Teofimo Lopez remains serious about his retirement talk.
The two-division lineal champion has severed ties with the WBO junior welterweight title just five days after the 25-year-old boxer dethroned Scotland’s Josh Taylor. Lopez insisted after his sensational win that he was done with the sport. His actions since then at least lend support to that claim.
“Just now Teofimo Lopez is texting me that he relinquished his Jr welterweight title,” WBO president Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcarcel told BoxingScene.com and select other reporters on Thursday. “We should respect his decision.
“If he come back, WBO doors will be always open for him.”
Should the WBO choose to immediately fill the vacancy, the process would call for the sanctioning body to run down—in order—its list of available challengers.
Unbeaten contender Arnold Barboza (28-0, 10KOs) and former unified WBC/WBO titlist Jose Ramirez (28-1, 18KOs) are ranked number-two and number-three, respectively in the most recent set, though not yet updated from the June 10 championship result. It is possible that Taylor could land at one of those positions once he is demoted from his still-listed championship status.
Barboza, Ramirez, Lopez and Taylor are all promoted by Top Rank.
Brooklyn’s Lopez (19-1, 13KOs) became a two-division champion following perhaps the best performance of his young career this past Saturday at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City.
The former lineal and unified lightweight champion overcame a strong opening round from Taylor (19-1, 13KOs) before he managed to buckle the defending champ with a left hook in round two. The fight was competitive through four rounds before Lopez lived up to his ‘Takeover’ nickname as he outboxed and outfought Taylor over the balance of the fight to become a true lineal champion at his second weight.
Shortly thereafter, Lopez declared that he was done with the sport—a claim he has repeated in the aftermath of his career resurrection.
“Thank you everyone for making the greatest moments in my career a GREAT ONE,” Lopez tweeted on Thursday, confirming the WBO’s update. “Thank you Top Rank and ESPN for creating ‘THE TAKEOVER’ into a real thing!
“I am forever grateful for all of the sanctioning bodies in Boxing for showing me I can and am more than Boxing! What a career.”
Lopez won the IBF lightweight title in a December 2019 second-round knockout of Richard Commey, in MSG’s main room and just three years and fifteen fights into his pro career. The brash Brooklynite—who represented Honduras in the 2016 Rio Olympics—then dethroned WBA/WBO lightweight titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko in October 2020, to establish true championship lineage at lightweight.
The win over Lomachenko—regarded as a high-ranking pound-for-pound entrant at the time—saw Lopez also win the WBC ‘Franchise’ title. The transfer of the intended symbolic title created a still-continued debate as he was the recognized undisputed champion or If Devin Haney’s claim to the physical WBC title disrupted that status.
Regardless, Lopez was the man at lightweight at least through his next fight. George Kambosos Jr. scored an early knockdown and overcame being floored late in the fight to upset Lopez via split decision in November 2021 at Hulu Theater.
Three wins have followed for Lopez, all at junior welterweight. He looked uneven in victories over Pedro Campa and Sandor Martin but was viewed as the most lucrative option for Taylor, who attempted his fifth defense of at least one alphabet title dating back to his May 2019 points win over then-unbeaten IBF titlist Ivan Baranchyk.
Lopez shook up the division with his win over Taylor, though the top spot is once again up for grabs given his post-fight actions.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox