Bob Arum: Teofimo Lopez has the ability to be an all-time great

Teofimo Lopez defends his WBO light-welterweight world title against Jamaine Ortiz tomorrow [Thursday] night at the Michelob Arena in Las Vegas. He makes the first defense of his title he won against Josh Taylor last June. 

Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs) charges into tomorrow’s headliner in a much different place than his last contest. He had come off a contentious split-decision win over Sandor Martin with his personal life in disarray due to marital problems and being estranged from his infant son. 

However, Lopez has been reunited with his child and heads into the ESPN broadcast as the champion. 

“You’ve got to remember that all of these fighters, pretty much, are young guys,” Lopez’s promoter Bob Arum said in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV. “They start as kids in the business. A lot of them don’t have the maturity that you would want. To Teo’s credit, he has grown into maturity. Now he’s a mature person, he speaks sense by and large rather than speaking nonsense which was the case before.” 

Arum’s Lopez is just 26-years-old and already a two-weight world champion having comeback from his lone loss, to George Kambosos Jr in November 2021.

“I have always thought that the future is great for Teofimo,” Arum continued. “He’s a great personality and a terrific fighter. I think Lopez has the ability to be an all-time great fighter, and now that I think that he has developed a maturity to go with ability, I think he is on the way to being a great fighter.”

Lopez goes into his bout with Ortiz as the heavy favourite.

“It always happens when you have a guy who is as loquacious as Teofimo,” Arum gleefully explained. “He soaks up the energy because of his personality you tend to forget the guy he is fighting. 

“I don’t know if the fight is 50/50, but it is certainly a close competitive fight. No question about it. But again, that is the type of test Teofimo wanted.”

Ortiz comes into tomorrow’s match-up with a record of 17-1-1 (8 KOs). It will be his first world title fight having recently moved up to 140lbs. The Worcester native has promised to knock Lopez out at the Michelob Arena.