It’ll be “the takeover” attempt take two for Teofimo Lopez Jr. when the former unified lightweight champion moves up to 140 pounds to fight Pedro Campa this Saturday at Resorts World in Las Vegas on ESPN.
Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs) has not fought since losing his titles to Geoge Kambosos Jr. in November via split decision in what turned out to be one of the biggest upsets in 2021.
The 25-year-old Brooklyn-born boxer is looking to regain the form that momentarily catapulted his status as the king of the 135-pounders after scoring a unanimous decision against Vasiliy Lomachenko in 2020.
“It’s been like I’ve been reminding my body that we don’t have to go back down to 135,” Lopez told ESPN’s “Max on Boxing” host Max Kellerman. “We will be at 140. I’ve been working a lot on conditioning and trying to build that stamina and everything because of everything that has happened in the past with the Kambosos fight.
“I had a rupture in my chest, a rupture in my esophagus, and I had bronchitis and early stages of pneumonia in that fight. I had a lot of problems in my chest area. So we’re basically focusing on trying to get better on that end.”
Lopez had arthroscopic surgery on his right hand and left elbow in February. He will be entering a division that has in recent years been dominated by Top Rank stablemate Josh Taylor.
The undisputed champion and Scottish southpaw Taylor has vacated two of his titles in recent months, however, and Lopez is hoping to look strong against Campa (34-1-1, 23 KOs) to reinsert himself back into the world title fold.
“I already am that elusive fighter, a dynamic fighter that you can rely on. Not just in the boxing world but all around,” said Lopez.
“I’m someone that’s definitely outspoken. I go out there and give the fans what they want to see. The back flips and the ‘Fortnite’ dances. I’m just an entertainer overall, and I keep myself out of trouble, which I think is the most important part.”
Another fast-rising fighter looking to make a mark at 140 pounds alongside Lopez is Ryan Garcia.
Garcia recently stated he would welcome a fight against Lopez if his long-desired tilt against Gervonta “Tank” Davis doesn’t become a reality.
Lopez answered Garcia’s overture by stating that he’ll fight anybody.
“Honestly, to be real, I’m willing to take on anyone,” said Lopez. “I’ve always been that way. It’s the ‘takeover.’ Nothing really changes from this point forward.
“I’m excited about this new chapter of my career.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.