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Jose Ramirez vs Arnold Barboza Jr ordered by WBO for vacant title, Teofimo Lopez and Devin Haney also in the mix

Jose Ramirez and Arnold Barboza Jr look set to fight for the vacant WBO title at 140, but Teofimo Lopez and Devin Haney are also involved.

Jose Ramirez and Arnold Barboza Jr look set to fight for the vacant WBO title at 140
Jose Ramirez and Arnold Barboza Jr look set to fight for the vacant WBO title at 140
Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Jose Ramirez and Arnold Barboza Jr have been ordered to meet for the vacant WBO junior welterweight (140 lbs) title, but hold your horses, because the recently “retired” Teofimo Lopez is still in the mix for now, and so is Devin Haney.

The WBO are giving Lopez “24 hours upon issuance” of today’s order “to confirm in writing to the WBO Championship Committee whether he retains his WBO Jr. Welterweight Championship.”

If Lopez does not do that, then the belt will officially be declared vacant. However, even if Lopez does insist he’s retired and gives up the belt, Teofimo will still have the chance to be considered mandatory challenger for the WBO belt if he returns to the ring at some point, which most think that he will. Teofimo would have 12 months from the time of a potential Ramirez vs Barboza fight to exercise that right.

At the moment, Lopez is pretty active on social media, mostly rolling in Teofimoisms, but he hasn’t said anything concrete about this yet. He still has hours, of course.

There’s another hitch with Devin Haney, so let’s just lay this all out sort of in order:

  1. Teofimo Lopez has 24 hours to declare he’s keeping the WBO title at 140 lbs; if he does this, the Barboza-Ramirez order is terminated
  2. If he does not, then Devin Haney, by virtue of being WBO champ at 135, has the option to tell the WBO he’ll move up, and then he can fight Barboza for the vacant title; Haney has the same 24 hours that Teofimo does
  3. If Lopez vacates and Haney does not take a fight with Barboza, then the Ramirez vs Barboza order is in effect

Got it?

The WBO’s rankings as of June 15 still listed Lopez as champion, with Barboza (28-0, 10 KO) and Ramirez (28-1, 18 KO) as the Nos. 1 and 2 contenders, respectively.

Ramirez, 30, would be the promotional A-side in marketing and all that, you’d assume, as he is a multiple-time ESPN headliner and former WBC/WBO unified titleholder in the division. Barboza, 31, has just kept beating people and, despite not getting much promotional push as a star or main event fighter, has worked his way into being a legit contender the old fashioned way.

It’s a good fight if it happens, a perfectly worthy vacant title bout, and should be easy to finalize, as both are with Top Rank.

If either side requests a purse bid, which seems unlikely given the prior sentence, the minimum bid is $150,000. The two sides have 20 days to get a deal done as of today’s order.

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