Teofimo Lopez Jr. had a barely completely different plan for his full-blown introduction to the 140-pound division.
As soon as upon a time, the objective was to parlay his lineal and unified light-weight championship title reign right into a shot on the undisputed crown at junior welterweight. That dream was on the imaginative and prescient board following his 2020 Fighter of the Yr marketing campaign that noticed him dethrone Vasiliy Lomachenko to unify the lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO light-weight titles.
It was considerably altered after his one struggle in 2021, a twelve-round break up resolution defeat to George Kambosos final November at Madison Sq. Backyard Hulu Theater in New York Metropolis. The objective of turning into a two-division champ stays in place, although simply not with any of the momentum he beforehand anticipated to take pleasure in.
“Failure is my greatest pal,” Lopez instructed BoxingScene.com. “It doesn’t imply that I would like that. However failure is the expertise that I wanted to develop. It’s all about altering the unfavourable to a optimistic, and the way I can higher myself. The very best venture you’ll be able to have on this world is ourselves. I had a change just a few issues, the diameter of my workforce and what’s wanted not solely to make an awesome champion however depart behind an awesome legacy.”
The subsequent step in that journey comes this weekend. The Brooklyn-bred Lopez will struggle in his adopted Las Vegas hometown towards Mexico’s Pedro Campa (34-1-1, 23KOs) in his first struggle above light-weight in additional than 4 years. The sensation of getting into on the heels of a defeat and coming in with one thing to show isn’t misplaced on the brash however humbled 24-year outdated, whose professional profession started three months after a controversial loss whereas representing Honduras within the 2016 Rio Olympics.
This one is a bit completely different, as Lopez was considered because the king of the light-weight division on the time of falling brief versus Kambosos. To today, he nonetheless contends that he gained their Struggle of the Yr-level slugfest, although two of the three judges felt in any other case—as did most observers.
Of better concern to these round him than Lopez struggling his first defeat as a professional was the bodily and psychological restoration course of.
Medical stories present that Lopez suffered from pneumomediastinum, a situation through which air leaks from the lungs or airway into the mediastinum. It was believed that Lopez—a longtime asthmatic who examined optimistic for Covid final summer time—entered the struggle with a small esophageal tear, as he was complaining of shortness of breath previous to the pre-fight weigh-in.
The bodily rehabilitation coupled with mentally getting again the place he wanted to be prompted Lopez’s handlers to reevaluate the strategy to his junior welterweight grand arrival. It led to selecting the 30-year-old Campa, a famous puncher whose lone defeat got here greater than 4 years in the past and who has spent his whole profession at or above the 140-pound divisional restrict.
“I belief Prime Rank and my matchmakers. I’m shifting as much as 140, plus all of the issues I had, they simply need to see the place I’m at,” accepted Lopez. “This man is 34-1, massive puncher and really aggressive. Not plenty of fighters stroll right into a struggle like that after the layoff I had. Simply shifting ahead, I need to struggle different guys on the prime tier. I’ve at all times been the man, I have a look at the blokes within the prime 15, prime ten. I’d moderately search for that than anything.
“After my first failure, my first defeat within the professional sport, they didn’t give me a lot of a say so in who I struggle this time. It’s OK, we take what it’s. We do what we received to do after which transfer ahead from there.”
Jake Donovan is a senior author for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox