Teofimo Lopez-Josh Taylor Presser Recap



Teofimo Lopez-Josh Taylor Presser Recap

Top Rank held a press conference to hype the Saturday night card at the Madison Square Garden Hulu Theater pitting Teofimo Lopez against Josh Taylor. Coming in, one might have predicted that this occasion would be ripe for a marvelous clusterf*ck, as both men have been known to pop off.

They’ve sniped aplenty at each other, in interviews and on social media, leading in to this 140 pound showdown. At the presser, presided over by TR emcee Mark Shunock, and produced along with ESPN, everyone held it together.

What a shame…

Tension didn't spill over at the Thursday, June 8 presser to hype the June 10 Teofimo Lopez v Josh Taylor showdown at MSG Theater

No, the mood of the city also would have suggested this hype session would be replete with some heated chest-thumping. On Tuesday night, into Wednesday, citizens were dealing with a bbq waft in the air, from forest fires in Canada. Lots of end times jokes rattling around social media….

Pretty Low Key Session

Taylor (19-0) has been in town a little less than two weeks, he said. The weather has been nice, not too hot, good for a Scot.

“Got some good cool photos,” said Taylor, of a Wednesday stroll in a more-orange-y-than-usual Times Square.

Then it went to Teofimo (18-1). Shunock deftly referenced trash talk and “stuff” and then threw it to Teo. Was all the harshness genuine?

“It is what it is, I speak my truth, that’s how I feel, everything that I speak out, I’m just trying to make into existence, law of attraction, having good faith in it…and just put on a show and give the fans what they really wanna see,” said the 25 year old who has had hands full dealing with the extra stresses that come with being a star.

What is that, pray tell? “An outstanding performance,” Lopez said.

Teofimo Lopez didn't put on the performance he promised against Sandor Martin in their junior welterweight fight at Madison Square Garden Saturday in New York City. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images Lopez vs. Martin fight

Teofimo Lopez didn't put on the performance he promised against Sandor Martin (12-10-22) in their junior welterweight fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He promises a bounce back effort vs. Taylor. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

His tone was measured, he wasn’t over promising, he wasn’t cutting a promo, he wasn’t riffing off some perceived slight or outside the ring annoyance. He seemed and seems to be head dialed on straight.

Teofimo Lopez Seems To Be Dialed In

More humility from young Lopez. He said Josh Taylor is the man at 140, so, that’s who he has to beat to properly represent the essence of “The Takeover.” We’ve heard of the impending takeover, and the were there for the actual occurrence, and have seen the ups and downs of the state of the mission.

Taylor had an opportunity to steer in a certain spicy direction, when the emcee asked him if the pre fight talk has been to promote or genuine? “I think it’s a little bit genuine, I think he means what he says, I mean what I say as well,” the Scot stated. “He’s been disrespectful, what he’s said I’m gonna make him pay for on Saturday. Can’t wait to get in there.”

His prediction for the night? “Josh Taylor win, that’s all, possibly KO, early as well,” he answered, evenly.

Undisputed super lightweight champion Josh Taylor is victorious as he defeats Jack Catterall to (barely) retain his undisputed super lightweight championship. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images Josh Taylor Gets

Josh Taylor admitted he looked like crap in the undisputed super lightweight championship win over Jack Catterall. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

The Spiritual Side Of Teofimo Draws Guffaws

Asked the same, Teofimo grinned widely. “I worked my ass off, man, 11 weeks of camp, this one being 12,” Lopez said. “For me I think it’s the best version of me that I’ve really yet to see myself. I question myself because I know I’m greater. Every artist, we aim for perfection, and there’s only one person that’s perfect, that’s God.

“For me, it’s just practice makes improvement. We’ve improved since my last fight, and we’re ready to put on that show. We will win, most definitely. I’ll be, what, two time lineal world champion, that’s dope.”

So, how do we make sure we see vintage Taylor? “We could both go by previous performances and say you’re only as good as your last fight,” Josh said. “But I believe that’s a load of shit. You know, I prepared crap for the last fight, so I performed crap. I believe he was the same, and he performed crap as well.

“Teofimo, he’s up against the king of the division. I know he’s a good fighter and the version that beat Lomachenko is a very good fighter, and that’s the version I prepared for.”

Shunock then put it to Teo. Will we see vintage Teofimo Saturday? “F*ck yeah I’m there,” he said, grinning. “Heck yeah, man, I’m excited about this. This is like a dream come true turning into reality… I’m here to come in here and take everything that you got. That’s what we are, the Takeover.”

After Teo offered that old Mike Tyson quote, about plans evaporating when you get punched in the nose, Taylor jabbed. Any quotes of your own, bro? “I do have one, I made it up yesterday I think it says, ‘Aim for death, for that’s where life begins.”

Do you get the sense Teofimo seems pretty level headed this fight week? Mandatory Credit: Melina Pizano/Matchroom

“No comment,” Taylor said.

Lopez saw puzzled faces in the crowd, and protested. “Everybody’s scared of death, I don’t know why, we’re all going to die. But at least if I die, I’m dying for something that means something. That’s gonna last forever. It’s what greats are all about, something that you don’t really know!”

Teo went into wrap up mode: “Hey, at the end of it all, I’m ready to take over, put on a show for everybody. Listen, it’s been a great run. Thank you to everybody at Top Rank, thank you ESPN for the love and support, for myself, this is my seventh year now as a professional, I’m about to be a seven time world champion in that time frame.

“That’s great, at 25 years young. Making history, re making history and giving the fans, giving the youth a good thing to follow on. They need that, they need that motivation to know that they can do it, too. The only you can, there’s earth, there’s man, in between that you bring the realization within yourself, from the heavens.”

He saw some titters in the crowd.

“Listen, at the end of it all, everyone can laugh, do whatever the f*ck they want, but it’s just me and him that’s fighting,” he said to the “hecklers.”

Taylor wrapped up: This is a dream come true, fighting “in the Mecca of boxing,” he said, gesturing to Teofimo, who he derided as a “clown.”

Others On the Card

Puerto Rican junior middleweight Xander Zayas (15-0, 10 KOs) will fight Ronald “Diablo” Cruz (18-2-1, 12 KOs).

Taylor-Lopez and Zayas-Cruz will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, for the record.

The ESPN+-streamed undercard (5:15 p.m ET/2:15 p.m. PT) includes: lightweight contender Jamaine Ortiz (16-1-1, 8 KOs) and rising junior lightweight Henry Lebron (17-0, 10 KOs) in 10-rounders, along with Polish heavyweight Damian Knyba (11-0, 7 KOs) and featherweight ace in the making Bruce Carrington (7-0, 4 KOs), in separate eight-round fights.

Also, Omar Rosario (10-0, 3 KOs) meets Jan Carlos Rivera (8-1, 6 KOs) in an eight-round Puerto Rico vs. Puerto Rico showdown.

My Three Cents: I'm guessing some money moves toward Teofimo today and tomorrow. You get the sense that his focus is good for this fight.

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.