Teofimo Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs) says he’s 100 percent prepared to face IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey (29-2, 26 KOs) this Saturday night on ESPN at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Lopez, 22, says his stock will either go up dramatically after Saturday or it’ll drop to the point where he’s “irrelevant” in the eyes of boxing fans.
After Teofimo’s last performance in struggling to beat Masayoshi Nakatani by a 12 round decision last July, a lot of people are underestimating him. They feel that Commey, 32, will have too much power, too much seasoning and too much talent. If that’s what happens, Lopez will need to make a decision whether it’s worthwhile for him to stick it out in the sport.
Commey vs. Lopez will be battling in the co-feature on the stacked Top Rank promoted card on Saturday at 9:00 p.m., ET/6:00 p.m., PT. In the main event, WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs) will be defending against unbeaten mandatory Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs).
Teofimo’s weight won’t be a problem for Commey fight
“The best camp that I’ve had,” said Teofimo to Fighthype. “I feel great. Andy Ruiz wasn’t listening. That’s what happens. In general, when you win something like that, you get comfortable, and that’s what he said. He got comfortable, he didn’t listen, and felt like he knew it all. I’m more excited now than I was before.
“The weight is not an issue. I’m within reach of the belt to become a world champion, so I know that. I know what I have to do. I’m going to go out there and shine like I always do. The weight cut is good. I was sparring with [former IBF light welterweight champion] Ivan Baranchyk. A tough mother-f—. We got our rounds in, and we went at it.
“He’s [Baranchyk] got a similar style as Richard Commey. He comes forward, hands up, tries to hit, swings hard and wild. It was good work. He gave me the rounds I needed. The guy is a former world champion. So this was a good camp. I can’t wait, because I know I prepped really good. You’re going to see on December 14th,” said Lopez.
It’s good news that Teofimo won’t have a problem with his fight, since he’s talked about wanting to move out of the division because he’s getting bigger. Teofimo will need to raise his game considerably from his last effort against Nakatani for him to come out with the ‘W’ against Commey on Saturday.
Commey has looked a lot better in his last 5 fights than Teofimo has recently, and that could be a big issue. The Ghanian Commey is peaking right now with five-fight winning streak over these fighters:
Yardley Armenta Cruz
Richard Commey is NERVOUS – Lopez
“You know why because he’s nervous,” said Lopez when asked if he expects Commey to come forward throwing bombs on Saturday. “Even though he’s a world champion and everything, I’m not saying he’s not the champ. He’s the champ. I think he’s nervous, and I know he is. I’m quick, I’m sharp, I’m fast, I’m strong, I’m dangerous, but the main thing is I’m explosive,” said Teofimo.
“I can come at any time, and trick you and come out of nowhere. The fight can be over. I think he’s going to come, but if he’s not, we’re ready everything,” Teofimo continued. “That’s why we prepped. Whatever they got Commey on, we’re ready for.
“People think I’m cocky or arrogant or any of those things, but it’s not. Honestly, in order to do what you do, you got to have this type of personality and this time of charisma that you have this type of character,” said the 22-year-old Lopez.
“It’s not like an act. You either have it or you do, but you have to understand when you feel like what you worked hard for, when you feel, ‘I’m the best at this s—, when someone thinks their better than you,” said Lopez. “‘Okay, prove it. Let’s fight.’ That’s what we have here. I believe I’m the best guy and a world champion already,” Teofimo stated.
Lopez has got the idea in his head that Commey is nervous, and that he’ll be fighting in a wild manner on Saturday. It’s unknown what has him believing that, because Commey has looked impressive recently with his knockout wins. He knocked out Beltran and Chaniev. That’s not a sign of a nervous fighter.
Lopez wants people to underestimate him
“Richard Commey is in my way, Lomachenko, Jose Ramirez, but anybody from 135 up,” said Teofimo in giving his plans for after Saturday’s fight. “If they think they’re the best, I know I’m the best; let’s box. That’s me, and that’s who I am.
“I want to test myself. And I want a challenge, and I want to challenge myself, because that’s the only way you’re going to get better. I want people to underestimate me, especially after my last fight. I definitely want them to underestimate me.
“Everything happens for a reason. That just gives me more flair and that fire to prove to everybody and to myself, I’m here. That vengeance, I just hold that, because that’s what is going to bring the best out of me on Saturday night,” said Lopez.
“I like boos. On December 14 on ESPN, Richard Commey vs. Teofimo Lopez. It’s going to be an explosive night, a big night for boxing, and a big night for sports. People are looking forward to this fight, because there’s going to be a lot in 2020. No, we’re not going the distance,” said Lopez.
The fans can’t help but to underestimate Lopez, given his lackluster fight with Nakatani. Teofimo struggled the entire night with the size, reach and the overall talent of Nakatani. That’s a fight that could have gone the other way.
Teofimo: It’s all or nothing
“This right here, it changes it all,” said Lopez. “My stock either goes up or it goes down. That’s what I’m looking at. This is all or nothing right here. This is where it all drops or we’re pretty much irrelevant after this. My thing is to keep going. I know I’m the best, and I know what I’m capable of doing.
“My stock is going to go up. It’s come Saturday night, how much is it going to go up? It all depends on my performance that night. I’m more than ready for this fight. I’m excited for this fight. I can’t wait. I can feel it,” said Teofimo.
Lopez’s remarks about how his stock will either go up or down suggests that he’s not altogether confident in himself going into this match. Some boxing fans believe married life has gotten to Lopez, causing him to lose the edge that he once had. It’s too late now to change that. He’s going to have to find that explosiveness that he once had if he wants to beat Commey.