Teofimo Lopez has the world at his feet and a clear path to next-level stardom. And, apparently, he knows exactly what path he wants to take to get there– he wants to follow in the footsteps of Floyd Mayweather.
The 23-year-old spoke about this path of his in the post-fight press conference following Saturday’s unanimous decision victory over three-title now-former world champ and pound-for-pound media darling, Vasiliy Lomachenko. Lopez acknowledged that in order to make the big-bank “Money” Mayweather-type fights, he has to put in the hard work, facing dangerous opponents like Mayweather did in the early part of his career when he was known as “Pretty Boy.”
“This the new generation,” Lopez told media. “We’re bringing back what the old school was. Fight the best and you push on it. I am not here to pick and choose who I wanna fight because I wanna defend my title and keep that 0.
“Now, who knows what my figures are gonna go up, if they are gonna go up after this?
“I mean, everyone wants to be like Floyd Mayweather. In order to be like Mayweather, you gotta be like ‘Pretty Boy’ first. You gotta fight those guys that they think you are not gonna win. You gotta fight the likes of those guys that are undefeated and is a good fight in order to make those millions that people wanna make.”
The Brooklyn native certainly has plenty of potential rivals with which to build his star power. As the now-reigning WBO, WBA, IBF, and WBC Franchise lightweight champion, there are a lot of intriguing possible matchups in the division.
Gervonta Davis is, arguably, the biggest and best potential rival. Davis will be facing Leo Santa Cruz on October 31 and seems ready to embark on a full-time run at lightweight. There’s also social media influencer Ryan Garcia, who’s about to take on his stiffest test in Luke Campbell. Devin Haney is also there, holding a WBC lightweight title and sharing a long-time rivalry with Lopez. All three of these potential foes are, like Lopez, in their early-20’s and firmly on the road to next-level stardom.
A move up in weight could also be in the cards. Right now, Lopez’s promoter Bob Arum has the junior welterweight divisional titles locked up with his fighters Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor holding all four belts. After the scheduled Ramirez-Taylor unification, it’s easy to see Lopez moving up to challenge for the undisputed 140 lb. title.
He’s also talked about moving up to welterweight for a run against the division elite as well as an all-action showdown with the fast-rising young star Vergil Ortiz Jr.
Lopez knows that time is on his side and, unlike many young stars, understands that building a legacy is key before one can start commanding mega-elite purses. His throwback mentality is an asset to a sport that is too often focused on quick payouts and travelling a path of least resistance to get to those paydays.
It sure seems that Lopez’s vanquishing of Lomachenko was a win-win for the sport. Hopefully, business realities don’t mess up the young fighter’s ambitious goals.