Bob Arum targeting Ramirez or Barboza as Teofimo Lopez's December targeted return

Bob Arum has laid out his plans and is hoping to lure WBO world super-lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez back into the ring despite Lopez’s insistence that he has indeed retired.

Lopez, former unified lightweight champion and current WBO 140lbs titleholder, captured the crown in June following an impressive and dominant showing against then-titleholder Josh Taylor.

However, Arum is trying to tempt Lopez into returning to the ring in December on the same night college football’s Heisman Trophy is awarded.

Arum confirmed that Lopez is still thinking things through regarding his future within the sport. If Lopez is to return, Jose Ramirez and Arnold Barboza Jr would be the leading contenders to secure themselves the opportunity to face Lopez this upcoming December.

“I talked to Teofimo,” Arum told He’s gotta get his head into it. We want him to definitely fight this year, maybe on Heisman night. And the logical opponents would be either Ramirez or Barboza, and we’ll see which one makes the most sense.”

Securing a contest between Lopez and Ramirez would seem on paper to be logically straightforward, considering both fighters are under contract to Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. Ramirez, who was previously WBC and WBO world super-lightweight champion, is on a two-fight winning streak following his sole defeat to Josh Taylor. The pair contested the undisputed super-lightweight world championship in 2021, with Taylor securing a unanimous decision.

Barboza, meanwhile, would be slightly more difficult due to Barboza’s current free agent status, having previously signed with Top Rank before his exit last month.

Arum, however has dismissed this issue, saying that he has had conversations with Barboza personally.

“Barboza called me yesterday, with his father, for me to make that fight,” Arum said. “I would assume that I can make it.”

“I wouldn’t say he’s (Barboza) back into the (Top Rank) fold,” Arum continued. “Again, there is no animosity. When somebody’s contract runs out, it’s like any sport, he’s a free agent, he looks for the best deal possible. And Barboza was no different. When he fought under the Top Rank banner, he was no trouble, and he was always available, and he acquitted himself well.”