The kid stole the show, arguably, on July 14, when he downed vet William Silva on ESPN.
Teofimo Lopez, the way he got the W, with such a flair and zest, it fit well with the spirit of the location, which was New Orleans.
N.O. was home base for Regis Prograis, the headliner, and he sure did stand and deliver and impress in his outing against Juan Jose Velasco.
But the buzz war, that was probably won by Lopez, age 20, who fights under the Top Rank banner. He busted his right hand in round one, he told us on the latest edition of TALKBOX from Everlast, but that didn’t keep him from stepping on that gas and rolling over Silva in the sixth.
“Everything I set out to do, I will do. I said I’ll take over, and I did that,” Lopez told us. “And it’s not even my home town, imagine! Every card they put me on, from this point forward, is The Takeover!”
Sounds ominous, and thrilling.
“The Takeover.” I wonder, has he locked down that URL, yet? He is working on that, he said, probably not jokingly.
For those that don’t know, Lopez grew up in Brooklyn, and moved to Florida with his fam at age six. He told us he’s looking forward to his own homecoming, of sorts, when he next gloves up, after his hand heals post-surgery. That will maybe come in December, in Manhattan, if fate cooperates.
“After I dropped Silva, when he got back up, I fractured my right hand,” Lopez said. “I hit the top of his head. It was just a bad shot at the wrong time. Wrong placement. I had to fight like that for five more rounds. I just had surgery this past Friday, in L.A. They told me I can start using my right hand in October, and can fight again in November or December.”
I was quite curious the level of pain he was feeling. Did he ponder quitting? We on the sideline sometimes are flippant about what we think fighters should do, and boxers get hammered for quitting. But this is for certain: people have different levels of tolerance for pain, and what is grounds for no mas-ing for one is far from that for another.
Lopez told me that he knew he didn’t want to show anyone that he was hurting. He didn’t even want to tell his pop, his trainer. Dad asked him after round two why he wasn’t using the right and he hesitated, because he “didn’t want to worry him.”
He fessed up, “I think I broke it,” and dad told him to keep using it. “You gotta use it,” said dad, more in trainer mode than dad mode. Then his dad told the kid to finish things up, too many rounds were progressing, and the boxer complied.
Lopez also touched on some hijinks he had a hand in on Saturday. A prospect signed to Floyd Mayweather, Rolando Romero, has been beefing with Ryan Garcia, the Golden Boy stallion. Lopez helped fan the flames, and tried to get Romero and Garcia, on site at Hard Rock in Vegas, antagonizing each other. He said he just wanted to liven up the show, and “they started cursing each other out, and security came.”
More info: Lopez said Top Rank will have a Madison Square Garden show in December, and he’d love to put his stamp on that event.
And he does have a stamp; Lopez told us that he thinks Vasyl Lomachenko is a bit overrated and suggested someone who could prove that point.
“Me,” he said, in perhaps two years or so.
He also cut me no slack when I said that I have no bad love for Felix Verdejo, and don’t really understand some of that vitriol that is out there regarding the Puerto Rican, from people who seem pissed off that Felix hasn’t panned out as the prospect that many predicted.