Things are starting to straighten out in the junior welterweight division as late Saturday night, the WBO approved their champion Teofimo Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs) to be elevated to “Super Champion” in that division. It’s something that Team Lopez requested as they insisted on not giving the #1 contender Arnold Barboza Jr. (28-0, 10 KOs) a shot at the title.
With this distinction, Lopez is not required to fulfill any mandatories for up to 18 months, and the top two contenders can determine the WBO regular title if they choose to go that route. In this case, that’s Barboza Jr. and Jose Ramirez (28-1, 18 KOs). The interesting thing is that according to a report by Boxing Scene, the IBF has ordered a purse bid for an eliminator fight between Barboza Jr. and Ramirez, which is set for September 19th at noon Eastern. With this recent news on Lopez, many will wonder if Top Rank will go with a potential soon-to-be-ordered WBO fight for the title between Barboza Jr. and Ramirez.
WBO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP COMMITTEE RESOLUTION In the Matter of Jr. Welterweight Champion Teofimo Lopezhttps://t.co/atZAHkd7C5— WBO (@WorldBoxingOrg) September 10, 2023
In the meantime, Lopez and Top Rank are working on scheduling a fight for him on Heisman night in December, which has become a big night for the promotional company and ESPN. Lopez’s options against the other champions are slim as they will all be in fights come the fall. It looks as though Lopez will be searching for either a big-name opponent for December or someone with a decent enough name to sell the card. One fight that would draw big numbers would be against Ryan Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs). It’s a fight that both Oscar De La Hoya and Bob Arum have spoken about in the past, and it would be a huge fight to finish the year.
Whatever Lopez decides to do, he would have earned it, as his performance in June against Josh Taylor was a special one, especially since many counted him out. Lopez is now the WBO super champion, so it’ll be interesting to see his next moves when it comes to his opponent in December and beyond.