George Kambosos Jr. doesn’t expect Teofimo Lopez to fight him again.
Based on Lopez’s tepid reaction in the ring Saturday night and comments made Sunday morning by the former unified lightweight champion, Kambosos believes he’ll head in a different direction for his first fight of 2022. Australia’s Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) isn’t contractually obligated to grant Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs) a second chance, but there obviously would be interest among fans and media in an immediate rematch of a 12-round, 135-pound championship bout Kambosos won by split decision.
“Yeah, I think hearing [what he said] this morning he wants nothing to do with a rematch,” Kambosos told BoxingScene.com on Sunday. “And I think he wants to spend some time with his [newborn] kid and, you know, take some time off, which is totally fine.”
The 24-year-old Lopez suffered a nasty gash above his left eye during their battle that’ll require several months to heal. The Brooklyn native also had tremendous difficulty making the lightweight limit of 135 pounds for the Kambosos bout, which might make him move up five pounds to the junior welterweight division for his comeback bout.
The 28-year-old Kambosos obviously has plenty of options now that he has produced perhaps boxing’s most significant upset of 2021. He holds the IBF, WBA, WBC “franchise” and WBO lightweight titles and is in position to pursue high-profile fights with WBC world champ Devin Haney (26-0, 15 KOs), WBA world champ Gervonta Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) or former WBC interim champ Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs).
Las Vegas’ Haney has to defeat his own mandatory challenger, Joseph Diaz Jr. (32-1-1, 15 KOs), on Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas to remain in position to box Kambosos for three more lightweight titles. Baltimore’s Davis also must overcome Mexico’s Isaac Cruz (22-1-1, 15 KOs) in their 12-rounder Sunday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Haney-Diaz will headline a card DAZN will stream. Davis-Cruz is the main event of a Showtime Pay-Per-View event.
Kambosos isn’t opposed to granting Lopez a rematch. The Sydney native just doesn’t get the sense Lopez will want to face him again.
“Even last night in the ring, you know, when I said it a few times, there was no, ‘Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Let’s do it! Let’s do it!,” Kambosos said. “Look, it doesn’t bother me no more. I’ve gotta sit down with my team and see what makes sense. But, you know, I know he’s got a lotta things he’s gotta get sorted now. He’s gotta, you know, recover. There was a lotta damage he took last night.
“I’ve gotta heal a little bit as well, even though I wanna be back in the gym today. So, we’ll see. We’ll see. There’s a lotta good names. But the best thing about it is I’ve got all the belts now, so I’m the shot-caller, I can pick and choose who I want. But again, I want the best. I want the best fights. I don’t duck or dodge anybody.”
Kambosos could see Lopez returning to the ring as a junior welterweight after taking a long break from training.
“There could be something up there,” Kambosos said. “Look, that’s on them. I came here this weekend to do a job, to take his belts. And whatever he does with the rest of his career, if we don’t meet paths again, I wish him all the best. And if he moves up to 140, I hope he wins whatever he can over there because if this is the end of me and Lopez’s road, you know, I’ll support him. And I hope he supports me.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.