IBF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez faces unified champ Vasyl Lomachenko on October 17 in Las Vegas. It’s one of the biggest and best fights that could possibly be made in the sport of boxing, and it will be televised live on ESPN instead of pay-per-view.
Ahead of his big fight, Lopez, 23, from Brooklyn, revealed to Heavy why he believes he’s about to become one of boxing’s rare undisputed champions and why he might be open to fighting in the UFC someday.
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“I’m always up for the challenge,” Lopez said. That’s always been what I’m about…I’d rather settle that in the ring or, if we got to, we can do it in the Octagon.”
The Lomachenko-Lopez poster is pretty good. pic.twitter.com/GDoeOZkZv4
— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) September 13, 2020
Undisputed Lightweight Championship ‘Absolutely’ on the Line
Lopez doesn’t care what the World Boxing Council (WBC) or anyone else has to say about the matter. For him, the winner of Lomachenko vs. Lopez this weekend will become boxing’s first undisputed boxing champion in the men’s 135-pound weight class since Hall of Fame legend Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker pulled off the feat in 1990.
“Oh, absolutely,” Lopez told Heavy. ” I believe this fight is winner takes all, like they have it on the poster that they’re promoting…This fight is for sure for all the belts, to become the undisputed champion in the lightweight division.”
Boxing’s world title picture is incredibly complicated and slightly absurd, but Lopez’s stance on his particular case seems reasonable.
“I mean, if you look at it, Vasiliy Lomachenko fought last year in August against Luke Campbell in the UK for the vacant WBC world championship, and he won,” Lopez said.
Me explaining pro boxing’s championship system to my UFC friends. pic.twitter.com/fsv6k4X8u5
— Kelsey McCarson (@kelsey_mccarson) October 12, 2020
“So I consider Lomachenko the rightful WBC world champion, not Devin Haney, and the reason why they made that move with him being a Franchise champ was because they wanted to make this fight happen,” Lopez said. “They had their sight on this fight happening.”
Lopez said he expects to beat Lomachenko for his collection of alphabet belts. That would make Lopez the IBF, WBA, WBC (Franchise) and WBO champ at 135 pounds.
With the win, Lopez would also grab The Ring Magazine title and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board championship.
On top of that, some would consider the winner of the fight boxing’s lineal lightweight champion.
“And at the end of the night, I’ll have my hand raised,” Lopez said. “Whatever they call it afterward, I mean, that’s between the public and the fans, but I believe that undisputed world champion, it has a nice ring to it at 23 years old.”
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Lopez on Boxing vs. UFC Crossover Megafights
Lopez also revealed he supported the idea of boxing champions taking on UFC superstars in crossover megafights.
“Combat sports is all about entertainment now,” Lopez said.
“And I think that comes from Floyd Mayweather, bringing that a lot, and I mean, I guess it’s good for the sports because now we’re able to have two combats that a lot of people are always talking about, UFC fighters and professional boxers, they talk about who will win in the match if they were to fight.”
Mayweather v Mcgregor ~ August 2017 ~ exhibiting MGM Grand Gallery pic.twitter.com/QTNVZRsVux
— Killian Art 🎨 (@patrickjkillian) August 10, 2020
Mayweather defeated former UFC champ Conor McGregor in August 2017. Now, McGregor seems to be headed toward a similar showdown against Manny Pacquiao next year.
“Conor McGregor, he’s mainly always fought standing up and he’s always looked impressive, so I think it’ll be interesting for everybody,” Lopez said. “I think the fans will definitely win and, two fighters that are southpaw, a lot of people don’t think about that. That’s always going to be a difficult fight because you don’t really ever see southpaws against southpaws.”
And might Lopez someday also take the call from a UFC fighter like McGregor? Perhaps that was the most surprising answer of all.
“Yeah. Who knows?… I’m always up for the challenge,” Lopez said. “That’s always been what I’m about…I’d rather settle that in the ring or, if we got to, we can do it in the Octagon.”
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