Wednesday, March 22, 2023  |


Richard Commey isn’t holding Teofimo Lopez’s last performance against him

Commey downs Chaniev.

News surfaced on Tuesday that big-punching IBF lightweight titleholder Richard Commey would make his much anticipated mandatory defense against rising star Teofimo Lopez on the same card as WBO welterweight kingpin Terence Crawford at Madison Square Garden in New York on December 14.

The intriguing contest pits Commey and Lopez who are rated No. 1 and No. 5 by The Ring Magazine respectively at 135-pounds.

“I’m really looking forward to the fight and it is at MSG so it [will] be a dream come true,” Commey (29-2, 26 knockouts) told The Ring. “As far as I’m concerned it’s the Mecca of boxing. To be honest it doesn’t matter who it is, I’ve worked so hard for this belt no one is taking it from me.”

Last time out Commey impressively stopped former titleholder Ray Beltran, while Lopez didn’t look at his brilliant best, though edged tough Japanese fighter Masayuki Nakatani.

The 32-year-old Ghanaian isn’t reading too much into that and knows styles make fights but is resolute in his determination that he’ll turn back the youngster.

“The Beltran fight was a great fight for me at the right time,” he said. “My team did a fantastic job in getting me that fight and Beltran has still got a lot left in the tank. It gave me the opportunity to show everyone what I can do.

“I don’t read into my opponents’ fights as anything can happen on the night. In regards to Teofimo’s fight with Nakatani I’m sure he learnt a lot but it won’t change my approach, I will still train as hard as I possible can to be in the best shape I possibly can to retain my title.”

His long-time manager Michael Amoo-Bediakois disappointed with the lack of respect his fighter gets by some, though feels that will change after appearing on such a significant sporting date in the media capital of the world.

“On the contrary, it’s a huge opportunity for Teofimo Lopez, people should start giving Richard the respect he’s due,” said Amoo-Bediako. “He’s not a hype job nor is he a prospect but a world champion who has earned his belt the hard way.

“It really bugs me, I feel in some quarters Richard is not given the credit he is due, he’s been in The Ring Magazine lightweight ratings for 222 weeks, apart from  Robert Easter Jr. and Anthony Crolla he’s been on the list 120 weeks more than any other lightweight.

“December 14 at MSG will give Richard tremendous exposure as it is Heisman Trophy night in New York televised by ESPN then the bout straight after with around 5 million viewers so in that sense it’s a great opportunity for Richard to reach a wider audience.”

Co-manager, Keith Connolly, believes the big occasion will bring out the best in Commey.

“This fight is by far the biggest of Richard’s career and I expect him to the rise to the occasion and beat Teofimo Lopez,” said Connolly. “He knows this victory puts him on a different level of recognition and sets him up for the big unification fights he wants.”

Commey’s promoter Lou DiBella thinks his fighters will take Lopez into deep water.

“Richard Commey is the most dangerous and underestimated champion at 135 pounds,” said DiBella. “While Teofimo Lopez is a terrific young fighter, he’s never fought anyone like Richard.

“Teofimo’s last fight evidenced that he is still a work in progress; that progress will be further interrupted when Richard Commey successfully defends his title on December 14. A showdown with [Vasiliy] Lomachenko is Richard’s destiny; the kid will have to wait for his turn.”

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright