After defeating Vasiliy Lomachenko on Saturday night to become boxing’s undisputed lightweight champion, Teofimo Lopez has options for his next bout. But despite no rematch clause, a second battle against Lomachenko isn’t out of the realm of possibility, Top Rank’s Bob Arum said Monday.
“If you do a rematch, you want to do it after this COVID is over, where people are vaccinated so we could monetize things and we have a gate and everything,” Arum said.
Arum also sees Lopez, 23, vacating the titles and moving up to 140 pounds — a more manageable weight for the champion. However, an immediate jump might cause a delay in another title opportunity for Lopez. Typically an undisputed champion in one weight class would immediately become the No. 1 contender in the next class and get a title shot.
But in this scenario, that division is also waiting to crown an undisputed champion, with both Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez each holding two belts.
“If he goes to 140, he has a problem because obviously he wants to fight for a title and that’s taken up for the first half of next year,” said Arum, referring to the impending showdown between Taylor and Ramirez in 2021. “And then the winner of that fight has an obligation to fight [the WBO mandatory challenger Jack] Catterall.
“So you’re looking for, at best, the end of next year for him to fight for a 140-pound title.”
David McWater, who manages Lopez, told ESPN that it’s ”above a 50-50 chance” that his client stays at lightweight a bit longer, noting that Lopez was eating and taking in fluids regularly before the weigh-ins last week.
The IBF announced Monday that the winner of the bout between George Kambosos and Lee Selby on Oct. 31 will become the mandatory challenger for Lopez. But there are other enticing options out there for Lopez at 135, including Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia. Both have upcoming fights in the fall.
“Those would be attractive fights,” Arum said. “They have other promoters, Haney and Garcia, but I’m sure that they would be appropriate challengers for Teofimo. But again, I haven’t discussed it with him.”
It’s clear, though, a star was born in Lopez with his momentous victory over the weekend.
“He proved that he wasn’t just a one-punch slugger, but was also an astute boxer, and had command of the ring,” Arum said. “He showed some strengths we hadn’t seen before because I guess he didn’t have to show them. He had just gone out and knocked out his opponents.”
As for Lomachenko, Arum says that his strategy this past weekend was “ridiculous,” adding “he gave away half the fight. He came on — but it was too late.”
For Lomachenko, there is the option of moving to junior lightweight, where some solid opponents await, such as Miguel Berchelt, Jamel Herring and Shakur Stevenson.
“It seems to be that the 135-pound guys are too big for him,” Arum said.