Perhaps most significantly, is (*140*) prepared for the perfect opponents at a new weight division at junior welterweight?
In his 140-pound debut, Lopez scored a seventh-round TKO victory over Pedro Campa on Saturday in Las Vegas but delivered few solutions on his readiness to problem for a world title in that weight class.
Really, it was all the time going to be powerful to get actual solutions contemplating Campa’s degree. The Mexican journeyman, preventing for the primary time exterior of his residence nation, was chosen for precisely that motive, in fact. Top Rank, Lopez’s promoter, wished to seize a confidence-building victory for Lopez following a tumultuous yr.
But if Lopez (17-2, 12 KOs) was seeking to make some noise, whether or not it was by way of a highlight-reel KO or a fast destruction of Campa, (*140*) failed to do this. And actually, it is arduous to examine Top Rank throwing Lopez in with an elite fighter in his subsequent outing, which is deliberate for Dec. 10 in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Lopez, 25, referred to as out boxers on the highest degree like Josh Taylor, Regis Prograis and Jose Zepeda, but they do not determine to be out there in December. Unified champion Taylor is more likely to meet Jack Catterall in a Nov. 26 rematch, whereas Prograis and Zepeda are lined up for a battle in opposition to each other for the vacant WBC title this fall.
Arnold Barboza Jr., who was ringside on Saturday, is ESPN’s No. 7 junior welterweight and would supply a real litmus take a look at for Lopez in December. So would Jose Pedraza, who should first defeat Richard Commey on Aug. 27 (ESPN).
If Lopez can return to spectacular kind in opposition to a fighter on that degree, (*140*)’ll show (*140*)’s prepared for the perfect at 140 kilos, a weight class out of the blue brimming with expertise.
Besides the aforementioned, there’s additionally former champion Jose Ramirez, who handed up on a title bout with Zepeda resulting from his October wedding ceremony, and Subriel Matias, the volume-punching Puerto Rican who may quickly vie for a title.
For now, Lopez got here by means of with the victory and with relative ease. It wasn’t obligatory for his comeback to be accomplished in a single evening, and Top Rank is among the many most affected person within the sport with regards to reclamation tasks.
He busted up Campa at will and was by no means in any actual hazard. The actual take a look at ought to come up in his December bout, earlier than “The Takeback” reaches its closing chapter with a title shot in 2023.