Takeover Pt 2 or the Comeback?

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 11: Teofimo Lopez (L) and Pedro Campa (R) face-off during the press conference ahead of their NABF & WBO International junior welterweight fight at Resorts World Las Vegas on August 11, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

In Boxing, the fame and joy can be fleeting, one minute you’re on top of the world, and the next people ignore your calls. The charismatic confidence of Teofimo Lopez Jr and his father wasn’t well-liked by all, but it propelled him to a quick ascent in boxing. He went from prospect to bonafide contender in ten fights and then shocked the world on an October evening. Thirteen months later the ending of that world crashed down.

The Beginning

Lopez got off to a hot start knocking opponents out and going Viral for his celebrations. Crowds loved him and Top Rank kept putting him on and giving him test after test. Those tests were aced before the ink dried on the contracts as Lopez dispatched them easy. The Heisman Celebration and the backflips had people talking. His power had people sleeping ask Mason Menard and Diego Magdaleno. Lopez and his father talked about the takeover and how they were the best and they were making believers out of many, but one night the hype slowed down.

No knockout?

On a July evening in 2019, Lopez met little-known Japanese fighter Masayoshi Nakatani and well the fight didn’t end early or by brutal knockout. Lopez was taken into deep waters and was hit cleanly. He had a fighter who took his shots and made him box more than ever before. The whispers began about him and his father’s relationship as though Lopez picked up the decision victory, it was not the way anyone expected. Lopez showed a lot in the win, but the talk was still there. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger though. Lopez silenced the talk real quick.

The takeover is complete

The victory over Nakatani set Lopez up for his first title shot against IBF champion Richard Commey in December of 2019. The whispers had turned to rumbles and the behind the back talk was brought to the front. With one perfectly time right hand Lopez shut the talk down. Lopez landed the right hand as Commey was throwing a punch and set the former champ down in a heap. Commey beat the count but was in no condition to continue and moments later the young brash prospect was a world champion. The talk immediately turned to a mega showdown with pound-for-pound stale and world champion Vasyl Lomachenko. The Ukrainian fighter was a multiple-time gold medalist and three-weight division champion. Had the young king bitten off more than he could chew?

Short answer, No!!

The youthful champion told everyone he did not fear Lomachenko and he would easily dethrone the man. Lopez not only backed up his words but exceeded what many thought he could. “The Takeover” took over from the outset and seemed to have Loma befuddled as for some reason (apparent shoulder injury, reported later on) he wouldn’t throw a punch. It was safe to say Lopez won the first six rounds. Once the veteran champion came back into the fight and the scorecards seemed to tighten, youth took over again as Lopez dominated the final round to secure the upset victory. The scorecards were read, and no robbery took place the Coronation was complete. The rise of Lopez and the admiration for him shoot through the roof, but thirteen months later it went away.

The takeover was short-lived

Lopez was due to make a mandatory defense against little-known George Kambosos and the situation from the beginning was awkward. Lopez turned down the initial offer from his promoter Top Rank and after a purse bid won by Triller the fight was set to take place with no Top Rank help. Months later fences were mended, but Top Rank was still not to be involved, but the fight didn’t take place on its original date and then not again on the make-up date. That followed Triller pulling out and Matchroom picking up the fight. The whispers started again as many believed Lopez wasn’t into the fight and was looking past Kambosos in the lead-up. Well, maybe they weren’t wrong. Kambosos dropped Lopez in round one and survived his own knockdown to upset “The Takeover”. Later it was reported the outside issues Lopez was facing. I won’t get into his personal life, but his health became the story as it was reported of many issues following the fight that landed him in the hospital. Issues with breathing and his chest and throat confirmed by Lopez himself could help lead to an explanation of his lackluster performance. It didn’t change the fact that many discredited Lopez now especially following the post-fight interview where he said he won the fight. The takeover ride seemed done

Is this the return?

Lopez has not moved up in weight and will face Pedro Campa. This man is made for Lopez to get the rust off and the confidence back. If we’re being honest the confidence may never have been lost. If Lopez can provide a good performance or even an early knockout, the talk of him making noise at 140 may pick up. It can quickly go from Lopez being a former champ to now he is a two-weight world champion. There are also rumbles of a potential fight with Ryan Garcia, but we’ll let that pick up when that bridge is due to be crossed. As for now does the “Takeover” become the “comeback?” We will see soon.