Teofimo Lopez Jr. (15-0, 12 KOs) has no intention of curbing his prolific recent run of knockout victories just because his next opponent is Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs).
Lopez and Lomachenko will do battle in Las Vegas on Oct. 17, with the American's IBF lightweight title being put up against the Ukrainian's WBA and WBO versions.
The unification superfight is one both parties have wanted to get done as soon as possible, despite the COVID-19 pandemic grinding live sports to a halt for the better part of six months.
Brooklyn's Lopez, who finished six of his last seven victories inside the scheduled distance, has bombarded Lomachenko with trash talk for a long time, and with the fight signed, he continued to do so in one of his first media appearances since Top Rank confirmed the Vegas bubble show.
“Oh hell yeah, I gotta knock this guy out, man. Everybody loves knockouts, why not?” Lopez told ESPN’s First Take.
“What I do is very exciting. I’m a young, hungry fighter. A lot of people may call me arrogant, but when it comes to my sport, I’m very good at what I do.”
Later during the interview, however, Lopez interestingly was less emphatic about his prediction of stopping the man who made four consecutive opponents quit in 2016 and 2017 to earn the nickname "No-mas-chenko".
“I’m not going to look for that knockout. If it comes, it comes. But I trust my abilities,” he continued.
“I’m only getting stronger, and the fact that we’ve rested for this long, it’s going to be a bad night for this man … I think both of us probably needed the rest. It’s going to be a great fight to watch.”
Lomachenko's streak of retiring Nicholas Walters, Jason Sosa, Miguel Marriaga and Guillermo Rigondeaux does not particularly faze Lopez either, it seems.
“The guys that he’s faced and made quit were just too scared of everything he was able to do to them,” the 23-year-old explained.
“I’m a big 135 pounder. I can be fighting at 140 right now. I’m very comfortable at this weight. Everything that this man does that they say, he’s decreasing. I’m not even in my prime yet and I’m out here just outdoing guys.
"He’s on his way out, and it’s showing. Your body can only take so much damage, and I guarantee you we’re going to put some damage on this man.”