In the immediate aftermath of George Kambosos Jr. being declared a winner by split decision and the new unified world lightweight champion Saturday night, Teofimo Lopez insisted that he won the fight.
“Everybody knew I won tonight,” Lopez told DAZN’s Chris Mannix in the ring inside the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
“I don’t believe it was a close fight at all. I believe that at the end of it all, I scored 10-2.”
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Listening to it all, the newly-coronated champ responded without pulling any punches.
“You’re a bit delusional, brother, alright? Listen, I got the belts, I won the fight,” Kambosos shot back.
“Look at your face,” he added, referring to a battered Lopez, who sported a nasty gash over his left eye. “But you know what? I came here, I gave you all the respect in the ring, I won the fight, I won the belts. Take a look at the champ, move on.”
That last part is exactly what Lopez should do — move on from 135 pounds to junior welterweight.
Kambosos offered the 24-year-old Brooklyn, New York native another “war," but in Australia in front of 80,000 people. Lopez should humbly decline and start to set up shop at 140 pounds, instead.
Before the post-fight press conference was dashed, so that both fighters could be checked out at a local hospital, Lopez did disclose what a struggle it has been to continue to make lightweight at 135 pounds. Not just for this fight, either. More like dating back to 2019.
“I’ve been feeling this for two years now,” Lopez told Mannix about possibly having his last fight at 135 pounds.
“They’ve been draining me the whole time,” Lopez added about making lightweight.
“I stood here when I should’ve just dropped the fights like everybody else did when they won all the belts.”
Yes, Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs) was shell-shocked from suffering his first pro loss after an absolute war but if struggling to make weight has been an issue for two years — as the man himself said — it’s time to move on to new pastures. Defeating Vasiliy Lomachenko to become the unified world lightweight champion was his hallmark at 135. Now, it's time to add to his lore at 140.
Prior to being upset by mandatory challenger Kambosos, Lopez spoke about having a mega bout with undisputed junior welterweight ruler Josh Taylor in 2022. Taylor fights Jack Catterall as his own mandatory challenger on Feb. 26. Perhaps Lopez could use the first quarter of the New Year preparing himself to fight at 140 pounds and possible catch Taylor in the late spring or summer before the 30-year-old tries to line up a bout with WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford.
Even if Taylor has moved on by then and dropped the titles the way Lopez said he should’ve done a division underneath, it’s time for “The Takeover” to redirect and conquer new territory.
After all, that could very well be the best option to allow "The Takeover" to continue with a new chapter.