Josh Taylor doesn’t consider Teofimo Lopez’s previous couple of fights within the 140-pound division have been reflective of his true capability as a fighter.
The WBO junior welterweight champion from Scotland is on monitor to combat Lopez, of Brooklyn, New York, on June 10 in New York Metropolis.
The matchup will enable Lopez, a former unified champion at 135, an opportunity to change into a two-division world champion. A win for the 25-year-old Honduran American, furthermore, would go a good distance in turning again a few of the criticism he has confronted in his final a number of fights.
Lopez was seemingly headed for glory after he dispatched light-weight kingpin Vasiliy Lomachenko over 12 rounds of their light-weight unification bout in 2020. However Lopez, who resides in Las Vegas, got here undone in his subsequent combat the next 12 months, a protection of his titles towards George Kambosos Jr., who ended up successful a stunning determination. Since then, many onlookers have remarked that Lopez has not appeared the identical and have expressed concern for his psychological well being.
A transfer as much as 140 final 12 months after the loss to Kambosos has not executed a lot to quell his critics. Lopez’s final combat, a factors win over Sandor Martin at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York Metropolis, was considered lackluster with many viewers lampooning a efficiency that would have resulted in a loss.
In a latest interview, Taylor sided with Lopez’s critics, acknowledging that he has not been “impressed” with the previous champion’s stint at 140. Nonetheless, Taylor added that he believes Lopez stays a “nice fighter.”
“I wasn’t overly impressed together with his performances,” Taylor informed iD Boxing. “He hasn’t had nice performances. His first one wasn’t nice, then his second one wasn’t nice both. I by no means watched the total combat, however I noticed highlights of it and he didn’t look too good, you already know.
“Having mentioned that, Sandor Martin appeared like he was on the backfoot and form of operating away lots. However, you already know, you bought to go in there and do a job. He’s not been in nice performances, however you can’t take away from the truth that he’s nonetheless an awesome fighter.”
Taylor was initially set to combat Jack Catterall within the spring (March 4) in a rematch of their controversial combat final 12 months, however he suffered a foot damage that pressured him but once more to drag out of the matchup. As an alternative of discovering a brand new date, the organizers then pivoted to a Taylor-Lopez combat earlier this month, citing a mandate from the WBO for Lopez to contend for Taylor’s belt. However experiences indicated that Prime Rank had already been deep in dialogue with each Taylor and Lopez properly upfront of the WBO’s announcement.