Teofimo Lopez Expects Jamaine Ortiz ‘To Give Me A Run For My Money’

February 6, 2024
4 weeks
Teofimo Lopez

Teofimo Lopez Jr. insisted he will not be taking Jamaine Ortiz lightly when the pair meet in their WBO super-lightweight world title fight in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Lopez (19-1-0 13 KO) puts the title he took from Josh Taylor on the line against his fellow American at the Michelob Ultra Arena. While ‘The Takeover’ is the heavy favorite to retain his belt, he has no plans to be careless against a fighter whose only defeat came in a narrow points loss to Vasiliy Lomachenko.

“Jamaine is ‘The Technician’, they say,” Lopez said in an interview with ProBox TV. “He faced Lomachenko, who I faced and we go back nine years.

“We fought each other in the 2015 National Golden Gloves, and it was a great scrap. Everyone knows that’s a very tough competition to win, let alone get there and compete, so I know I’m facing someone who’s going to give me a run for my money.”

Given the strength of the super-lightweight division, there was frustration from some sections of the boxing community that Lopez is not fighting a more challenging opponent on Saturday. The Brooklyn native revealed that he, too, was trying to secure a bout with bigger names, but it didn’t materialize.

“When it came to that [Ortiz] fight, I didn’t want that fight,” Lopez explained. “I was trying any other fight, from [Devin] Haney to [George] Kambosos, we went down to [Jose] Ramirez and he said he wouldn’t be ready for February 8, a lot of these fighters blow up in weight.

“It’s all about making these fights happen, and it’s very hard to make these fights happen. Nobody wants to face me, I guess after the performance against Josh Taylor. Now it’s about executing with this guy. Now everyone thinks I’m going to look past Jamaine Ortiz, and that’s beautiful. You never know what you’re going to get from me.”

Lopez famously burst onto the world scene with an impressive points win over Lomachenko in October 2020, adding the Ukrainian’s WBA and WBO world lightweight titles to his IBF belt. But he then suffered a shock defeat to Australian Kambosos in his very next fight.

Opting to move up to super-lightweight, Lopez became a two-weight world champion with an emphatic points win over former undisputed champion Taylor last June.

While his step up to 140lb meant Lopez never fought several of the top lightweights as fans had hoped, he expects many of those rivals to join him at super-lightweight, meaning bouts with the likes of Shakur Stevenson and Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis are still on the cards. Haney, meanwhile, has already stepped up a weight class and holds the WBC strap after his points win over Regis Prograis in December.

“That’s why I went up to 140 first, I knew they were going to come up in weight,” said Lopez. “I could tell. They had to go up to 140 because they blow up between camps and it was like, ‘Let me get the big fish first’, and that was Josh Taylor, the guy that was undisputed at that time.

“Now I’m the kingpin, linear world champion, and it doesn’t matter whether those guys fight each other back and forth and back and forth, the only guy that is No. 1 is Teofimo. It stays that way, and whoever wants to step to that next plate, then we can talk about it.”

In his interview with ProBox TV, Lopez also discussed his promotions company ‘Takeover Promotions’, and he hopes he will help solve the ongoing problem in boxing where the best are not consistently fighting each other.

“The fights that need to be made are the best fighting the best,” Lopez said. “I see these other promoters, they have so much investment in these top fighters that people want to see fight, however, it’s like they haven’t got their money back yet.

“It’s sad, because they say this is the business of boxing, and it’s frustrating now because we’re at a time when MMA is starting to get more recognition because they’re putting these fights on and win or lose, they just like seeing these guys face each other. And I came back to make boxing great again.”