If Teofimo Lopez Can Fight As Well As He Trash Talks…



If Teofimo Lopez Can Fight As Well As He Trash Talks…

Trash talk can be ho hum, formulaic, sound and fury and signifying less than you might think. Or, it can be propulsive and compelling and a significant aid in the building block process for a young fighter.

I’m thinking the latter is the case, in the case of young Top Rank prospect Teofimo Lopez. The 20 year old hitter holds a 7-0 record, with 5 KOs, and he gloves up Saturday night underneath the Regis Prograis vs Juan Jose Velasco, a tango that will run on ESPN, and damn right, he wants to steal the show.

No, that won’t be easy, as Prograis a star under radar who will make easy work, we think, of Velasco, in order to charm his home town peeps.

But this lightweight Lopez, he is setting a high effin bar for himself, with his hype game in the count down to this scrap. Lightweight in class in the ring, heavyweight hitter verbally outside of it…

At the Thursday presser, the TR scrapper spoke about his test, in one William Silva, who owns a 25-1 mark.

“It’s about time {I stepped up the competition}. It’s about time,” Lopez said at the presser. “I definitely want to showcase more of what I’m capable of doing. People have yet to see everything of me. Top Rank’s matchmakers – Brad Goodman and Bruce Trampler – they’re doing a hell of a job with me. This is a good step up. Definitely. Fighting a guy whose only defeat was with Felix Verdejo {in 2016}, and he went the distance with him. At the end of the day, I’m no Felix Verdejo.”

You catch that? He’s throwing shade at fellow Top Rank stable-mate Verdejo, and tossing Felix under his bus, before rolling over him and then backing up to finish the job…

This Lopez, if he fights as well as he’s been talking for this promotion, his future is assured.

“I'm 20 now. I'll be a world champion by 21,” he said at the Wednesday media workout. “Then I'm going to clean out the 135-pound division. And yeah, I know Vasiliy Lomachenko is in my way.”

Wednesday he conjures the Loma buzz, Thursday he assures himself extra ink with the Verdejo mention. His mouth exhales sharp and snappy banter and his brain is of a high caliber too; kid knows how to snag the attention of the keyboard tappers, like me.

“This is my last fight as a 20-year-old, and I know that I'm going to put on another great show. ‘The Takeover' is real, ladies and gentlemen,” he said Wednesday. “The dude I'm fighting has never been knocked out, but he's never seen anyone like me. I just can't wait for Saturday night, and I have a bunch of tricks up my sleeve that nobody has seen.”

Oh, and I dig this, too. He talks a good game (click this link to hear him on TALBOX) but within reason. Lopez knows how to stir that pot, but isn’t coming off like a too-cocky punk. “I don't smoke. I don't drink. I respect the sport,” he insisted. “My time is coming.”

To a degree, his time is here, because he’s now being seen as someone to watch, to keep track of. How far he goes from here, I won’t hazard a guess. But I confess, I’m keen to allot some extra attention and time to monitoring, because the kid gets it, this is sports entertainment, and he gets the entertainment part, outside the ring. And yeah, in the ring, he looks pretty solid too. See for yourself Saturday night, Lopez’ is the first fight of an ESPN time slot that kicks off at 7 PM ET.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.