Teofimo Lopez upset the odds earlier this month by beating Vasyl Lomachenko to, not only retain his IBF lightweight title but also to take the Ukrainian’s WBA (Super) and WBO crowns in the division.
The American, from Brooklyn, remains unbeaten with a professional record of 17-0. He is now elevated to the number one position in the division, but is he also the biggest star in world boxing now?
Lomachenko definitely had claims for that title before his defeat to Lopez. He went into the fight on the back of impressive victories over Jorge Linares, Jose Pedraza, Anthony Crolla, and Luke Campbell. His run of wins was ended by the man who is nicknamed ‘The Takeover’ as he picked up the result by unanimous decision, with the judges’ scorecards reading 116-112, 119-109. 117-111.
Teofimo Lopez Jr. dons the Joe Burrow No. 9 LSU jersey and strikes a Heisman pose after taking down Richard Commey for the IBF lightweight title. 👀 pic.twitter.com/JpgpjslPm4
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) December 15, 2019
Lopez is just 23 years old so he is still relatively young in the sport. His best previous win before the Lomachenko fight came against Richard Commey in a second-round knockout. To reach the levels of the likes of Canelo Alvarez, Anthony Joshua, and Terence Crawford, he may need one or two more big-name victories on his CV.
The former National Golden Gloves champion is going to take some beating around his division over the next few years based on his performance against Lomachenko. If he continues to remain unbeaten and excites boxing fans, it may not be long before he takes the top spot in the pound-for-pound rankings in the sport.
Who Is Next for Lopez?
Now that he holds three of the four major belts in the lightweight division, Lopez will surely have aspirations of becoming the undisputed champion. To pick up that title, he will need to land the WBC belt crown which is currently held by Devin Haney. The WBC champion is set to defend his title against Yuriorkis Gamboa next month where he is the long odds-on favorite at -2000 in the boxing betting for the world title fight. Victory for the unbeaten American could put him in line to face Lopez for all four belts.
Gervonta Davis is another opponent who will be hoping to get a shot at Lopez. He is the WBA’s Regular champion, a title he claimed with success over Gamboa last December. His next assignment is an intriguing clash with WBA super featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz. If he comes through that test, his stock will be even higher.
There is also the option of Lopez moving up to the light welterweight division soon. This would set up some mouth-watering fights with either Josh Taylor, Jose Ramirez, or Mario Barrios. Winning world titles at two different weight divisions would do his reputation no harm whatsoever.
For now, Lopez will likely take some time off following his recent win. He has the chance to watch some of his potential opponents in the ring over the new few months and plot his next move very carefully. One thing is for sure, he will no longer go into the ring as the underdog as he has proved he is a worthy champion.