Tuesday, October 03, 2023  |



Teofimo Lopez Jr. says he’s retiring—and no one close to him believes it

Teofimo Lopez lands a body shot against Josh Tyalor during their Ring Magazine/WBO junior welterweight championship at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on June 10, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
Fighters Network

Earlier this month, for one night, Teofimo Lopez Jr. was king of the boxing world again. The 25-year-old easily dispatched Ring Magazine and WBO junior welterweight titleholder Josh Taylor on Saturday, June 10, before a sellout crowd at The Theater in Madison Square Garden.

Lopez (19-1, 13 knockouts) was brilliant winning a unanimous decision that was far closer to Quebec judge Benoit Roussel 117-111 score than the 115-113 scores from England’s Steve Gray and New Jersey’s Joe Pasquale.

Moments after the fight, perhaps no one noticed or was willing to pay attention, Lopez said he was retiring. Perhaps more people picked it up when he repeated that to ESPN’s Max Kellerman on Monday, June 12.

Whatever the case, the newly minted Ring and WBO junior welterweight titlist maintains that boxing continues to disrespect and mistreat him—and he’s tired of it. He told Ring he walked away with a six-figure sum in handing Taylor (19-1, 13 KOs) his first professional loss (the New York State Athletic Commission stated his purse as $1.5 million).

Love him or hate him, Lopez is a special talent. The version of him that tore apart Taylor on June 10 could beat any 140-pounder in the world. It was Lopez’s return to “slick boxer Gordo,” a previous rendition before he converted to slugging early in his pro career. He’s highly intelligent, far more than the boxing media, or fans give him credit for, and there is a tendency to believe him when he says he’s retired, because there is a very stubborn side to him. If you tell him one thing, he’ll smash it in your face, and despite himself, he’ll do the opposite. So, when he says something like he’s retiring from boxing, and that gets greeted by many so-called boxing pundits with derision, he might just stay retired.

“I’m really retiring, and I want to look young, feel fresh, and I look great,” Lopez said. “I know no one believes that. I know no one close to me believes it. I have businesses going, hoping to open a gym in Miami, Florida, or somewhere around there and I see how dirty boxing is getting, and I want to try and help the sport. I’m going to brand out Teo Promotions. I want to train fighters; I plan on still being involved in the sport. I have other good things going, and I want to get out while my brain is still functioning normally. My father heard about it, and this is news for him, like it is everyone else.

“He thinks I’m saying this out of emotion, but I’m working on things. I’m young, and I want to take advantage of that. Boxing needs me. I don’t need boxing. I have been able to capitalize on my success in boxing. I guess I’m tired of being used. I give the people what they want, and I get spit on. Haven’t people had enough of me already (laughs)? I had people saying I was mentally ill, that I was going to commit suicide, and that Taylor was going to end my career.

“People are saying this retirement thing is because of the divorce situation (with his ex-wife). It may look like that, Captain Obvious, but it’s not. It’s about respect. You have ESPN inviting Shakur Stevenson, Tank Davis, Devin Haney and Claressa Shields to the ESPYs—and I’m not.”

“Well, none of that happened, did it? I look pretty. I have all my eggs lined up in a basket. I love boxing, but it would take nine figures for me to come back. It’s not that I dislike boxing, I just don’t like a lot of people in the sport. Boxing is full of a bunch of f—g schmucks. It’s filled with backstabbers and scumbags. I have a high priority right now to take care of myself.

“I did ask myself if I still have it. With the Taylor win, and the momentum I got off that, I can build to other things. I know a lot of people don’t like me, and I know a lot of people do like me. I like to be the guy who kids can place some hope in and be an inspiration for kids who want to get involved with the sport.”

When Lopez went to his father, Teofimo Lopez Sr., with this news, his father didn’t believe him. A few days after Lopez Jr. beat Taylor, he was working out in a gym.

“No one close to me, no one in my family or my friends, believes I’m retired,” Lopez Jr. said. “I believe me. I’ve built a lot. I have a big fight coming up in court, which is the biggest fight of my life for my son. I am not a slave to anyone or boxing. The only one I serve is God Almighty. I got what I got from boxing and I’m out. Give this time. I’ll create more business opportunities and I need time to grow that. When I put my mind to something, I become great at it. I started playing basketball and I’ve become very good. I can beat Floyd Mayweather in a game of one-on-one. Think people would pay to see that? Now, I don’t know if I would be willing to play Danny Garcia one-on-one. That may be different.”

Lopez Jr. also stressed that his personal situation, which has been well documented, has nothing to do with his retirement announcement. Feeding more into his underappreciated argument is the fact that his fight against Taylor peaked at 980,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research, making it the most viewed boxing main event on network or cable TV in the U.S. in 2023, according to BoxingScene.

“Once I get the love I feel I deserve and people scream ‘I want Teo back, I want Teo back,’ maybe I’ll think about it, and I’ll wait to hear from the people if they want me back,” Teo Jr. said. “If they want me back, that’s great. That’s a big win for me. It feels like I’m not appreciated. The boxing industry slaps me in the face. They put me down because I do things the way I want to do them. Never doubt me.

“People are saying this retirement thing is because of the divorce situation (with his ex-wife). It may look like that, Captain Obvious, but it’s not. It’s about respect. You have ESPN inviting Shakur Stevenson, Tank Davis, Devin Haney and Claressa Shields to the ESPYs—and I’m not. Claressa is the only one who really deserves to be invited from that group. I’m nowhere to be found. I gave up the WBO belt and I will give up the Ring belt, but I want the Ring belt. I’ll figure that out a year from now. I’m affiliated with ESPN through Top Rank, and if my own network doesn’t want to support me, after I got their highest rating this year, what can I do? I have to get out.”

Lopez Jr. is still working out.


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.
Follow @JSantoliquito