“Bro, do I still have it, man?,” a seemingly distraught Teofimo Lopez asked members of his team in a post-fight moment picked up by ESPN cameras. “Do I still got it?”
The 25-year-old had just scored a shaky split decision win over Sandor Martin, December 10 at Madison Square Garden and was clearly basting in self-doubt. Just eleven months removed from an embarrassing loss of all three of his lightweight world title belts to George Kambosos Jr. in his first title defense, insecurity was plastered all over his face.
After a few days to stew on his poor performance and the moment of insecurity caught on camera, Lopez would come up with, probably, the absolute worst take on rebuilding his "brand." His live moment of on-air doubt, Lopez would assert, was actually a "strategic" move to intentionally swerve fans and media and keep his name in the public light.
Appearing on the ESPN+ State of Boxing show, the former 3-belt world champ would answer the question of "what was going through his mind" with the following eye-roll-inducing response:
"I know what a red dot looks like, guys. It’s just a strategic move. I know I got everything inside me to always win. That’s why we call it The Takeover…It was just a strategic move, so people will keep talking about Teofimo Lopez, which they’re still doing."
Nobody is buying that take, of course. To be honest, it doesn’t even look like Teofimo buys it, himself.
"Everybody knows that that’s cap," unified lightweight champ Devin Haney [who became unified champ by beating Lopez conqueror, Kambosos] told Thaboxingvoice. "He’s questioning himself so I think he needs to take some time away from the sport, get his mind right, and come back."
Going back to that ESPN+ State of Boxing interview, though, it’s clear that the young man is invested in going down with the ship when it comes to his weak explanation of both his poor performance December 10 and of that "do I still have it" moment caught on video.
“[I’ve got] everything," Lopez said. "I’m too fast, too smart and too sharp. I am. These guys [the other top fighters at 140] at least are going to come to fight. Get me a fight. You guys don’t understand how we actually work here, and that’s OK. You guys have not seen the best version of Teofimo. You guys think you know everything but you don’t. I’ve been with the great fighters and everything. I know what to do with southpaws. I know what to do with a lot of these fighters."
"Guys like that [Sandor Martin] that run?" Lopez added. "It’s going to be a difficult fight for anybody because guy’s just waiting for you to throw a punch. Y’know what I’m sayin’? A lot of these other fights, the Taylors, the Regises, at least they coming to fight. All these other champions right now in that division, at least they coming to fight. They’re coming to defend their belt, right? That’s their job, so at least with that you’re going to see a bigger difference.
"Every person that has tried to come and fight me have all been hurt and dropped. Each person. Anyone that boxes us we find different ways to beat them, absolutely. What Sandor Martin did was not boxing either. All he did was run."
Lopez would conclude his diatribe with proof positive that he had not learned a thing from his past two years of travails and was insistent on grabbing on to denial and delusion, instead.
"This is a good move [coming on this show to be interviewed] here for me, because guys like you are just gonna be shown [that you’re wrong], little by little," Lopez said. "You know? Now the whole thing is like, this is my hands. I have destiny here. Anybody don’t know how we work. They don’t know how we train. I know how it is. These guys have been in the division too long already. Their bodies are worn out. I’ve seen it in their fights. I can’t wait to expose it."