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Teofimo Lopez manager David McWater thinks fighter can stay at 135, expects return no later than March 2021

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“Who next?” and “When?” are big questions for Teofimo Lopez now.

Vasiliy Lomachenko v Teofimo Lopez Jr Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

Americans are not good at staying in the moment, sitting with the feelings that are there right now. Instead, we harp on the past, and also speculate on the future.

Boxing fans — and, yes, we media — can be pretty horrid in this regard.

I’m seeing it now, how people in the wake of that marvelous performance by Teofimo Lopez are choosing to fixate on their stated perception that one of the scorecards was way too wide in the favor of the winner. Yes, it’s almost bizarre, and it is indeed more than a bit sad how much attention is being directed on the viable 119-109 card turned in by Julie Lederman at the Bubble in Las Vegas.

More understandable and acceptable is the discussion of what is next for the 23-year-old Lopez, who was born in Brooklyn, spent time in Florida, and was living in Las Vegas for a spell before finding a chill space in Arkansas.

In my personal opinion it would have been more righteous if more time and attention was placed on the majesty of what Lopez did in that ring Oct. 17. But we are who we are, as a collective, and there has to be some level of acceptance at some of these cultural idiosyncrasies.

So I will play along.

Many folks are assuming that Teofimo is done with lightweight, that his next fight will take place at junior welterweight. Hey, he said this himself months ago, that he’s outgrowing lightweight, and the fight versus Loma will be his adios tango at lightweight.

Not so fast, says manager David McWater.

“Teofimo says a lot of stuff,” McWater told me on Monday, still on a high from what he saw his kid do at the MGM.

OK then, so maybe a Lomachenko rematch is on the table? I told McWater that a July 2021 Lopez-Loma rematch at a fully open Madison Square Garden would be tantalizing to me.

“I can’t imagine a rematch,” McWater answered. “Older guy never wins a rematch. If they fight again Teofimo would hurt him badly!”

Plus, he added, “I don’t think Loma brings enough viewers to the table to pay both guys.”

But he made clear that Lopez, in his mind, has not out-grown lightweight, so that means the span of options for his next is that much wider.

“He was 134.4 the morning of the weigh in and had three liters of water and three meals the day before,” McWater continued. “With Perfecting Athletes (a South Florida-based outfit specializing in helping fighters make weight safely) on our side, it’s a whole different game. We might move up but my guess is the next fight is a defense.”

McWater says Team Lopez are sitting and deeply breathing that sweet air, as the buzz of the win continues to waft. No discussions with promoter Bob Arum, not even preliminary ones, have occurred.

“For me, I would want to move up if we got the winner of the Jose Ramirez-Josh Taylor fight. Other than that, I think more exciting fights are at 135.”

A press release went out Monday, the gist of it being that the winner of the Oct. 31 Lee Selby-George Kambosos fight would be ranked No. 1 by the IBF at 135, and first in line to meet IBF champ Lopez.

“Yeah, I could see us fighting Selby or Kambosos,” McWater said. “They both have big fan bases in their countries.”

“Who” will be much discussed moving forward. And McWater will rightfully look left, right, center before deciding what’s best for the kid and his career. What about “when,” though?

“I can tell you exactly what he would say: ‘I’m a fighter I need to fight,’” McWater said. “He’s not going to take long layoffs if he can help it. March 2021 at the latest!”