Teofimo Lopez has been named “super champion” at 140 lbs by the WBO, not long after Top Rank filed a request to have the sanctioning body recognize Lopez as such.
In basic terms, the move means that Lopez (19-1, 13 KO) will get extensions on when he absolutely has to do mandatory title defenses, plus the ability to be considered as an immediate mandatory challenger if a fighter moves up (or down!) in weight.
This means, in short, that Lopez probably isn’t going to field any potential mandatory order to face Arnold Barboza Jr — his No. 1-ranked contender, who left Top Rank in July — any time soon, and that if Teofimo wanted to go up to 147 or down to 135, he can get a WBO title shot immediately if he wants one.
The move could also mean that Barboza will not get a WBO eliminator with Jose Ramirez, who could simply be Top Rank’s preferred next opponent for Lopez, who has seemed truly dismissive of the idea of fighting Barboza.
The 26-year-old Lopez beat Josh Taylor for the WBO belt on June 10, then feigned a retirement until the WBO actually made him say he really was going to retire, which would have seen him giving up the belt.
He decided not to retire, which was a real shock to us all, and thus holds the title still.
It is boxing politics as usual, really. We all know and on some level just accept — with no other option, really — that “star” fighters generally get preferential treatment in this business-sport. This is just something that puts it in writing, and it’s not something you’ll really notice much as a fan unless you were fiending for Teofimo vs Barboza.