Arnold Barboza (25-0) enjoyed a solid 2020 campaign. Like many fighters, the start to his year was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
His first fight took place in August when he won a dominant decision over Tony Luis (29-4). Less than 2 months later the super lightweight contender returned to the ring and won the biggest fight up until this point of his career against former title challenger Alex Saucedo (30-2).
If he had his way, his next fight would be a whole lot bigger.
The 29-year-old Southern California based fighter said that he would like nothing more than be the first to face IBF/WBA/WBO/WBC Franchise lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez when he makes his oft-mentioned moved up to 140 pounds.
“There are a lot of little kids at 135 who are talking about going to 140 like it is a cakewalk but believe me it isn't like that,” Barboza told BoxingScene.com.
“[Lopez] is acting up and if Top Rank wants me to fight him for being disloyal just throw me a few extra dollars and I will f--- him up. He is disloyal and thinks he is just going to come here and fight for a title without putting work in. He put in work against 135 pounders but not here at 140. He beat a small lightweight in Loma but he hasn't done anything at this weight. Let me welcome him to the division. I am a top guy in the division. If Top Rank wants me to teach him a lesson I will do it.”
Lopez captured the IBF lightweight title with a highlight reel knockout of Richard Commey in December, 2019. He captured the rest of his collection of belts with his big upset victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko this past October.
He got off to a fast start in the fight and held off a late rally by Lomachenko that was too little too late. Barboza gives him credit for getting the win but believes the later rounds could be a sign of things to come in the future.
"Loma really picked it up towards the end and then Teofimo's face started changing. You could see it as it was unfolding. He needs to think about it if he really wants to go up in weight and if he does I am here to welcome him,” Barboza stated.
Barboza’s statements about disloyalty stem from the recent dispute between Lopez and their mutual promoter Top Rank Inc. Lopez refused to accept Top Rank’s final offer for his upcoming mandatory defense against George Kambosos Jr. which caused the fight go to a purse bid which was won by the Triller app.
The upstart streaming service submitted a bid of over $6 million which blew away Top Rank’s bid of $2.3 million. Lopez said that there was, “no going back,” after the purse bid fallout and that the relationship was beyond repair.
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