Teofimo Lopez Jr. faces off against Pedro Campa on Saturday night headlining an ESPN show from Resorts World in Las Vegas.
Although Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs) will be making his 140-pound debut and fighting for the first time since losing his lightweight titles to George Kambosos Jr. last November, a newfound narrative around his comeback has revolved around a potential fight with Ryan Garcia.
Garcia insists that a fight with Gervonta Davis is the one that he still most desires, but if the bout cannot be staged this year, a showdown with Lopez is a solid fallback option, he’s admitted.
Golden Boy Promotions head Oscar De La Hoya proclaimed over the weekend that he’s moved on from Garcia-Davis negotiations and is instead going to attend Lopez’s fight Saturday night.
Lopez offered his stance on the fight-week developments involving Garcia.
“That could be a publicity stunt to keep Ryan up in the feeds,” Lopez told Marcos Villegas of Fight Hub TV. “My fight is coming up. Everyone is watching me. Come on, guys. You’ve got to think outside the box.
“So I’m not going to believe it until I see the contract. Let’s talk about Pedro Campa, the guy I’m fighting this Saturday. Ryan did his thing [against Javier Fortuna], Tank did his thing against [Rolando Romero]. This is my time to shine. I’m not going to give all that to Ryan Garcia. F--- you. That’s how I feel. You’re not going to play me. Not anymore. No, not at all.
“I don’t duck no fighter. I take everybody they give me. Ask the Top Rank matchmakers. They’re the greatest in the business. I never say no to any fight, but right now, I’m focused on Aug. 13 and Pedro Campa. Ryan Garcia, he’s just hype. He’s all happy because of his last performance, so he thinks he can take on everybody. He feels like Superman, but really, he’s his own kryptonite.”
Top Rank will have plenty of in-house options to offer Lopez at super lightweight instead of Garcia should he look good against Campa.
Chief among them is current unified champion Josh Taylor, former champion Jose Ramirez, and contenders like Jose Zepeda, Jose Pedraza, Arnold Barboza Jr., and Giovanni Cabrera.
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.