Weights from New York for Taylor-Lopez
NEW YORK—Teofimo Lopez Jr. has a way of annoying. Let’s see if he’s gotten under the skin of Ring Magazine and WBO junior welterweight titleholder Josh Taylor this Saturday night at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden, which will be broadcast live in a Top Rank event on ESPN (10 pm ET/7 pm PT).
Seventeen months ago, Lopez (18-1, 13 knockouts) almost died in the very ring he’ll be stepping into, when he lost a split-decision to George Kambosos Jr. in December 2021.
Many believe Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) received a gift win with his split-decision victory over previously undefeated Jack Catterall in his last outing. The 32-year-old Scottish southpaw suffered a cut left eye, was down in the eighth and deducted a point late in the fight for punching after the bell.
Taylor will be the largest opponent Lopez has faced. Taylor also knocked off the undefeated Ryan Martin (TKO 7), Ivan Baranchyk (UD 12), Regis Prograis (MD 12), Apinun Khongsong (KO 1), Jose Ramirez (UD 12), as well as Catterall (SD 12).
“He means what he says, and I mean what I say,” Taylor said about Lopez during their Thursday press conference. “There is genuine dislike here. He’s been disrespectful. I’m going to make him pay for his words on Saturday. I can’t wait to get in there. You will see a Josh Taylor win, possibly by KO, and nice and early as well.
“I know he’s a good fighter. The version that beat Lomachenko is a very good fighter. That’s the version I’m preparing for. It’s all about your preparation. I’ve prepared diligently and to the best of my ability. You’ll see the best of me on Saturday night.”
Lopez hopes he does.
“What is ‘The Takeover’ if he doesn’t take over the guys that are the kingpins of the division?” Lopez said. “So, when it comes to Josh Taylor and the junior welterweights, he is the guy. That’s the guy that you have to beat to be the greatest. That’s what we aim for all the time.
“I worked my ass off. Eleven weeks of camp. This is going to be the best version of me. Practice makes improvement. We’ve improved since my last fight. We’re ready to put on a show. I’m going to be a two-time lineal world champion.
“I’m excited about this. This is like a dream come true. What more can you really shoot for? Nobody has really called out Josh Taylor. Who knows why? Maybe because he beat everyone already. But I’m here. I’m here to come in there and take everything that you’ve got.”
Here are the weights:
WBO and Ring Magazine Junior Welterweight Titles – 12 Rounds
Josh Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs), 139.8 pounds vs. Teofimo Lopez Jr. (18-1, 13 KOs), 140 pounds
Junior Middleweights – 8 Rounds
Xander Zayas (15-0, 10 KOs), 152.8 pounds vs. Ronald “Diablo” Cruz (18-2-1, 12 KOs), 152.4 pounds
Junior Lightweights – 10 Rounds
Henry Lebron (17-0, 10 KOs), 129.2 pounds vs. Carlos Ramos (17-2, 10 KOs), 129.6 pounds
Junior Welterweights – 8 Rounds
Omar Rosario (10-0, 3 KOs), 139.2 pounds vs. Jan Carlos Rivera (8-1, 6 KOs), 138.4 pounds
Junior Lightweights – 10 Rounds
Robson Conçeicao (17-2, 8 KOs), 130.6 pounds vs. Nicolas Polanco (20-4-1, 11 KOs), 130 pounds
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.
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