Teofimo Lopez is retired — for now.
The two-division lineal champion vacated the WBO junior welterweight title just five days after the 25-year-old boxer dethroned Scotland’s Josh Taylor in a dominant unanimous decision. Lopez insisted after his impressive victory that he was finished with the sport. His actions after that decision indicate that he is sticking to his guns. Is Lopez being serious, or is he playing the fool yet again?
Lopez plays the fool masterfully. He always has. He does it with a surreptitious grin, knowing that casuals on social media will take the bait. People who have been around the business, in the meanwhile, we’re just playing along as well. ‘Ah, yeah. It looks like Teofimo is pretty serious about retirement.’ Are we fully on board with that assessment? No, not in the slightest.
Boxing isn’t on Lopez’s mind right now, and it shouldn’t. If you paid any attention leading up to the Taylor fight, many things were on his mind, including his impending divorce and, most importantly, child custody rights.
Our West Coast Bureau Chief Gayle Falkenthal brought up an interesting point. Wouldn’t a “retired” boxer have a better chance at winning full custody than a father away at training camp every few months? Wouldn’t a “retired” boxer be ordered to pay less for child and spousal support?
Teo Has A Plan
Lopez had many of us thinking he was mentally weak and spiraling out of control. Instead, he entered the ring focused and put on a vintage performance that almost no one expected, except for boxing hardcore like Stephen Edwards and Sean Zittel. Now Lopez has moved on to his next act and is already a step ahead of the game.
He beat Taylor and announced his intentions to retire. Then he appears on national television and reiterates that he’s finished with the sport – unless someone can come up with a $100 million guarantee.
Lopez haters are aggravated. Some think he’s ducking other fighters. Others still hold on to their belief that he’s mentally weak. Then he relinquishes his belt.
It’s all a part of the plan. The haters continue to dissipate negative energy on social media. For Lopez, he’s getting ready for his next fight, which will require him to give off the impression that he’s retired.
The first matter of business will be to get his personal life in order, get through the divorce, obtain full custody of his son (if possible), and let the cards play out. Meanwhile, Lopez will stay in shape behind the scenes. After about a year, I expect him to “get the itch” to get back in the ring.
Lopez WILL Return
I could be completely wrong on this. Besides, I was one of the fools who thought Taylor would outclass Lopez. If he were an older fighter, I would take Lopez at his word. But he’s 25. He has an impressive résumé at this stage of his career which now includes victories over two lineal world champions, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Taylor, in a career that is well on the path to enshrinement in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
But I don’t believe we have seen the last of Teofimo Lopez Jr. — not in the slightest. Lopez will return. And that’s a good thing for boxing.