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+.
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.