It will be “the takeover attempt” for Teofimo Lopez Jr. when the former unified lightweight champion moves up to 140 pounds to fight Pedro Campa on ESPN this Saturday at Resorts World in Las Vegas.
Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs) has not fought since losing his titles to Geoge Kambosos Jr. via a split decision in November in what turned out to be one of the biggest upsets of 2021.
The 25-year-old Brooklyn-born boxer is looking to regain the form that momentarily catapulted his status as king of the 135-pounders after scoring a unanimous decision against Vasiliy Lomachenko in 2020.
“It was like I reminded my body that we don’t have to go back to 135,” Lopez told ESPN’s Max on Boxing host Max Kellerman. “We’ll be at 140. I’ve been doing a lot of conditioning work and trying to build that stamina and everything because of what happened in the past with the Kambosos fight.
“I had a tear in my chest, a tear in my esophagus and I had bronchitis and early stages of pneumonia in that fight. I had many problems in my chest area. So basically what we’re focusing on is trying to get better at that end.”
Lopez had arthroscopic surgery on his right hand and left elbow in February. He will enter a division dominated by Top Rank stablemate Josh Taylor in recent years.
However, undisputed champion and Scottish southpaw Taylor has vacated two of his titles in recent months and Lopez is hoping to prove strong against Campa (34-1-1, 23 KOs) to fit back into the world champion category.
“I’m already that elusive fighter, a dynamic fighter that can be counted on. Not just in the boxing world, but everywhere,” Lopez said.
“I am someone who is definitely open. I go out there and give the fans what they want to see. The backflip and the “Fortnite” dances. I’m just an entertainer overall and I stay out of trouble, which I think is the most important part.
Another fast-rising fighter looking to make a name for himself alongside Lopez at 140lbs is Ryan Garcia.
Garcia recently stated he would welcome a fight against Lopez if his long-awaited crush on Gervonta “Tank” Davis doesn’t become a reality.
Lopez responded to Garcia’s overture by declaring that he will fight anyone.
“To be honest, I’m ready to take on anyone,” Lopez said. “I’ve always been like this. It’s the ‘takeover’. From this point on, nothing really changes.
“I’m looking forward to this new chapter in my career.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, author and broadcast reporter. He is also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan and by email at manouk[dot]akopjan[at]gmail.com or at www.ManoukAkopyan.com.