Jose Ramirez in Final Talks to Fight Arnold Barboza Jr. in September

Jose Ramirez is locking up his next opponent…

The 31-year-old Mexican American professional boxer is finalizing a deal to fight with Arnold Barboza Jr. for a junior welterweight fight on September 28 in Las Vegas, per ESPN sources.

Jose Ramirez, Oscar De La Hoya‘s Golden Boy Promotions, which recently signed both fighters after they parted ways with Top Rank, will stage the fight as a DAZN main event.

Ramirez, a former unified champion at 140 pounds, made his Golden Boy debut in April with a near shutout decision win over Rances Barthelemy. Ramirez’s past three fights have taken place in his native Fresno, California.

His one pro defeat was a close decision loss to Josh Taylor in a May 2021 undisputed championship fight. Ramirez (29-1, 18 KOs) is ESPN‘s No. 6 junior welterweight.

Barboza (30-0, 11 KOs) is coming off a controversial split decision victory over major underdog Sean McComb in April.

The 32-year-old from Los Angeles has never challenged for a world title but was a staple of ESPN‘s junior welterweight rankings before his last performance.

Teofimo Lopez Earns Unanimous Decision Win Over Steve Claggett to Retain WBO Junior Welterweight Title

Teofimo Lopez has retained his title…

The 26-year-old Honduran American boxer defeated Steve Claggett by unanimous decision to retain his WBO junior welterweight title on Saturday at the downtown James L. Knight Center.

Teofimo LopezLopez — a -1200 favorite, per ESPN BET — shut out Claggett on two cards with scores of 120-108 and won 119-109 on the third.

Canada’s Claggett (38-8-2, 26 KOs) was fighting in a 12-round fight for the first time.

Lopez, ESPN‘s No. 10 pound-for-pound boxer, easily defeated Claggett, outlanding him 315-60, but he surprisingly never came close to scoring a knockdown, much less a knockout, against a boxer fighting on the world-class level for the first time.

Lopez (21-1, 13 KOs) showed tremendous power at 135 pounds, where he reigned as undisputed champion, but in five fights at 140, he has scored just one KO. That came in August 2022 against journeyman Pedro Campa.

“I knew exactly what kind of fighter this guy was. … He’s going to come forward and test my conditioning. And that’s what we had today,” Lopez said. “He’s a tough fighter. I don’t think anyone should overlook him. I knew that coming into this. … He handled himself.”

Teofimo Lopez Lopez, who grew up in South Florida, seemed to acknowledge his lack of power afterward. He said it was a tough weight cut “and although it doesn’t look like I can handle my own at 147, I believe I can.”

Lopez, with his back to the ropes, was able to fend off the hard-charging Claggett. Yet it was clear what caliber of fighter Claggett was. Someone far below the top level, a fighter with shoddy footwork who simply plowed forward and let his hands go.

Claggett’s fighting heart can’t be questioned, and he can be proud that he went the distance. He was able to bust up Lopez over both eyes, too, and touch him up far more often than expected.

Perhaps Lopez took Claggett, 35, lightly. Lopez, after all, was on the wrong end of ESPN‘s 2021 Upset of the Year when he was defeated by George Kambosos.

Lopez also barely defeated Sandor Martin, a quality fighter, in his second bout at 140 pounds. Lopez rebounded, however, with a dominant performance against Josh Taylor last summer to win the lineal championship.

But in February, Lopez was booed as he struggled to cut off the ring against Jamaine Ortiz, a contender who didn’t engage.

In choosing Claggett — promoter Top Rank also offered fights with Kenny Sims, Elvis Rodriguez and Ray Muratalla — Lopez chose the easiest option. He also chose the fighter who was guaranteed to come forward, ostensibly to produce a knockout. It never materialized despite all the clean counter punches Lopez landed.

Lopez uncorked right uppercuts and left hooks that connected flush. He stunned Claggett in Round 8 and poured on more punishment in Round 9, but Claggett showed his fighting heart — and chin — by continuing to push forward.

Lopez unleashed a staggering 946 shots and 100 in Round 4, both career highs. Claggett, known for his volume punching, threw 820 punches.

Lopez told ESPN earlier this month that he planned to return in September. It’s possible that will mark his welterweight debut.

“We don’t dodge nobody,” Lopez said. “I just want the best and I want to fight the best so I can collect more legacy. That’s what it’s all about. The glory. … Teofimo’s still here.”

Teofimo Lopez Defeats Jamaine Ortiz by Unanimous Decision to Retain WBO Junior Welterweight Title

Teofimo Lopez is still the champ…

In what ESPN has called “an uneventful junior welterweight title” bout in Las Vegas on Thursday, the 26-year-old Honduran American professional boxer defeated Jamaine Ortiz by unanimous-decision.

Teofimo LopezLopez (20-1, 13 KOs) prevailed via scores of 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113. And while he retained his WBO title at 140 pounds, he failed to put on a show and was frustrated once again by a slick southpaw boxer.

“These fighters don’t want to come and fight,” said Lopez, ESPN‘s No. 1 junior welterweight. “If you ain’t ready for this life, get the f— out of my sport. I am a champion. I bleed for this and I sweat for this and I cry for this. Every time.”

Neither boxer landed many shots — 78 for Lopez and 80 for Ortiz. Ortiz’s rangy jab gave Lopez fits, and each time the champion closed the distance, Ortiz (17-2-1, 8 KOs) would reset and refused to engage. The strategy was effective even if it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing.

Although Ortiz didn’t want to exchange, Lopez didn’t do himself any favors with his own strategy. Lopez mostly threw one punch at a time, followed Ortiz rather than cut off the ring and didn’t target the body.

This wasn’t new territory for Lopez. When he faced Sandor Martin, another slick southpaw, in December 2022, Lopez again failed to cut off the ring and was on the winning end of a disputed decision.

After that fight, Lopez was caught asking his father and trainer: “Do I still got it?”

The answer was a resounding yes after the way he dominated Josh Taylor in June to become a two-division champion. However, Lopez showed Thursday night that he didn’t learn much from the Martin performance; adjustments weren’t made this time around, either.

“It’s not a repeat because I still got it,” Lopez said. “Don’t tell me it’s Sandor Martin Part 2.”

Ortiz gained recognition when he pushed Vasiliy Lomachenko in a competitive decision loss in October 2022. But just like he did against Lomachenko, Ortiz faded down the stretch.

Lopez swept the final three rounds to pull out the win Thursday. If Ortiz had won one of those three rounds on two of the cards, the fight would have ended in a draw.

“I believe I won the fight,” said Ortiz, ESPN’s No. 8 lightweight, who moved up to 140 pounds for his first title shot. “What can I say, I came out on the short end of the stick once again. He couldn’t hit me. … He wasn’t landing any shots on me. … I always stay true to who I am. … Make some adjustments and come back for another title shot.”

Ortiz suffered a serious cut over his left eye from a clash of heads in Round 7, but his corner was able to quickly keep the bleeding under control. And while his jab and footwork were impressive, there weren’t any moments that stood out to judges.

With Lopez pressing forward, even if it was ineffective aggression, it seemed to win over the judges down the stretch.

The victory nets Lopez his first junior welterweight title defense. One of boxing’s rising stars, Lopez captured the undisputed lightweight championship when he upset Lomachenko in October 2020.

But he lost the titles in his first defense, a decision defeat to George Kambosos in ESPN‘s 2021 Upset of the Year.

Jose Ramirez Signs Multi-Fight Deal with Golden Boy Promotions

Jose Ramirez is entering his Golden era….

The 31-year-old Mexican American former unified junior welterweight titlist has signed a multi-fight deal with Golden Boy Promotions.

Jose RamirezThe newly formed deal was announced during the Vergil OrtizFredrick Lawson DAZN broadcast from Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

“I’m ready to be a two-time world champion, and do it right now as well as stay active this year,” said Ramirez. “I felt Oscar [de la Hoya] and Golden Boy could deliver both immediately as well as some big fights at this point in my career that I want. This is the most motivated I have been since I turned pro.”

Ramirez and Ortiz are both managed by Rick Mirigian, who also recently brought over Arnold Barboza to the Golden Boy family. Barboza won via technical knockout after nine rounds in his Golden Boy debut Saturday evening.

“We know our value, and had to get a plan,” said Mirigian. “Golden Boy stepped up and showed that Jose would be a priority to them with the deal he was given. The fights that can now be made at 140 in house are among the best in all of the sport, as Golden Boy has now taken a strong hold on the most exciting division in boxing.”

Terms of the deal were not revealed. Boxing Scene reports that Ramirez could potentially challenge for the WBA junior welterweight title within his next couple of fights, depending on how the process plays out regarding current beltholder Rolando Romero and whether he next defends against the interim titlist.

Regardless, it’s a fresh start for Ramirez (28-1, 18KOs), who fought just once in each of the past four years.

An eleventh-round knockout of Richard Commey last March 25 in Fresno, California—the heart of Ramirez’s fan base as he hails from nearby Avenal—marked the final fight of his near 12-year-run with Top Rank. Ramirez signed with the Las Vegas-based outlet shortly after he represented the U.S. during the 2012 London Olympics.

During that time, Ramirez emerged as a sizeable draw in California’s Central Valley and won the WBC and WBO titles at junior welterweight. He came up just short versus then-unbeaten Josh Taylor in their May 2022 undisputed championship clash at Virgin Hotels, where he was in attendance on Saturday to confirm his new promotional deal.

In between the Taylor loss and Saturday’s news came just two ring appearances and a number of opportunities left on the table for various reasons. He eventually broke from Top Rank after his team could not reach terms for an offered shot at two-division lineal and current WBO junior welterweight champ Teofimo Lopez, who’ll instead face Jamaine Ortiz atop a February 8 ESPN show from Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.

All signs, however, point to a more optimistic future.

“An Olympic pedigree. An incredible resumé that features two world titles. A massive and loyal fan base — José Ramirez has it all, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Golden Boy family,” said Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy de la Hoya. “Our plan for Ramirez is simple: get him back in the ring quickly, keep him active against the best of the best and show the world that he is still among the cream of the crop in the super lightweight division.”

Details of his first fight under the Golden Boy banner are forthcoming.

Teofimo Lopez Jr.’s Team Requesting “Super Champion’ Designation from WBO

Teofimo Lopez Jr. is hoping for a super decision… 

Top Rank sent an official request to the WBO with hopes of naming the 26-year-old Honduran American junior welterweight champion as the organization’s “super champion,” a designation that provides the fighter with special privileges under the WBO guidelines.

Teofimo Lopez“As you are aware Teofimo most recently defeated then WBO world champion Josh Taylor at MSG on June 10,” the letter from Top Rank’s vice president of boxing operations, Carl Moretti, sent to the WBO reads. “His performance has received accolades throughout the boxing community as well as a nomination for “Performance of the Year“.

 

“It should also be noted that Taylor is a former undisputed unified 140-pound world champion never losing any of his titles inside the ring when he fought Teofimo.”

Top Rank also noted that “The magnitude of Teofimo’s accomplishments” are enough to grant him the “super champion” status.

Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs), a 2-1 underdog at the time, handed Taylor his first defeat in June with a dominating unanimous decision victory at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. With the win, Lopez became a two-division champion at just 25 years old, lending merit to Top Rank’s request.

Fernando Gaztambide, WBO press officer, told ESPN that “super champion” designation is a status granted “to those fighters whose professional merits and accomplishments satisfy the criteria set forth in the relevant provision.”

Gaztambide also noted that it is not a title, but rather a status which grants the recipient certain rights considering his accomplishments.

“As a super champion a fighter gets certain privileges, like being named mandatory challenger for a champion in higher or lower divisions, lifetime membership with the WBO, extended time to make mandatory title defenses and other things,” WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel told ESPN.

The decision will be made this week, according to Valcarcel, and depends on Lopez meeting the required qualifications.

“We have rules and criteria the fighter should meet. If the five-member championship committee approves the request, it will need to be approved by the 23-member executive committee by majority,” Valcarcel explained.

Some of the WBO criteria includes that the fighter has a “multiple bout contract with a major television [company].” It also states that the fighter requesting the “super champion” designation had a minimum of 10 title defenses or if less than 10, the fighter has defended the belt against “opponents of high recognition and high skills.”

Other provisions are that the fighter has been a champion in more than one division or has held more than one championship from the other major organizations (WBC, WBA, IBF), or has been a unified champion, among others. Lopez checks all those boxes, having been a former WBO lightweight champion and a unified champion.

Currently, the WBO has five “super champions”, heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk, super middleweight Canelo Alvarez, junior middleweight Jermell Charlo, welterweight Terence Crawford, and lightweight Devin Haney.

Jorge Linares to Fight Jack Catterall in October

Jorge Linares has lined up his next opponent…

The 37-year-old Venezuelan professional boxer, a former three-division champion, will fight Jack Catterall, ESPN‘s No. 1 junior welterweight, on October 21 in Liverpool, England, Matchroom Boxing has announced.

Jorge Linares

Catterall dropped a controversial split decision to Josh Taylor in February 2022 in a bid for the undisputed 140-pound championship. Following several postponements of the rematch, Taylor moved on to a summer bout with Teofimo Lopez, while Catterall signed with Eddie Hearn‘s Matchroom.

“It is an honor to share a ring with Jorge Linares,” Catterall said. “I’ve watched him come over to the U.K. on three occasions and win three times. He is a legend of the game and this is a must-win fight for the both of us for very different reasons.

“There is talk of a huge fight for me after this, but it’ll count for nothing if I take my eye off the ball — which I can’t afford to do at this stage of my career. It’s no secret my career has lacked momentum, so after boxing in May and now October, I genuinely believe you’ll see the best version of me on October 21.”

That “huge fight” Catterall mentioned is the rematch with Taylor. There have been discussions for a Catterall-Taylor encore targeted for late 2023 or early 2024, sources told ESPN. Taylor is set to campaign at welterweight after he lost his title to Lopez, but Catterall is willing to meet him in between 140 and 147 pounds, sources said.

But first, Catterall (27-1, 13 KOs) will need to come out victorious against the second-toughest opponent of his career.

Linares (47-8, 29 KOs) has captured titles at 126, 130 and 135 pounds, but at 37, the Venezuelan boxer has lost three consecutive fights. Linares was competitive in a decision defeat to Devin Haney in May 2021.

Afterward, Linares fought twice in Russia: a 12th-round TKO loss to Zaur Abdullaev and a decision setback vs. Zhora Hamazaryan in December.

“October 21 I’m back in the UK,” said Linares. “I’m full of emotion and ready to give everybody a spectacular performance against a tremendous opponent, Jack Catterall.

“I just want everyone to know that I’m ready to give Jack a great boxing lesson and to continue making history in the U.K.”

Regis Prograis Defeats Danielito Zorrilla to Defend His WBC Junior Welterweight Title

It wasn’t his best showing, but Regis Prograis has successfully defended his title…

The 34-year-old half-Hispanic American boxer successfully defended his WBC junior welterweight title by defeating Danielito Zorrilla by split decision on Saturday night at the Smoothie King Center.

Regis PrograisPrograis won on two cards 118-109 and 117-110 while one scorecard went Zorrilla’s way 114-113.

Prograis (29-1, 25 KO) was honest about his performance and felt he could have put on a better show for the local crowd.

“My performance was s—. I can admit to myself it wasn’t a good performance,” Prograis said. “The last two days, I felt the hometown jitters. The hometown fights, they are the worst. I felt it going into it yesterday into today. I got the job done. I kept the belt. I’m happy about that, but I’m definitely not happy about my performance.”

Zorrilla (17-2, 13 KO) took the fight on less than a month’s notice as he was a late replacement for undefeated Australian fighter Liam Paro, who pulled out of the bout with an injury.

Following the fight, Prograis sat with Matchroom boxing promoter Eddie Hearn as the two spoke with reporters about what options could be next at 140 pounds. Bill Haney, Devin Haney‘s father, was in attendance on Saturday but Hearn said there are plenty of options for Prograis’ next fight.

Hearn mentioned Haney, Teofimo Lopez and Gervonta Davis as all great fights that could be made for Prograis.

“For me, it’s up to Regis,” Hearn said. “I mean, I think the great thing about tonight is there’s going to be a lot of people queuing up to fight. I’ve not heard any of those big names mention Regis’ name before tonight, other than Devin. But now I think you’re going to see people actually target Regis Prograis that he might be beatable now.

“Which we know, there’s a completely different performance to come from Regis Prograis. I think that’s the one thing that I’m happy about and I believe Devin wants that fight.”

It was the first successful title defense of Prograis’ career. After winning the WBA title at 140 pounds from Kiryl Relikh in 2019, Prograis dropped the belt in a majority decision to Josh Taylor later that year. It remains the only loss of his career.

This time, Prograis defended his crown.

In the third round, Prograis dropped Zorrilla with a left hand and started to build on that momentum the rest of the fight. However, that quickly went away as the two danced and plotted on each other for the remainder of the fight.

“He came to survive,” Prograis said about Zorrilla. “He didn’t want to get knocked out. He came to survive. I was chasing him. I just had to chase him for 12 rounds.”

Prograis went to the mat three times but none were ruled knockdowns by referee Ray Corona. In the first round, Zorrilla stunned Prograis with a right knocking him off balance, and both men went to the ground as Prograis tried to clutch with Zorrilla falling into the champion. However, it was ruled as a push. In the 10th round, Prograis’ fall was called a slip and then he again touched the mat in the 12th on a push.

He admitted after the fight that he felt the first-round fall didn’t feel like a knockdown in the moment but looking back at the replay, it could have been.

This was the first major championship fight inside the Smoothie King Center since 2000 when undisputed light heavyweight champion Roy Jones Jr. defeated Eric Harding at what was then called New Orleans Arena (Derrick Gainer also defeated Freddie Norwood for the WBA featherweight title on the same card).

It was the third card that Prograis has headlined in New Orleans. His previous two fights were at the Lakefront Arena on the campus of the University of New Orleans.

New Orleans rap duo Fresh X Reckless performed during Prograis’ walk as he put his own flair on the entrance with a 10-foot Rougarou — Prograis’ nickname and a werewolf-like monster from local folklore — following him.

However, because of those “hometown jitters” Prograis mentioned, there’s a good chance his next fight won’t be in the city.

“I don’t think next time,” Prograis said. “We’ll probably go on the road and then come back here down the line. But not next fight.”

Hearn said there are opportunities for Prograis that could be in Las Vegas or the Middle East for his next fight.

Regis Prograis Looking for New Opponent for Summer Homecoming Bout

Regis Prograis is on the hunt for a new opponent…

The 34-year-old half-Hispanic American boxer is looking for a new challenger for his June 17 homecoming title defense in New Orleans after Australia’s Liam Paro withdrew with an injury.

Regis PrograisPrograis (28-1, 24 KOs) will make the first defense of the WBC junior welterweight title he won with an 11th-round KO of Jose Zepeda in November.

Prograis signed a three-fight promotional deal with Eddie Hearn‘s Matchroom Boxing earlier this month and will headline on DAZN.

ESPN’s No. 3 boxer at 140 pounds, Prograis’ lone career defeat came in 2019 when he dropped a majority decision to Josh Taylor in a title unification in London.

Paro (23-0, 14 KOs) was set to fight outside Australia for the first time. Whoever replaces Paro will fight for the title on less than four weeks’ notice.

Teofimo Lopez to Fight Josh Taylor for WBO Junior Welterweight Title

Teofimo Lopez will be fighting for another title…

The 25-year-old Honduran American professional boxer has agreed to fight Josh Taylor for Taylor’s WBO junior welterweight title on June 10 in New York on ESPN/ESPN+.

Teofimo Lopez Jr.The 140-pound bout, which pits the former undisputed junior welterweight champion against Lopez, the ex-undisputed lightweight champion, will take place at either Madison Square Garden (20,000-plus seats) or the Hulu Theater at MSG (approximately 5,500 capacity).

“We’re set on the fight. Teo is set on Josh Taylor like he was set on [Vasiliy] Lomachenko,” said Lopez’s manager, David McWater. “We don’t know yet, but I suspect it’s the big room. We almost sold out the big room in December for Sandor Martin.”

Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) was set to meet Jack Catterall in a rematch on March 4, but the bout was postponed after Taylor tore a plantar fascia last month. The 32-year-old champion said he would be able to resume training in approximately six to eight weeks.

Boxxer, the U.K.-based promoter of the Taylor-Catterall rematch, failed to place rescheduling language in the contract, multiple sources said, which freed Taylor to move on to the Lopez bout. Boxxer spokesperson Matty Lawless tweeted that “our position at Boxxer is that we have a legally binding contract with Top Rank. Therefore we will not be making any further comment at this stage.”

“Further on down the line, Jack and me can still fight,” Taylor told Sky Sports last week. ” … This fight [vs. Lopez] is a much bigger fight than the Catterall fight … and it’s a harder fight. He is a much higher caliber of opponent. He has been at a higher level. He’s been in with better fighters. He’s done the business.”

Taylor defended his undisputed championship against Catterall last February in Scotland and emerged with a split-decision victory, but the judging was marred in controversy.

Taylor is a star in Scotland, and the matchup with Lopez was originally being explored for the U.K. Instead, Taylor will travel for his fifth fight in the U.S. His most-recent stateside was his career-best victory, a unanimous-decision win over Jose Ramirez in May 2021 to capture the undisputed championship. Taylor vacated three of his four belts to avoid mandatory challengers that would have prevented the rematch with Catterall.

“I think the Taylor side has become less enthusiastic about the rematch with Catterall,” said McWater. “For us, we were concerned about fighting over there [in the U.K.]. If we fight over there, you’ll watch it at 3 or 4 in the afternoon. It was really important to Teofimo not to do that. We want the eyeballs.

“Top Rank really listened to me this time. I think it’s a better fight over here.”

In a way, this a comeback bout for each fighter. Taylor has fought only once since he defeated Ramirez. And that victory over Catterall was one of the most controversial in years.

Lopez, among the most charismatic and talented young fighters in the game, lost the four belts he won from Lomachenko when he was defeated by George Kambosos at the Hulu Theater in ESPN’s 2021 Upset of the Year, and has been criticized for lackluster performances in his two fights at 140 pounds. His split-decision win over Sandor Martin was highly disputed.

Taylor and Lopez have been on a collision course for years as they’ve traded insults. Most recently, Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs) vowed to knock Taylor out before he faced Martin.

“I’d tear him up, from the body to the head, he’s not going to know which one I’m going to hurt him with,” Lopez, who fights out of Las Vegas, told Sky Sports in December. “A lot of people would like to see me take on Josh Taylor, and I’ve been calling him out.

” … I actually will put him down better than what Catterall did. He won’t come back up, that’s all I can tell you.”

Lopez is rated No. 10 at junior welterweight by ESPN. Taylor is ESPN’s No. 2 junior welterweight.

Taylor must fully recover from yet another injury first. The plantar fascia connects the heel bone to the toes to create the arch of the foot, and tearing one is considered a highly painful injury.

Taylor and Lopez were both on ESPN’s pound-for-pound list at the same time before Lopez’s loss to Kambosos. Taylor, too, dropped off the list after the performance vs. Catterall.

Teofimo Lopez in Final Talks to Fight Josh Taylor in Junior Welterweight Title Fight

Teofimo Lopez is thisclose to locking in a title fight…

The 25-year-old Honduran American boxer and former lightweight champion and Josh Taylor are closing in on a deal for a junior welterweight title fight this summer in the U.K., according to ESPN.

Teofimo LopezThe 140-pound fight could land at the 20,000-plus seat Easter Road in Edinburgh, Scotland, sources said, with May 27 and June 3 the dates being targeted.

Taylor, who is a star in his native Scotland, has competed at home for the majority of his fights. Lopez has never competed outside the U.S.

Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) had been set to meet Jack Catterall in a rematch on March 4, but the bout was postponed after Taylor tore a plantar fascia last month. The 32-year-old champion said he would be able to resume training in approximately six to eight weeks.

Taylor defended his undisputed championship against Catterall last February in Scotland and emerged with a split-decision victory, but the judging was marred in controversy. Now, Catterall will probably have to wait for his chance to set the record straight.

Taylor and Lopez have been on a collision course for years as they’ve traded insults. Most recently, Lopez vowed to knock Taylor out before he scored a controversial split-decision win over Sandor Martin in December.

“I’d tear him up, from the body to the head, he’s not going to know which one I’m going to hurt him with,” Lopez, who fights out of Las Vegas, told Sky Sports in December. “A lot of people would like to see me take on Josh Taylor, and I’ve been calling him out.

“Especially to do it out there in the U.K., I really want to experience that. … I actually will put him down better than what Catterall did. He won’t come back up, that’s all I can tell you.”

Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs) captured the undisputed lightweight championship with a decision victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko in October 2020.

In ESPN‘s 2021 Upset of the Year, Lopez lost his titles to George Kambosos. Afterward, Lopez moved up to 140 pounds, where he has now competed twice. Lopez is rated No. 10 at junior welterweight by ESPN.

Taylor is ESPN’s No. 2 junior welterweight. After the Catterall fight, he vacated three of his four titles to pursue the rematch (and avoid the mandatory obligations with various No. 1 contenders that would block the return bout).

But following various attempts to schedule the rematch, it appears Taylor is ready to move on, at least for now.

The matchup with Lopez is genuinely a marquee fight both across the pond and stateside. It’s also one Taylor is ultra-confident he’ll win.

“He is a very good, very skilled fighter, but I do believe that on my night I take him to bits,” Taylor told Sky Sports in December. “He’s a bit of a clown. He seems to look past his opponents all the time. It’s twice he’s made the same mistake and almost paid the price for it again.

“He thinks he’s God’s gift, and then he comes crashing back down to Earth with a bang. … Let’s not forget, he did very well to beat Lomachenko, but he beat a small, injured lightweight that really could make featherweight.”

Taylor first must fully recover from yet another injury. The plantar fascia connects the heel bone to the toes to create the arch of the foot, and it’s considered a highly painful injury.

Taylor and Lopez were both on ESPN’s pound-for-pound list at the same time before Lopez’s loss to Kambosos. Taylor, too, dropped off the list after the performance vs. Catterall.

Taylor’s impressive resume includes wins over Jose Ramirez and Regis Prograis.

Catterall, meanwhile, is slated to return March 25 in Manchester, Boxxer announced, but no opponent has been finalized.