What’s Next For Teofimo Lopez After Beating Steve Claggett?

June 30, 2024
2 weeks
What's Next For Teofimo Lopez After Beating Steve Claggett?

Teofimo Lopez defended his WBO Junior Welterweight Title by beating Steve Claggett in a unanimous decision, raising question marks over his next steps. 

The Takeover defended his belt successfully for the second time since he beat the former Undisputed Junior Welterweight Champion Josh Taylor to get it. Lopez has been chasing the big fights in the division at 140 and 147. However, so far, it has been much more difficult. 

His primary choice appears to be Terence Crawford. Lopez has called on the former Undisputed Welterweight Champion to move down to 147. Crawford is currently at 154 as he has his first fight at the weight class against Israil Madrimov on August 3. The chances of that fight happening is unlikely unless Lopez moves up to 154 or fights at catchweight. Crawford is targeting a fight against Canelo Alvarez at 168, making 147 less realistic. 

Arum On Lopez

Bob Arum, however, has other ideas. The Top Rank promoter wants Lopez to face Brian Norman Jr. next. Norman Jr. may not be the biggest name, but he has an impressive record. He is 26-0, with 20 wins by knockout. His last fight was a tenth-round knockout win over Giovani Santillan. But that all depends on whether Lopez wants to take that fight, as it would have to take place at 147, allowing Lopez to get used to the weight class. 

“We’ve had Lopez all of his career, and I think there are a lot of big fights out there for him, but Claggett is not an easy fight for him. I think that would be a good fight [Crawford] down the line, but the fight we make first is Teofimo against Brian Norman, who is the WBO welterweight at 147. “I don’t know very much about Claggett. He’s a tough kid. He’ll give Lopez a really good fight. I think Lopez is one of the top fighters today,” Bob Arum said 

Lopez’s Options

Meanwhile, a fight with Devin Haney is unlikely. The Dream is now a Champion in Recess after vacating his WBC belt at 140. Haney’s next fight is also uncertain following his loss to Ryan Garcia which was overturned. The loss was turned into a no-contest after Garcia failed VADA tests for Ostarine and got a one-year ban. Haney now wants the Garcia rematch and is unlikely to take a risky fight to jeopardize those chances. 

There is a chance to face Liam Paro. Paro secured a shock win to defeat Subriel Matias. The win made him the IBF Junior Welterweight Champion. Since there is no rematch clause, Lopez could get that fight. However, it requires Lopez to work with Eddie Hearn. That will be tough since Lopez blasted DAZN after his loss to George Kambosos Jr., the only fight he had on DAZN. Lopez has stated that the platform would go out of business. But if the fight happens on ESPN, then that is possible. Either way, Lopez needs the biggest fights moving forward. 

Lopez’s Comments

“I’m just very grateful, really. He’s a tough fighter. I don’t think anyone should overlook him. I knew that coming into this. See everybody is talking about these other fighters that I just feel like I’m not interested in. I want to fight. Look at this, look what we gave the fans out here. To be real, I’m going to be frank with you guys, I feel like this weight cut and everything my body’s growing and although it doesn’t look like I can handle my own at 147, I believe I can. I truly believe I can and I want these great champions. Hey, whoever it is, whatever it is, ‘The Takeover,’ we don’t dodge nobody,” Lopez

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