Rising lightweight contender Teofimo Lopez (12-0, 10 KOs) believes Vasiliy Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) is already worried about a potential clash between the two of them.
Lopez was ringside last week at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and watched Lomachenko retain his WBA, WBO lightweight world titles with a brutal knockout of mandatory challenger Anthony Crolla in four rounds.
Lopez returns to the ring on Saturday night when he faces Edis Tatli (31-2, 10 KOs) as part of the co-main event to the ESPN pay-per-view card, featuring Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan, from Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Lopez is pushing to get Lomachenko this year, but their mutual promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank is more inclined to make that fight in early 2020.
More likely, Lomachenko could travel to the UK to face fellow Olympic gold medal winner Luke Campbell, and Lopez would face International Boxing Federation champion Richard Commey in July.
“All of these fighters say they’re going to ‘try’ to beat [Lomachenko],” Lopez said to the Los Angeles Times. “We don’t try. We’ll beat you. He’s already worried about me, saying, ‘Don’t have him in my hotel,’ [last week]. Obviously, we’re in his mind. We’re already winning the battle.”
“Why not [face Lomachenko in his prime]? Who’s the only exciting fighter out there at 135? Teofimo. So if he wants to fight the best … I’m in that category now and that’s a fight everyone wants to see. We’re dominating. This is a takeover.
“I’m going to try my best to maintain [my weight], but right now I’m nine pounds over and we’re one week away … those last couple pounds will get harder and harder to lose because my body wants to grow. My body wants to move to 140. Do I want the [Lomachenko] fight to happen? Absolutely. But I’m not going to force myself to the point I kill myself if they don’t want to push it early.”