Super confident Teofimo Lopez plans to steal the show this Saturday night
By Bill Tibbs
Who: Teofimo Lopez (12-0, 10 KO’s) vs. Ed Tatli (31-2, 10 KO’s),
When: Saturday April 20.
What: Top Rank Boxing - Live on ESPN
Where: Madison Square Garden - New York City
Undefeated, red-hot lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez appears on some major boxing events headlined by some of boxing’s biggest stars. However, he has no problem proclaiming that he will indeed takeover any and every show when he steps into the ring on fight night. He refers to himself, and his in-ring appearances as simply, “The Takeover”.
What’s that old saying…It’s not bragging if you can back it up? And so far, in his career, Lopez has backed it up and then some. He might be the hottest prospect in boxing and once again, when he steps in the ring on the undercard of Terence Crawford’s fight against British star Amir Khan on April 20 in New York, he plans to light up the Madison Square Garden crowd and steal the show.
Lopez has stated that this is the year he will win a world title and by all accounts most people in boxing feel it’s not if but when. He is lobbying hard to get a crack at lightweight king Vasiliy Lomachenko and has long trumpeted the idea that he can beat him easily. Yes, while most people in boxing recognize that claim as a little bit of self promotion, many people feel that if they do fight this year, despite the idea that Lomachenko is one of the best boxers of his (or any?) era, that it would indeed be an interesting fight.
For his upcoming MSG assignment, Lopez will fight Kosovo’s Edis Tatli. But, you quickly get the impression that Tatli is just another tune-up for Lopez until he gets the call that he wants – news of a world title shot. Team Lopez has a schedule of July in mind for a title shot. They hope that date can be met as an early summer title bout, assuming he can capture the championship, would open the up the possibility of closing off the year in a blockbuster fight against Lomachenko.
In recent interviews, an always-confident Lopez made it clear that it doesn’t matter who they put in front of him as long as it leads to a title and then to Lomachenko.
Richard Commey, Mikey Garcia, Luke Campbell, he doesn’t care - just line them up.
“They’ve been talking about July for the world title,” Lopez said in reference to fighting Commey. “This fight against Edis Tatli, I think it’s for the IBF title eliminator, and then I think we can hopefully fight against Richard Commey. He was recently fighting some scrub (Isa Chaniev)…He was 13-0, and he was already ranked high. They just grabbed somebody to make him look good. So hopefully, we can make this fight happen,", said Lopez.
In reference to fighting Garcia, who recently dropped a decision to welterweight champion Errol Spence, Lopez said, “He’s a world champion, so he’s a good fighter,” Lopez said. I don’t know if he’s going back down. If he does, let’s make the fight happen,” Teofimo said. “Me and Luke Campbell can fight or if Luke fights Mikey. He’ already the mandatory. It doesn’t matter to us. What we want in July is a world title,” Lopez said.
But, like most title chats with Lopez, the name Lomachenko quickly comes into the conversation.
“When it comes to beating him (Lomachenko), when we fight, I’ll show everyone what it is, how to beat this guy. He’s been beaten before so why can’t I beat him again?” said Lopez. “I’ve got this fight (Tatli) first to show everybody again,” Lopez said. “I believe hopefully after this fight, it could be against Richard Commey (the IBF champion), it could be against Mikey Garcia (who still holds the WBC lightweight belt). I think they’re going to wait till the end of the year for me and Lomachenko to fight. It’s just having faith and all that I’ve been doing and all that I’ve been through and stuff like that is leading me to this path, leading me to the glory”, he continued.
Lopez, as engaging and friendly as you will find out of the ring, leaves Mr. Nice Guy behind when the bell rings; he’s all business and his business is winning, and winning impressively. Fight fans can look for more of the same on April 20 at MSG as he continues down the road to the title.
“Some love me, a lot hate me, and they’re going to take it as it is. They’re going to take it how they want to take it”, said Lopez. “That’s how I am. I’m ruthless, I’m very ruthless, I don’t have feelings for no man when I’m in that ring. I don’t care about anything in that moment. That’s just how I am. I don’t feel no sympathy, no nothing for no man.”