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Is Teofimo Lopez the best Lightweight on the Planet?

Is Teofimo Lopez the best Lightweight on the Planet?

Posted: 14-04-2019
Author: Andy Farr

 Teofimo Lopez vs Edis Tatli
 12 Round Lightweight Contest
 Saturday 20th April 2019
 Madison Square Garden, New York
 Top Rank
 ESPN, ESPN++

Talking up how easy it will be to beat Vasiliy Lomachenko is certainly getting the 21-year-old Lopez some good headlines right now but is it a fight that he can actually win?

His father Teofimo Snr seems every bit as confident as his son that it would be a straight forward win, nothing difficult about it, right?

If Teofimo Jr is really the best lightweight in the world as he eludes, why are his promoter Top Rank keeping him away from Lomachenko? As they share the same promoter surely it's an easy fight to make.

If I were in Bob Arum's shoes I would not let Lopez anywhere near the Ukrainian. The native of Brooklyn, New York is a standout talent, he is what used to be called a TV-friendly fighter, a brash, cocky kid with the knockouts to back it up.

Crawford vs Khan undercard poster

Matched right, Lopez will become a big star in boxing, a PPV star if the platform survives the Media streaming era. There are few, better to watch boxers on the scene right now.

With 12 fights and 10 Ko's going into his scheduled 10 round bout next Saturday (20th April) against Finland's Edis Tatli at Madison Square Garden, Teofirmo Jr needs to be matched against tougher opposition before he fights the 135lb elite.

Teofimo Lopez batters Diego Magdaleno
Teofimo Lopez batters former world title challenger Diego Magdaleno, ending it with a 7th round knockout.

There are some great fights out there that would provide Lopez with the experience he needs before trying his hand against Lomachenko. Jose Pedraza, Devin Haney, Rances Barthelemy, Robert Easter Jr, Felix Verjedo, Ryan Garcia, wins over this level of fighter would add substance to Teofirmo Jr's claim to the 135lb throne.

In his interview with ESPN after the Lomachenko vs Crolla fight, Lopez dismissed Anthony Crolla as a fighter he would have Knocked out in 2 rounds had it been him facing the Englishman. That could be true, but of course, it is unlikely we will ever find out, but Crolla, to his credit did win the WBA title and went 24 rounds with 3-weight world champion Jorge Linares. Lopez has yet to face any opponent of Linares stature.

 

The problem with being so outwardly confident, some might say arrogant, is that it doesn't allow you any room for excuse, Lopez cannot produce anything less than spectacular wins over any opposition he faces in the future without proving he was over-confident.

He will likely have another spectacular victory when he faces Tatli next week. We in Europe have watched the Finnish Lightweight lose and then win in EBU title in contests against Belgium's Francesco Patera. The level between Tatli and Lopez is glaring at the least. 

It is only Tatli's world rankings with the WBC, IBF and WBO that Top Rank is using as validation for this fight taking place. It is a mismatch despite their records.

The best win of Lopez's short career is the 7th round Ko of former world title challenger Diego Magdaleno in February. This is the same fighter that then WBO Lightweight champion Terry Flanagan blasted out in only 2 rounds. Boxing experts and fans have always called Flanagan a light puncher.

Lopez looked slick, quick and classy in the Magdaleno fight, but in what way does this result put him in the same conversation with Lomachenko?

Teofimo Lopez could well be the future of the lightweight division, he certainly has all the tools necessary, but talk of him beating the WBA and WBO champion at this stage in his career is just talk, if it wasn't and Top Rank believed that the New Yorker could pull it off, they would have started the build-up right after the Loma vs Crolla fight.

Is Teofimo Lopez the best Lightweight on the Planet?