Richard Commey eager to put Teofimo Lopez nightmare behind him, all set for Jackson Marinez
Big-punching former IBF lightweight titleholder Richard Commey will face once-beaten Jackson Marinez inside The Bubble at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Commey, who is rated No. 4 by The Ring at 135 pounds, will return to action for the first time since losing his title to Teofimo Lopez in December 2019.
“I am really looking forward to going back to Vegas,” Commey (29-3, 26 knockouts) told The Ring. “It’s been a long time coming, but I’m looking forward to getting back in mix. The division is on fire right now. Marinez is a very tricky customer, so I have to be fully focused.”
The 33-year-old Ghanaian remains hugely frustrated at the outcome of the Lopez fight, believing that he didn’t do himself justice.
“I give credit to Teofimo, he caught me with a good shot,” said Commey, who was stopped in two rounds. “Although I got up a bit too early, I felt I recovered and he really didn’t hit me clean with anything else. Being the champ, the ref could have given me a little more time. I made some fundamental mistakes which I will not make again, but I was very disappointed to lose in that manner.”
It was the first definitive loss of Commey’s career. He had previously been on the wrong end of controversial decisions on the road and therefore knows how Marinez feels coming off a highly contentious 12-round unanimous decision defeat to Rolando Romero in August 2020.
“I have watched the fight and he definitely deserved to win,” said Commey. “I have also been on the [wrong] end of hometown decisions with Robert Easter Jr. and Dennis Shafikov. It’s something that happens in the sport from time to time. It’s something that’s part and parcel of boxing. It’s not a good thing but it happens.”
Commey respects Marinez’s skill set and knows he’ll have to be at his best to get the win.
“I think he’s a very good boxer,” acknowledged Commey. “I believe he is trained by Robert Garcia, so I have to give him and his team the upmost respect. He looks very good technically, picks his shots well and is not scared to mix it. I’ll have to be 100-percent on my game to come out victorious.”
Commey spent several months back in his homeland before returning to New York last August to begin preparations for his return. He has remained true to the people that got him to the world title.
“As a person I haven’t changed, but I’ve learned a lot since that fight,” said the ex-titleholder. “I was a world champion, but since the loss, [it] seems like a lot of people have forgotten about me, which I understand as everyone is talking about these new, young lightweights.”
Everyone has an opinion on who’s the best at 135 pounds and Commey is well-placed to assess.
“Teofimo Lopez is the undisputed lightweight champion of the world,” he said. “He beat me fair and square, then he went on to beat [Vasiliy] Lomachenko, who was a unified lightweight champion and the pound-for-pound No. 1 in most people’s eyes.
“So, all other lightweights, in my humble opinion, are pretenders to Teofimo’s crown.”
Long-term manager, Michael Amoo-Bediako, has seen his fighter endure a difficult time since losing his title and is upbeat about his return.
“The most important thing right now is Richard beating Marinez,” said Amoo-Bediako. “We want to keep focused on that, but once Richard wins, he is open to fighting any of the so-called new four kings.
“I’m sure we will have plenty of opportunities as the division is stacked. Richard wants to be a two-time [lightweight] world champion, then moving up to 140 is a possibility that we have spoken about.”
Marinez turned professional in 2016. He fought exclusively in the Caribbean until he got his opportunity to fight in the U.S. on the undercard of Gervonta Davis-Yuriorkis Gamboa in December 2019. He stopped journeyman Yardley Cruz (TKO 2) before losing the aforementioned Romero bout. The 30-year-old Dominican Republic native sports a 19-1, 7 KOs record.
The ESPN telecast will be headlined by Joe Smith vs. Maxim Vlasov. The broadcast begins at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT.
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