It wasn’t that long ago that Josh Taylor and Teofimo Lopez were as hot as anybody in boxing.
Taylor won the World Boxing Super Series with a victory over Regis Prograis, snared a pair of belts at Jr. welterweight, and then completed unification of the division in 2021 with a two-knockdown decision over Jose Ramirez.
Then came Jack Catterall and a long layoff.
Lopez knocked out veteran Richard Commey and then won a solid decision over Vasyl Lomachenko in 2020 to lay claim to the vacant lineal crown at lightweight, adding three major titles and a debated version of the fourth.
Then came a layoff, a loss to George Kambosos, and when last seen a narrow win over Sandor Martin.
Taylor and Lopez officially defeated both Catterall and Martin. There was an argument in the other direction in both bouts. Lopez clearly hasn’t looked the same since the Lomachenko fight. Taylor’s night with Catterall is the lone off night on his ledger but no one has seen him again since that February 2022 bout to assess where he really is.
We’ll all find out at the same time:
06/10: 140 - World Champion Josh Taylor (19-0, 13 KO, TBRB/Ring/WBO) vs. TBRB #10 Teofimo Lopez (18-1, 13 KO)
It’s easily June’s most intriguing fight.
Taylor has shorn three of the four belts he won outside the ring but remains the lineal king of the class. He looked like one of the sports elite before a listless performance against a clever Catterall, but with just one fight in over two years he has little time to waste. In Lopez, he has a name opponent that will get people talking with a win…even considering how Lopez has looked since the Lomachenko loss.
Lopez has often appeared lost and frustrated in his last three fights: impatient, one-dimensional, and sometimes even confused. The thing about Lopez is he’s still young (just 25) and his physical talent is excellent. There is time to right the ship and Taylor is a hell of a way to try.
One of these two is going to be right back on track with a win. If both fight with the desperation the moment requires, we could get a hell of a fight.
June is another month in 2023 packed with fights that could pay off for fans in the year of the matchmaker. There are some potential gems out there…On June 10, Jaime Munguia moves to super middleweight for a showdown with Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Munguia has been carefully managed for several years while Derevyanchenko has never quite gotten over the hump against name opponents despite some game appearances. There will be some heavy leather flying in this one…The same day, circle Carlos Canizales-Daniel Matellon at Jr. flyweight as a likely banger as well…Floyd Mayweather’s exhibition tour continues this month with a show against John Gotti III. Someone out there might find that interesting…Tim Tszyu-Carlos Ocampo on June 17 will give Tszyu a chance to keep active while he waits for his shot at injured Jr. middleweight king Jermell Charlo. Can Ocampo derail Tszyu? Probably not but he’ll give him some rounds…The sleeper date of the month could be June 24. Kazuto Ioka-Joshua Franco II at Jr. bantamweight should be excellent and hopefully resolve their contentious draw in the first fight. Carlos Adames-Julian Williams at middleweight wasn’t the most popular fight on the Showtime schedule when announced but if Williams can find his form this is a very good scrap.
Additional Title Fights in June
06/10: 112 - #1 Sunny Edwards (19-0, 4 KO, IBF) vs. Andres Campos (15-0, 4 KO)
06/13: 108 - #5 Sivenathi Nontshinga (11-0, 9 KO, IBF) vs. Regie Suganob (13-0, 4 KO)
06/17: 140 - #1 Regis Prograis (28-1, 24 KO, WBC) vs. Danielito Zorrilla (17-1, 13 KO)
06/24: 115 - #2 Kazuto Ioka (29-2-1, 15 KO) vs. #3 Joshua Franco (18-1-3, 8 KO, WBA)
06/24: 115 - #4 Fernando Martinez (15-0, 8 KO, IBF) vs. Jade Bornea (18-0, 12 KO)
06/03: 160 - World Champion Claress Shields (13-0, 2 KO, WBA/WBC/IBF/WBO) vs. Maricela Cornejo (16-5, 6 KO)
06/10: 122 - Cherneka Johsnon (15-1, 6 KO, IBF) vs. Ellie Scotney (6-0)
06/10: 122 - Mayerlin Rivas (17-4-2, WBA) vs. Nazarena Romero (13-0, 7 KO)
06/10: 118 - Nina Hughes (5-0, 2 KO, WBA) vs. Katie Healy (6-0)
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.