Teofimo Lopez debuted in November of 2016 on the Manny Pacquiao versus Jessie Vargas pay-per-view event at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Dawning the same exact outfit as his father, Lopez and his father of the same name, but best known as Junior Lopez, took to the podium after the fight when most of the fighters from the main card didn’t show up to a very forgettable press conference. Bob Arum, the CEO of Top Rank Inc., joked with him and give him advice about keeping his opponent down.
Lopez and his father were loud. Many doubted the big claims they had, but in the end, they were vindicated - as Lopez's star shined bright, but in 2023, he is looking to maintain the momentum his career once had at the mere age of 25 years old.
Lopez will face Josh Taylor for the WBO junior welterweight world title on June 10th, live from the The Theater, at Madison Square Garden, live on ESPN, here are the career-defining moments of Teofimo Lopez.
Against All Odds To The Takeover
Teofimo Lopez would tell anyone and everyone that the system was against him. Entering the pro ranks, Lopez, had a feud with amateur rival and USA Boxing Olympian, Karlos Balderas, the man, who he felt took his spot in the Olympics representing the United States.
The moniker ‘Against All Odds’, was a saying that was used as a talking point as it was both father and son taking on the world.
It wasn’t until Lopez stopped William Silva that people seemed to take notice, and then during the Vasyl Lomachenko versus Jose Pedraza press conference - Lopez made his new moniker, explaining ‘he was there to take over.’ The unapologetic Lopez was so bold with his claim, Lomachenko, a fighter he had called out, hunched over and looked at Lopez.
This was followed by a first-round knockout of Mason Menard, who on paper, was the toughest test of Lopez’s career. The performance saw Lopez elevate from an undercard attraction to a notable name featured higher on the bill of the card as he knocked out Diego Magdaleno, after a lot of trash talk prior to the fight - Lopez got Magdaleno's brother, Jessie, upset when they felt he was disrespectful after the knockout.
Lopez at this time would get a knockout win, and follow it up with a backflip after. After stopping Magadaleno, Teofimo Lopez arrived. Lopez was a star.
First World Title Win
The untold story is the chaos outside of the ring for Lopez. Lopez has been very private about this, something that most should respect, but his fight with Masayoshi Nakatani was one of the worst of his career, this occurred while Lopez was getting married during this time.
In December of 2019, Lopez would face Richard Commey, the IBF lightweight world champion. After winning the first round, his trademark power of Lopez landed and knocked out Commey in the second round. Lopez, who despite some of the biggest achievements for a fighter in recent memory, was constantly doubted, even heading into this fight, and because of that, this win solidified a lot of his prior achievements as he was now a world champion.
After the bout, Teofimo Lopez called out Vasiliy Lomachenko who held the other three widely recognized world titles in the division. This was also muddied a bit as Lomachenko held the WBC ‘franchise’ lightweight world title, and Devin Haney was elevated to the WBC lightweight world champion - meaning we had two champions in that division, causing a form of a dispute over who was the true world champion of the division.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a lot of dismay. Top Rank Inc. ran a series of shows in the Top Rank Bubble, none bigger than Vasiliy Lomachenko versus Teofimo Lopez - a mega-fight airing on ESPN in the fall of a year that essentially was a wash for everyone.
The fight was a battle of two spiritual opposites. Lomachenko, humble with a lot of amateur achievements, was looking for his professional career to mirror his amateur career. Lopez, is a cocky, brash, and outspoken fighter. The two were the opposite of each other in every way.
Lopez shined in the behind-the-scenes video content, along with his unique training footage featuring his father throwing a football to him to work on timing and reflexes. During this time, Joey Gamache, a former fighter turned trainer, worked with Lopez.
Lopez would win a close fight, and become a legend overnight. The story of the fight was simple - Lomachenko simply didn’t punch for the first half of the fight and tried to come on too late. Not unlike the flaw, Lomachenko showed in the Haney fight - Lomachenko would lose the twelfth and final round, a costly mistake that has become a trend.
After the fight, many were stunned, but Lopez was now a Capital G Guy in the sport of boxing.
2021 was beyond weird for Lopez. At the highest point of his career with his maximum earning potential ahead of him - Lopez and the number-one contender to his IBF lightweight title, George Kambosos Jnr., engaged a purse bid that saw a relatively unknown, Triller outbid all the other promoters. Triller had promoted a Mike Tyson versus Roy Jones Jr. pay-per-view event, but outside of that - was very unknown in the industry. The winning bid was 6 million dollars.
After the purse bid, Lopez expressed frustration with his promoter, Top Rank Inc., and promoted Triller often. His fight kept getting rescheduled with Kambosos Jnr. Originally set for June 2021, Lopez was unable to compete, and the fight was pushed back. Inevitably, Triller defaulted on their ability to produce the fight and Matchroom Boxing took over and made the fight happen quickly, in the final months of 2021.
The result was jarring. Kambosos Jnr dropped Teofimo Lopez in the first round and pulled off an improbable upset. All of the power Lopez once had was gone. He no longer held all the chips at the lightweight division, and a little over one year to the date of his best memory in the sport of boxing, Lopez had the worst moment in the sport when he looked ill-prepared physically and mentally for the fight he was in.
The Great Unknown
Since the Kambosos Jnr fight, Lopez has returned at junior welterweight to stop Pedro Campa, and to win a close split-decision win against Sandor Martin. That said, the trademark power has not been there in the junior welterweight division.
Lopez has the ability of a transcendent, great fighter, but the performances have not been what we expected.
Now approaching his fourth fight in his new weight class (third in recent memory, with a fight in his developmental days sprinkled in) of junior welterweight, Teofimo Lopez fights the toughest challenge of his career against Josh Taylor, another fighter who has some questions to answer. Taylor though is the biggest fighter Lopez has ever faced, and now we will truly find out where Lopez stands in the division, two-and-a-half years after the biggest win of his career.