New York- Over a year now since Teofimo Lopez sustained his first professional defeat and lost the unified lightweight titles to George Kambosos Jr. a stunning defeat to his motto of “ Takeover” of the lightweight division.
That fight was a fight postponed numerous times. Lopez had a bout with COVID. He left his promoters at Top Rank and platforms on ESPN. Lopez tested the waters, though Top Rank originally lost the purse bid to Thriller Boxing and his first title defense against Kambosos.
Problems continued with Lopez and Thriller. Between Thriller losing substantial income from the scheduled fight in June of 2021, at Loan Depot Park in Miami, the result of Lopez testing positive for COVID, renegotiations commenced.
Lopez and Kambosos Jr, would eventually meet many months later as Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn won the new purse bid and paid a significant amount. Lopez would later admit to having issues outside the ring that caused distractions in losing a 12-round decision.
And Lopez would eventually say he entered the ring with a breathing medical issue, later revealed as life threatening that could have hindered his ability to punch and jab effectively. There were reports any massive punches to the chest would have been detrimental.
There were also issues with depression and anxiety. There were reports of Lopez going on the downside and financial issues that contributed to debt, though, again, sources are conflicting about the latter issues.
Regardless, Teofimo Lopez never gave up hope. He has been a champion, battling the struggle of not being known. He became a wealthy and young champion, achieved his takeover and dethroned Vasily Lomachenko for the unified lightweight titles.
That was then and this is now. Because Saturday evening at the new Resorts World Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, Lopez returns and begins, as he says ,the next step of his takeover fighting as a junior middleweight, a division that also dominates the sport.
He also returns to his home at Top Rank and on the ESPN televised platforms. So all is good now for Teofimo Lopez,Honduras born, raised in Brooklyn,NY,living in Las Vegas.
“It feels great to be back here on ESPN, the greatest platform in the world.” Lopez said Thursday afternoon. “I can’t wait to show why Teofimo is the greatest of all time. A true champion never gets distracted. At the end of the day, this ain’t my first rodeo. 21 years in the game. Blood, sweat and tears. Do your research. See it. Five-time world champion. We’re just here to dominate and do what we always do: entertain.”
He said Campa will not deter his comeback and another takeover in a division that is stacked with former champions including Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez, a young superstar Ryan Garcia, the undefeated lightweight who plans to be part of the junior welterweight mix for his next fight.
Said Lopez, a much more composed individual who did not speak with his regular vulgarity of curse words “This guy is in front of me to stop my dreams and stop everything that we’re shooting for. Every time I go out there in the ring, I’m risking everything. I’m risking my life. We double down, every time. When it comes to me, it’s just me versus me, no one else. I thank God for that. He’s always in my corner.”
“My first loss? It was actually my 21st loss if we count the amateurs as well. So, I always bounce back. I’m always that type of person. The first step to success is failure. Saturday night there will be a lot of people tuning in.”
Campa, a Mexican with power and a punch will be a test. But Lopez is confident after his hiatus and halt to his takeover.
“Campa has that Mexican style of boxing. He’s going to be aggressive. This is going to be an all-out war. This is going to be a fight. And I’m very excited about that. I love competition.”
In the eight-round junior middleweight co-feature, Puerto Rican sensation Xander Zayes, the Puerto Rican and 20-year old superstar, who could step in the shoes of Hall of Famers Felix Trinidad and Miguel Cotto, will face Mexican veteran Elias Espades. Lopez-Campa and Zayas-Espadas will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Throwing The Punches: Juan “El Olimpico” Huertas will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) Latino lightweight title against Miguel “Explosivo” Madueno ProBox TV’s September 9 main event. These two ‘banger/punchers’ will fight at the ProBox Events Center in Plant City, Florida and the card will be streamed live at PROBOXTV.com and the ProBox TV app.
A ProBox TV monthly subscription is $1.99.
“I cannot wait to fight on ProBox TV again,” said Huertas “My last fight was on ProBox TV and I came in as underdog against an undefeated fighter and knocked him out in the first round to win the WBO Latino title. On September 9, I’ll be looking for a KO repeat to defend it!”
“I’m ready to fight Huerta today,” said Madueno. “I can’t wait to get back in the ring and showcase myself. What better opportunity than this one for a belt and on a big platform. I was not successful in my last performance, but styles make fights and this one is the perfect match for me. Huerta is tough, I know he is, but I will show the world that I’m tougher and better than him.”
“El Olimpico” Huertas (16-3-1, 12 KOs) from Panama City, Panama, represented Panama in the 2012 Olympics and made his professional debut on May 15, 2013. In his last two fights, following a two-year pandemic forced hiatus, he won both via first-round stoppage. His most recent win, on June 17 in Panama City, he beat Jonhatan Cardoso to win the WBO Latino Lightweight title. Huertas is a former WBA Fedecentro Super Featherweight Champion, winning that in only his seventh professional fight. He is also a former WBA Fedalatin Super Featherweight champion.
“Explosivo” Madueno (27-1, 25 KOs) is from Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico, now residing in Orange County, California. The twenty-three-year-old made his professional debut on January 27, 2017 and his September 9 fight against Huertas will be his first title fight of any kind. His last fight was the first and only loss of his professional career. His fourth professional fight was his only other fight that went the distance.
ProBox TV was founded by Roy Jones Jr., Juan Manuel Marquez, Antonio Tarver, Paulie Malignaggi and Garry Jonas. Miguel Cotto recently joined the team. As always, the ‘Big 4’ will be calling the action from ringside.
Rich Mancuso is a senior writer with Latinosports.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso. Watch “Sports With Rich” with Rich and Robert Rizzo Tuesday evening live 8pmET on the SLG Network and YouTube
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