Teofimo Lopez won, but is he a threat at 140 pounds? Maybe not just yet

By the time Teofimo Lopez went through the ropes in November, he was the ruler of the lightweights and one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world after an upset win over Vasiliy Lomachenko.

Nine months later, Lopez entered the ring with uncertainty. How would the 25-year-old react in this fight after the shock defeat to George Kambosos Jr? After his first professional loss, is he still one of the best fighters in the world? Perhaps most importantly, is he ready for the best opponents in a new junior welterweight division?

Making his 140-pound debut, Lopez notched a seventh-round TKO victory over Pedro Campa in Las Vegas on Saturday, but offered few answers about his readiness to fight for a world title in this weight class.

Really, given Campa’s level, it was always difficult to get real answers. The Mexican journeyman, who is fighting outside his home country for the first time, was of course chosen precisely for this reason. Lopez’s promoter, Top Rank, wanted to secure a confidence-inspiring win for Lopez after a tumultuous year.

But when Lopez (17-2, 12 KOs) wanted to make some noise, whether it was a highlight reel KO or a quick destruction of Campa, he didn’t. And really, it’s hard to imagine Top Rank pairing Lopez with an elite fighter on his next outing, scheduled for December 10 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Lopez, 25, has called out top-level boxers like Josh Taylor, Regis Prograis and Jose Zepeda, but they expect them to be unavailable in December. Unified Champion Taylor is likely to face Jack Catterall in a rematch on November 26, while Prograis and Zepeda will battle each other for the vacant WBC title this fall.

Arnold Barboza Jr., who sat ringside Saturday, is ESPN’s No. 7 junior welterweight division and would provide a real litmus test for Lopez in December. So does Jose Pedraza, who must defeat Richard Commey first on Aug. 27 (ESPN).

If Lopez can return to spectacular form against a fighter at this level, he’ll prove he’s ready for the best at 140 pounds, a weight class suddenly brimming with talent.

In addition to the above, there’s also former champion Jose Ramirez, who decided not to fight for a title with Zepeda due to his marriage in October, and Subriel Matias, the high-volume Puerto Rican who could soon be in contention for a title.

For now, Lopez came through with the win and with relative ease. It didn’t have to be that his comeback was completed in one night, and Top Rank are among the most patient in the sport when it comes to reclamation projects.

He wrecked Campa at will and was never in any real danger. The real test should come in his December bout before The Takeback hits its final chapter in 2023 with a title shot.

https://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/34396045/teofimo-lopez-wins-a-threat-140-pounds-maybe-not-just-yet Teofimo Lopez won, but is he a threat at 140 pounds? Maybe not just yet

Emma Bowman

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