What a night it was for Teofimo Lopez as the former undisputed lightweight world champion picked up arguably the biggest win of his career defeating the lineal junior welterweight world champion, Josh Taylor, en route to winning the WBO junior welterweight title, via a twelve-round unanimous decision, as the main event of a Top Rank card on ESPN.
Lopez has the rare trait in which it feels not unlike Conor McGregor, Lopez might just be unbeatable in his prime as an underdog but may have lapses when he is heavily favored. As Lopez’s career has been unpredictable not unlike his interviews. Fights most counted him out in such as the Vasiliy Lomachenko and Josh Taylor fights, he performed like a modern superstar, whereas when he was viewed as a huge favorite he underachieved such as his loss to George Kambosos Jnr and his split decision win over Sandor Martin last December.
After the fight, Teofimo Lopez alluded to possibly calling it a career and leaving the sport, but if that doesn’t happen let's look at what could be next.
Here are five possible opponents Lopez could face next if he does in fact decide to return to the sport of boxing….
Haney is the undisputed lightweight world champion, a fighter who defeated the man who defeated Teofimo Lopez, who is George Kambosos Jnr. Not once, but twice and both on Kambosos Jnr’s terms in Australia. Haney and Lopez is a mega-fight that brings a lot of interest to the sport of boxing as it also brings a definitive answer to who is the better of the two, as both have bragging rights as being the top lightweight at a given time. As both fighters beat Vasiliy Lomachenko now it seems that if Haney goes to junior welterweight the best option would be Teofimo Lopez.
Widely viewed currently as the most accomplished junior welterweight in the sport outside of Teofimo Lopez, who beat the lineal champion. Prograis will be fighting this weekend on DAZN against Danielito Zorrilla in a twelve-round WBC junior welterweight fight in Prograis, the hometown of New Orleans, La. Prograis lost a split decision against Josh Taylor but has recently defeated Jose “Chon” Zepeda to become a two-time world champion. Prograis is struggling to find willing opponents and if Teofimo Lopez wants to continue his trajectory moving towards a hall-of-fame career a bout against Prograis would be a step in the right direction.
Though not as feasible more than likely, a fight of grandeur would be seeing the most profitable fighter in the lower weights, Gervonta “Tank” Davis against Teofimo Lopez as it pits two of the biggest punchers at/or around the same weight class against each other. Not unlike the Haney fight, Davis is one of the best fighters of this era, and we hope to see him against the biggest names in the sport. Hopefully, promotional lines could be crossed to make a super fight between the two fighters.
The former WBC and WBO junior welterweight unified world champion, Jose Ramirez sat ringside on Saturday night and was eager to say what he wants next. Also, Ramirez’s manager, Rick Mirigian told ProBox TV News that Ramirez is on the last fight of his Top Rank deal, which could make for an incentive for a big fight to be made. If Lopez wants to return in late summer, Ramirez might be a prime candidate as Lopez seems to have made the December Heisman night his annual appearance.
Arnold Barboza Jr
Barboza Jr never gets love on these lists, but he should. Barboza Jr seemingly was set to fight Teofimo Lopez prior to Jose Pedraza's fight that turned into the Sandor Martin bout, but it never happened. Barboza Jr seems frustrated and Teofimo Lopez’s father, Junior Lopez, or as he is accredited as Teofimo Lopez Sr., has referred to Barboza Jr as a ‘tune-up fight’ on The Fighters Voice podcast, hosted by Richard Ortiz. Barboza Jr is out of his contract, per his manager, Rick Mirigian, in August, so if Barboza Jr were to resign from Top Rank would expect a Teofimo Lopez fight. So, though Barboza Jr isn’t the front-runner, if things work out the right way he could land the fight.