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Who wins Josh Taylor vs Teofimo Lopez? Predictions and preview

We’ve got our picks for all the weekend’s biggest fights, including Taylor vs Lopez and Munguia vs Derevyanchenko.

Who wins Josh Taylor vs Teofimo Lopez on Saturday?
Who wins Josh Taylor vs Teofimo Lopez on Saturday?
Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Josh Taylor and Teofimo Lopez are headlining this weekend in boxing, but we’ve also got Jaime Munguia vs Sergiy Derevyanchenko and a couple more notable fights on Saturday.

Who wins this week’s action? We’ve got our picks in.

Who wins Josh Taylor vs Teofimo Lopez?

Scott Christ (50-26)

From build-up to in-ring, I think Josh Taylor is a nightmare for Teofimo Lopez. In the build, exactly what I expected would happen has happened: Taylor is all wrong for Lopez psychologically. He’s not trying to get under Teofimo’s skin or lead a lot of trash talk, he is dismissing him. Taylor is, to be blunt, treating Teofimo like someone he doesn’t take seriously. Taylor has basically looked at The Teofimos repeatedly and said, in the words of Succession the Television Program from HBO, “You are not serious figures.”

Lopez’s best chance is that Taylor is badly drained making weight, but I just don’t think Taylor would have stuck at 140 if he wasn’t completely sure he’d corrected the issue he had when we last saw him fight. Lopez’s second best chance is a big power shot against a potentially rusty Taylor. If Taylor’s in good shape physically and doesn’t get caught cold with something big in the first half or so, I just can’t see Teofimo winning here. He hasn’t looked sharp in three straight fights now. He’s very obviously not been in the best frame of mind through all of those, either. And even if he were in a solid mental place, how good is Teofimo at 140, really?

Teofimo absolutely can win this fight, but even though I’m a gambling sort and love making iffy picks, the logic at hand here is so drastically against Lopez for so many reasons that I just can’t pick against Taylor. And I think he stops him late. Taylor TKO-10

Wil Esco (58-18)

I’m convinced there’s something wrong with Teofimo Lopez and it’s beyond his boxing. I’ve said it a lot in the comments section over the years, but I’ve observed a stark change in him ever since the loss to George Kambosos. And it’s not even that he wasn’t loud and brash before that fight, but the simplest way I can put it is that he just makes a lot less sense now whenever he speaks publicly.

In this line of work I’ve spent a lot of time, maybe too much time, wading through content and interviews and such, and have heard enough of Teo in the past couple of years for me to be convinced that he’s not the same person he once was. He’s all over the place. And I’m not even trying to credit Kambosos with putting some sort of a life-changing beating on Lopez or anything, but I think there was something of a perfect storm of internal and external factors which really fractured Lopez beyond the physical.

We all know about the physical trauma he suffered in that fight that apparently had his life in danger, but I think the loss itself, the blow to his ego, the way he felt he was conspired against, and the turmoil of his personal life all came together at one time to put a serious crack in his psyche.

Teo openly questioned his own ability in front of the world, then later tries to play it off as some sort of Art of War marketing tactic. He’s all over the place. He criticized fighters for callously saying they wanted to hospitalize him after he nearly lost his life in the ring, and then says he wants to kill Taylor in this fight. He’s all over the place. Taylor just recently walked out of a media interview with him because he’s still all over the place.

It’s not that I don’t think Teo can fight, but I have serious questions about his ability to think clearly. Taylor TKO-10

John Hansen (53-23)

The last time Teofimo Lopez fought, he was openly questioning whether he still had it or not. Six weeks ago, he was lashing out at ESPN, Top Rank, and “All these m*****f***ers [that] dick ride and they suck dick.” This week, he’s likened himself to the biblical Job over losing an expensive car, among other things, and openly speculated about aiming for a death he hopes is meaningful and memorable.

The guy is an amazing fighter when he’s at his best. But this young man is very clearly not at his best. I hope he gets back there again soon, or at least finds peace and stability. There’s no way to confidently expect the best of him, especially against a proven world champion like Josh Taylor. Taylor obviously had his struggles with weight, focus, and stamina against Jack Catterall, and it’s significant that he’s still just so obviously the surer thing in this matchup. Taylor UD-12

Patrick Stumberg (58-18)

Taylor’s deadpan response of “An Italian Scotsman? That doesn’t making any f***in’ sense” after Teo tried and failed to mimic his accent is sufficient grounds to earn my vote, but I guess I’ll put in some actual effort.

If I had to trust one of these two to make the necessary adjustments after a rubbish performance, it would be Taylor. He talked some unjustified smack about how he actually deserved the win, sure, but Teofimo Lopez comes off as genuinely delusional and surrounded by enablers. Taylor can theoretically fix a bad weight cut and a bad game plan; I’m not convinced Lopez is aware that he needs to fix anything, and what appears to be a nightmarish personal life can’t be helping.

That’s a lot of speculation, sure, but Taylor’s body of work also blows Teofimo’s out of the water. Beating Regis Prograis and Jose Ramirez, both of whom would treat Teofimo’s face the way Animal treats his drum kit, strikes me as more impressive than taking seven rounds from a one-armed Lomachenko. Taylor has beaten bigger, more skilled, and scarier men than Lopez, who’ll find himself outclassed from bell to bell. Taylor UD-12

Who wins Munguia vs Derevyanchenko?

Scott Christ (50-26)

I like this fight. I hoped that Golden Boy would stop booking Munguia in absolute trash fights, and then I hoped they would stop booking him head-to-head against better fights. They got him a decent one and still managed to find a date where basically nobody is going to pay attention to Munguia. Whoopsy-daisy!

I’m not sold on Munguia as a 168 lber — he did 165 against “Kilrain” Kelly and looked sluggish before he turned on the light against a vastly inferior opponent, and while Derevyanchenko is also not naturally a super middle, he’s a lot more technically sound than Kelly or other recent foes. It’s the first time since Liam Smith that I’ve had doubts going into a Munguia fight, and he did great against Liam Smith. Five years ago.

Derevyanchenko looked shopworn against Adames last year, but not super washed or anything. He’s dangerous here, but I’m going with the younger, fresher fighter. I expect Derevyanchenko to have plenty of moments, maybe even score a knockdown, but Munguia will do enough to shade it with the judges. Munguia UD-12

Wil Esco (58-18)

In my estimation the biggest thing going into this fight should be the fact that Jaime Munguia is still a young, fresh 26-year-old fighter who’s been positioned carefully, while Sergiy Derevyanchenko is over a decade older and has gone through the fire. Derevyanchenko may have rebounded from a three fight losing streak to take a decision of Joshua Conley last summer, but Munguia will be a decent step up from that level of competition.

Ultimately I just believe Munguia will be able carry the pace of this fight more than Derevyanchenko, and I think that’ll amount to a points win on the cards over the distance. With a win, let’s see where Munguia goes from here. Munguia UD-12

John Hansen (53-23)

I’m probably an idiot, but I’m picking the upset here. Nobody has ever stopped Derevyanchenko, not even Golovkin or Charlo. He can hang in a slugfest, and Munguia can be, and has been, outboxed before. Yes, Derevyanchenko is 37, but he had an argument in the Carlos Adames fight, which was less than a year ago, and I’d almost certainly pick Adames over Munguia head-to-head at middleweight right now. He looked a little diminished in that Adames fight, but I don’t think he’s quite fork-ready yet.

Derevyanchenko is just as likely to catch a defensively flawed Munguia with a fight-ending shot as he is to eat one himself. I think he’s more likely to do the work that wins rounds consistently, rather than looking for the one-shot finish as Munguia has done in the past. I’m fully prepared to come out like a fool if Munguia looks fresh and springy without a cut to 160, Derevyanchenko looks older, slower, and fully ready for retirement, and we get a fourth or fifth round stoppage for the younger man. But let’s be bold and finally give the hard luck guy his big win. Derevyanchenko MD-12

Patrick Stumberg (58-18)

Derevyanchenko is easily Munguia’s toughest opponent to date, sure, but stylistically, this kind of feels like a remix of Munguia’s fight with Liam Smith. Though a much more technically adept boxer than Munguia, I just don’t see Derevyanchenko’s standard approach working; he’s not so much sharper than Munguia on the inside that he can overcome his opponent’s youth, power, durability, and size. Unless you’re an absolute threshing machine in the pocket, you’re going to have to spoil or outmaneuver Munguia, and Derevyanchenko doesn’t seem built for that.

I’d love to be wrong, of course. After that tough loss to Gennadiy Golovkin, Derevyanchenko deserves a lucky break, and it would be immensely satisfying to see Golden Boy punished for so badly mishandling Munguia’s career. Fingers crossed that Derevyanchenko pulls it off, but odds are he banks a few rounds in a chippy first half before Munguia’s sheer physicality takes over. Munguia UD-12

Quick Picks!

Sunny Edwards vs Andres Campos

  • Scott: Edwards UD-12
  • Wil: Edwards UD-12
  • John: Edwards UD-12
  • Patrick: Edwards UD-12

Shane Mosley Jr vs D’Mitrius Ballard

  • Scott: Ballard UD-10
  • Wil: Mosley UD-10
  • John: Ballard MD-10
  • Patrick: Mosley UD-10

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