NEW YORK – Teofimo Lopez wasn’t willing to discuss possible opponents for his next fight in the immediate aftermath of his impressive win against Josh Taylor.
One of his potential future foes, Jose Ramirez, gladly discussed opposing Lopez, though, in the ring following Lopez’s 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over Taylor. Ramirez wanted a rematch with Taylor, who is the only opponent to beat him, but the former WBC/WBO 140-pound champion has shifted his focus to Lopez now that Lopez has knocked off the former undisputed champ in their division.
“Most definitely,” Ramirez told ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna when asked about boxing Lopez next. “You know, God willing, Top Rank is able to give that to me next. And let’s make it happen. You know, I’ll be honored to share the ring with Teofimo Lopez and, you know, take those belts back.”
Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs) and Ramirez (28-1, 18 KOs) are both promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., therefore their fight should be relatively easy to put together.
Ramirez, of Avenal, California, is ranked third among the WBO’s 140-pound contenders. Only Lopez, who was the number one-rated, mandatory challenger for Taylor’s title, and Arnold Barboza Jr. (28-0, 10 KOs) were listed ahead of Ramirez in the WBO’s most recent rankings.
The 25-year-old Lopez looked sharper in defeating Taylor than the Brooklyn native did during any of his three previous fights. Judge Benoit Roussel scored nine rounds for Lopez (117-111), but judges Steve Gray and Joe Pasquale scored their contest closer, 115-113 apiece.
“You know, Teofimo looked really sharp,” Ramirez said. “You know, he looked really strong and you could tell, you know, Taylor’s not the cleanest fighter, bro. You know, you saw it again tonight and I think Teofimo did a great job, you know, on the clinches. You know, after the first couple rounds, he took control. You know, and again, you know, I don’t know where Taylor’s at. You know, he’s been inactive for some time [15 months before Saturday night]. But hey, congratulations to Teofimo Lopez. He looked sharp.”
Ramirez was knocked down twice by Scotland’s Taylor (19-1, 13 KOs), once apiece in the sixth and seventh rounds, and lost their 12-round, 140-pound title unification bout by unanimous decision in May 2021 at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The 2012 U.S. Olympian still feels he would fare far better against Lopez than Taylor performed in a main event ESPN aired from The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
“Taylor looked really flat-footed, man,” Ramirez said. “He looked really flat-footed and Teofimo capitalized on that. You know, he looked very heavy on his feet. He looked tired after the fourth, fifth round, but you know, I feel like the Jose Ramirez now is a much better fighter than I was before.
“You know, and I feel really good mentally and healthy and, you know, I feel my skills overall are much better than Taylor’s, so we’ll have to see that night. You know, and I’ll do, you know, the talking with actions in that ring if I ever do face Teofimo Lopez.”
Ramirez, 30, has beaten Jose Pedraza (29-5-1, 14 KOs) by 12-round unanimous decision and knocked out Richard Commey (30-5-1, 27 KOs) in the 11th round in his two fights since his loss to Taylor.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.