The only adjustment that Teofimo Lopez Jr. is expected to make is adding five pounds to his frame.
That was the common takeaway among the team following Lopez’s first career defeat, a stunning split decision in favor of George Kambosos Jr. (20-0, 10KOs) in their thrilling lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO lightweight championship Saturday evening at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City. Lopez (16-1, 12KOs) was vocal in the months-long buildup to the fight about it being his last at lightweight, a sentiment his team fully shares to the point of not even thinking about staying at the weight long enough to attempt to avenge the loss.
“I don’t need no rematch, man. My mistake was leaving my son at 135 for so long,” Teofimo Lopez Sr., Lopez’s father and head trainer told SecondsOut’s ‘Radio’ Rahim after Saturday’s DAZN-streamed main event. “This game, you gotta knock everybody out. If you don’t knock everyone out, this is what happens. It was a complete robbery.
“We dictated the fight from the beginning aggressively. Everyone in the world knows what happened. Everyone is saying he won the fight 9-3, 10-2. The whole arena saw it, and it was just disgusting. I can’t believe what they did to us. But you know what? They just saved us.”
Both fighters were knocked down over the course of the Fight-of-the-Year level war. Brooklyn’s Lopez was dropped by an overhand right late in round one, providing Kambosos with a massive start and preserving that lead all the way through nine rounds.
Lopez rallied to drop the IBF mandatory challenger with a pair of right hands midway through round ten but was unable to close the show. Kambosos rallied to sweep round eleven on all three scorecards in preserving a split decision victory to unseat the defending lightweight champion. Lopez was vocal throughout the months-long buildup of the oft-postponed bout being his last at 135 pounds, having competed at the weight throughout his career and during the final years as an amateur including his representing Honduras in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Sticking around at the weight—and not anything tactical—was the only thing that went wrong on Saturday, as Lopez and his team see it. Even with the loss, the pre-fight vision remains intact to move up to junior welterweight where they hope to challenge for the undisputed championship.
“We’re gonna go up to 140, we’re gonna get a fight in February and then fight [lineal/WBA/WBC/IBF/WBO champ] Josh Taylor (18-0, 13KOs) in the springtime,” insisted the elder Lopez. “This doesn’t change anything. You know what I’m saying?
“We don’t got to perfect nothing. He’s just been at 135 for too long. He’s been there… since 2016 when he fought in the Olympics. It’s time for him to move up, so he can be stronger and dead all these people. Because you know what? From now on, he’s gonna knock everybody out.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox