Teofimo Lopez Jr. seeking title unification with Isaac Cruz

Teofimo Lopez Jr. scored a unanimous decision win against Steve Claggett and defended his WBO junior welterweight title on Saturday night in Miami.

Many expected a stoppage win by Lopez, but the durable Canadian contender Claggett fought until the 12th round for the first time in his career, winning only one round on the three scorecards as Lopez landed a career-high 315 punches.

“What a fight. Today wasn't about skills – it was about will and strength,” Lopez said during his post-fight press conference.

“I knew the type of fighter I was fighting. He's a triathlon athlete. His conditioning was impeccable. He's never been 12 rounds before, so we knew we had to break him down. And me with asthma, I'm grateful.

“I like tough fights. Tough fights bring the best out of me. I don't care how my face looks. Fuck it. It's a fight. I’m 26. I'm still learning in this game, and that's what I like.

“I don’t care how I look. As long as my hand gets raised at the end of it all. I needed this a lot. [Top Rank founder] Bob [Arum] said I did well. He didn’t look too happy. Fuck it. I’m your only last star available, and that's it. You just got to deal with it. I am the best. Forget the rest.”

Lopez is now 5-0 at 140 pounds, but he hasn’t scored a stoppage in any of the fights.

The 140-pound division features the likes of Devin Haney, Isaac Cruz, Liam Paro, Jose Ramirez, Jack Catterall, Regis Prograis, Alberto Puello, Gary Antuanne Rusell, Rolando “Rolly” Romero, Richardson Hitchins, Sandor Martin, Dalton Smith and former undisputed champion Josh Taylor, whom Lopez beat last year.

From the group – in addition to fights against lightweight Gervonta “Tank” Davis and welterweight Terence Crawford – Lopez would like to next face WBA titlist “Pitbull” Cruz.

"I'm there, man. Tank, whatever the case is. They haven't faced fighters like [Claggett] in a long time,” said Lopez.

“Fuck yeah, I’m ready for [Cruz]. I'm excited. Now I know how to face fighters like that even better. ... Nobody is going to fight like Steve Claggett. There’s only one fighter that is going to fight like him a little bit, and he’s smaller – and that’s Pitbull Cruz. Other than that, no other fighter fights that way at all. They all box.”

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at] or via

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