Teofimo Lopez is set to defend his WBA, IBF, and WBO world lightweight titles, as well as the WBC “franchise” belt, probably, against IBF mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr, likely on June 5 in Miami.
Lopez-Kambosos has kicked up an unusual amount of dust for a fight of its stature, what with Top Rank being way out-bid by Triller, a surprise move that has put Lopez and Top Rank at odds to whatever degree.
Lopez (16-0, 12 KO) sat down for a conversation with Marcos Villegas of Fight Hub TV to talk about the fight, the situation with Top Rank right now, and much more, including some unusually kind words toward Vasiliy Lomachenko.
On the fight with Kambosos
“In the United States, they may not recognize George Kambosos as much. Maybe so. But a lot of people know Teofimo, and if you don’t know, you will, God willing. The whole thing is just making the fights happen. And obviously if I didn’t make this fight with Kambosos, I have to give up the IBF title. And that defeats the purpose of being undisputed.
“I’m not gonna give up my belt, so I have to take this route at the moment. It’s more of a pit stop or a detour. I’ll go out there, do what I have to do, and then we’ll come back talking about (Haney, Garcia, and Davis) and these other fighters in my division.”
On the current situation with Top Rank
“There’s nothing really going on. Everybody’s quiet, we’re on our thing right now. Top Rank’s happy that they collected, and they say proudly that they collected $800,000 in five minutes. That’s on them. However their people want to see it. As a young fighter, I’m just trying to do what I do, do what I’m really great at, and just keep this going. It’s just a lesson we’re going through right now.”
On possibly fighting the Taylor-Ramirez winner for undisputed at 140
“I don’t see why not. Me being 135 undisputed, there’s a possibility to go up and become a mandatory for those guys. If we push on it, we can make those fights happen. It’s up to Ramirez and Taylor, as well, whether they want to go up to 147 or make the fight happen, to shut my big mouth up.”
On Vasiliy Lomachenko
“You learn from those guys. He’s a two-time Olympic gold medalist. He had 396 wins, one loss in the amateurs. Three-division world champion (as a pro). This guy is what a lot of people were saying. He was one of the top dudes, and still is! In my division, he is after me.”
[On people writing Lomachenko off] “On a serious note, that’s just part of how it is. (After) Floyd Mayweather, if you have one loss in the sport of boxing, you’re pretty much forgotten. When it comes to UFC, you can have multiple losses and people still support. Conor McGregor comes back and gets fighting again, they’ll still support him, even after him getting pounded on by Dustin (Poirier).”
[On Lomachenko-Nakatani] “I think it’s a great matchup for both of those guys. Nakatani ain’t no pushover and Loma isn’t either. The guys that I’ve defeated are now looking better. Richard Commey came back and did a phenomenal job against (Jackson Marinez), he did real good, he looked very strong. (Fighting me) probably made them better, too, in a different way. It’s a business, but you help each other when you fight those tough fights. You get better. ... It’s a great matchup. I think everybody will be tuning in for it.”
On his confidence
“A lot of people take it as being cocky. You can’t be cocky if you’re just confident. I look at ‘cocky’ as, ‘Yeah, you talk a big game but you can’t back it up.’ But ‘confident’ is when you talk a big game and you back it up, and you’re just letting them know, ‘I’m that dude. I’m that guy.’”
“I can never be content or complacent. People tell me, ‘Well, you’ve got everything.’ There’s no such thing as everything when it comes to success. Success never ends.”
On Devin Haney vs Jorge Linares
“I think it’s a fight that’s a step up for Devin. Even though Jorge Linares is a little (past his prime), it’s a step up compared to Gamboa. Linares is well-rested so we should see the best Linares fighting Devin Haney, and we’ll see what Devin Haney can bring to the table. I think it’s a good fight, it really is. It’s a good fight for the sport and may the best man win. I’m looking forward to Devin Haney winning so we can make the matchup happen.”
On Canelo vs Billy Joe Saunders
“Canelo knows the distance, already knows the range. It’s going to be a huge challenge for (Saunders) to overcome, but everything’s possible. Look what we did with Lomachenko. I’m rooting for Canelo and I’m also rooting for Billy Joe, but I gotta pick Canelo. He’s in his prime right now.”
[On Canelo against Caleb Plant later] “Caleb Plant will be a very technical fight. I would (look forward more) to that fight than David Benavidez. I know people want to see Mexico vs Mexico, that’s always a great fight, but I would love to see Canelo and Caleb Plant. Styles make fights. I think it’s definitely gonna be a great fight.”