ESPN’s Mike Coppinger revealed over the weekend that super lightweight contender Arnold Barboza Jr is now a free agent after parting ways with Top Rank.
Per Coppinger, Barboza (28-0, 10 KO) is free to contact other promoters, though Top Rank has matching rights for the next six months.
The split appears to have been completely amicable. Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler wished Barboza the best and manager Rick Mirigian claims the promotion “did their best” to secure a fight with Teofimo Lopez.
“I want to thank Top Rank, Bob Arum, Bruce Trampler and Brad Goodman for eight amazing years and developing me into one of the top contenders in my division,” Barboza said. “I also want to thank the crew at ESPN for the years time. I now look forward to trying to secure the best and biggest fights out there and with my manager Rick Mirigian and father Arnold Sr. I know this will be accomplished.”
Assuming Barboza doesn’t switch gears and pursue one of the other three titles, he’s in line to battle Jose Ramirez Jr at some point. The pair, who sit atop the WBO rankings, were briefly teed up for a vacant title fight, but that fell through when Lopez, by his own admission, unretired specifically to spite Barboza and Devin Haney. Haney-Lopez would presumably call for a Barboza-Ramirez eliminator.
Though they’re no longer officially stablemates, the circumstances should hypothetically make it easy to put the fight together.