Teofimo Lopez decides not to vacate his WBO title just before the deadline

The WBO was front and center on the boxing timeline today as the deadline approached for not only WBO & Ring Magazine junior Welterweight champion Teofimo Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs) but also for the undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney (30-0, 15 KOs). The letter sent out and made public stated that Lopez had until 9 p.m. ET to decide whether he would vacate his WBO title. Haney was also required to decide whether he would move up to 140 lbs. to fight for that vacant title or stay at lightweight. Haney requested an extension to make his decision, but the WBO disapproved the request.

News broke out within the hour from the WBO that Lopez would not be vacating his title. Lopez was adamant about retiring from the sport after his destruction of Josh Taylor at the Hulu Theater inside the Madison Square Garden just over a month ago. Lopez took it a step forward, went to ESPN, and sat down with Max Kellerman to officially announce his retirement. After the news hit social media, the WBO asked that Lopez decide his title status, which he gave via text, stating that he was genuinely retiring.

Recently, Lopez was in Puerto Rico to receive his WBO title and be a part of a festive event held in his name for such a significant accomplishment. Lopez looked happy to be there and was all about the WBO and how well he was received in Puerto Rico. The WBO then gave Lopez a final deadline of 9 p.m. ET today to decide so they can determine a new champion. Contrary to everything Lopez has said the past few weeks, he isn’t vacating, which means a fight with Arnold Barboza Jr (28-0, 10 KOs) has to be next as he is the #1 contender and has been owed a title shot for quite some time. The next few days will be interesting as Lopez is back in the mix at junior welterweight and will look to face the division's biggest challenges.