Unified WBA, IBF, and WBO lightweight titlist Teofimo Lopez has been outspoken for months that boxing needs its promoters and other power plays to simply make the biggest fights possible, and continued that push this week on social media.
“In order for us to bring boxing back to its fullest, we have to fight the fights that are 50/50 competition,” Lopez wrote on Twitter. “This is a PSA to all the promoters and fighters. Quit being prideful and make the fights happen! It’s not hard! Promoters stop trying to make more money than the fighters.”
Lopez (16-0, 12 KO) proved his willingness to take risks with big fights when he faced — and defeated — Vasiliy Lomachenko last October. The win has sort of strapped the rocket to Lopez, who is now arguably the face of Top Rank and ESPN boxing, or at the very least right in the mix. And he’s been extremely willing to call out everyone in boxing to take those same risks; in his division, he’s blasted WBC titlist Devin Haney and Gervonta “Tank” Davis for not seeming willing to do that, and has shown some respect to Ryan Garcia for stepping up and fighting Luke Campbell earlier this month.
The 23-year-old Lopez is now The Man at 135 and a legit young star in the sport. We’ll see if he’s as accommodating about 50/50 fights now that he’ll be the A-side almost always. This is not any type of shot at Lopez specifically, but things like this should be taken with some skepticism. It’s boxing. This is not a sport that has earned optimism from its fans. A lot of fighters say a lot of things, and so do promoters and everyone else. Yes, Lopez proved he’s willing to take the risks. But he wasn’t the shot-caller going into the Loma fight, and now he generally will be.
But I do like that Teofimo is consistently out there rallying for this. Boxing will never be a mainstream sport again, there are just too many other options and we’re simply not going to live in a world where boxing is a top spectator sport. But it absolutely can be bigger more consistently than it has been, and it starts with getting the fights people do want to see in the ring.