Teofimo Lopez Targets Crawford As Part Of Plans For Duran-Style Legacy

February 8, 2024
2 months
Teofimo Lopez

Teofimo Lopez Jr. has made clear his desite to fight Terence Crawford next as part of his plans to be remembered among greats like Roberto Duran.

Lopez puts his WBO junior-welterweight world title on the line against No.10-ranked challenger Jamaine Ortiz in Las Vegas on Friday and is widely expected to claim the 20th win of his pro career.

There has been some frustration within the boxing community that the Brooklyn native is not fighting a more high-profile name, but he is targeting Crawford – arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the game – and wants to prove he is prepared to fight anyone.

“If you look at my track record, everything that I talk about, I walk it as well. We don’t just talk the talk to amp something up, we want to walk the walk,” Lopez told Sky Sports.

“And I just had to remind him I’m the biggest cat in the world, absolutely, and because of that we face fighters, great champions and I look forward to facing a fighter like him after this fight [against Ortiz], however that pursues itself.”

Despite only recently stepping up to the 140lbs division, Lopez insisted he would climb again to face unified welterweight king Crawford.

“This is not a publicity stunt here. I think that if you look at my record and everything it shows, it shows that I really choose to face the best,” he said.

“Because that’s what ‘The Takeover’ is. What would I be if I didn’t do these things? Who would I be if I didn’t face the best? That is the only way I become greater.”

Lopez said his main motivation behind chasing fights with the likes of Crawford is for his legacy. In an era when too many elite fighters don’t fight each other, the American is keen to be remembered alongside past greats as someone who never ducked a challenge.

Lopez Wants To Emulate Duran

Referring to the ‘Four Kings’ of Duran, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Tommy Hearns – who dominated boxing in the 1980s and shared the ring a combined nine times – Lopez hopes he can bring back that level of excitement to the sport.

“The main guy that stands out of the four [kings] was Roberto Duran,” Lopez said. “Regardless of whether he lost to all of them, he faced all of them, and that right there is what I’m trying to bring back to my own beloved sport of boxing.

“So that the next generation, they really see what it takes to be a champion, a true champion in life, is by facing the best guys. Whether you think you’re ready or not, that’s the only way you find out is by going in that square circle and seeing it firsthand.”

Lopez became a two-weight world champion when he defeated former undisputed junior-welterweight champ Josh Taylor in New York last June. Friday will therefore be his first title defence.

Lopez Vs Haney?

‘The Takeover’ will hope this title defence is more successful than his last; after a sensational performance to beat Vasiliy Lomachenko to become a unified lightweight champion in October 2020, Lopez suffered a shock defeat to George Kambosos Jr. in his very next fight.

He returned to the pinnacle of boxing with his win over the previously unbeaten Taylor. He has since been followed from lightweight to super-lightweight by Devin Haney. His fellow American holds the WBC version of the division’s title following his December win over Regis Prograis.

With Lopez and Haney now both aiming to dominate at 140lbs, there are already calls for the pair to square off inside the ring. Lopez, unsurprisingly, is ready to take on Haney and indeed anyone else who wants to come his way.

“Whether they like it, whether they don’t, that is none of my concern. You look at the rankings, the No 1 fighter is Teofimo Lopez in the junior-welterweight division,” Lopez said. “Maybe we will do a unification bout. That’s up to them on their side. For myself, it’s about legacy.”