Teofimo Lopez discusses his challenging 2021, Ryan Garcia & The Takeover 2.0

LAS VEGAS, NV – The past year has been challenging for Teofimo Lopez. After a 2020 campaign in which he shocked the boxing world by dethroning Vasiliy Lomachenko, who won the WBA (Super), WBO and IBF lightweight titles and was recognized as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, Lopez was 2021 not quite as worthwhile. He went through a divorce, dealt with health issues and suffered the first loss of his career at the hands of George Kambosos Jr.

But the defeat leaves the 25-year-old undeterred as he prepares to step back into the ring in a new weight class when he takes on Pedro Campa in Las Vegas on August 13.

MORE: Teofimo Lopez vs. Pedro Campa 2022 boxing match date, start time, odds, schedule and card

“It’s the takeover, takeover,” Lopez told The Sporting News during a media training session. Instead of moving away from his previous nickname, “The Takeover,” he’s doubling down. Why? Because his losses have only made him stronger.

“All the trial and error has made me a better man,” Lopez said while speaking about a year in which he lost his world titles, his wife and a health crisis that almost took his life. “I’m really grateful for the things I’ve been through. I just turned 25 and I’m really trying to understand what God is teaching me and where I’m going from here.”

Instead of brooding over the split-decision loss to heavy underdogs Kambosos, Lopez has chosen to move forward rather than look back. However, he concedes that he was far from 100% in his last fight and was marred by complications from COVID. And despite both a doctor and his team asking him to pull out of the fight, Lopez tried to push through, but he came up short.

For a parallel, look no further than two-part UFC champion Amanda Nunes, who faced Julianna Pena as a big favorite but was still reeling from COVID. Nunes was submitted in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. But when she fully recovered for the rematch earlier this month, she thoroughly dominated Pena and reclaimed her title.

Nunes told The Sporting News how difficult it has been battling with complications from COVID, and Lopez agrees he’s never felt anything like it in a boxing ring.

“It was like torture,” Lopez said. “The last time I felt something like this while fighting was when I was 10; I had an asthma attack in the middle of a fight going through the early stages of pneumonia.

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“The big difference was that it was only a three round fight, not 12. Nothing comes close to the torture I went through to even make it into the ring and still give the fans an exciting fight.”

Lopez is proud of himself for surviving the fight despite the unfavorable outcome. What he knows is that he can take anything and he’s excited to show the world just how dangerous he will be as he moves from 135 to 140 pounds and tries to become an undisputed champion in his new weight class .

However, while he has his sights set on the current undisputed champion Josh Taylor, Lopez has found a name that his peers want him to step into the ring with, regardless of what he looked like in his last fight.

Oscar De La Hoya recently announced that he will be ringside for Lopez’s fight with plans to put together a future fight featuring undefeated Ryan Garcia. But Lopez sees this as nothing more than lining up to stay relevant.

“It’s all cap, it’s all lies,” Lopez said. “If you want to call me out, take it all the way.”

Lopez believes his name is used on fighters to stay in the spotlight. But when it comes to signing contracts, they price themselves.

“It’s all about the money for these guys,” he continued. “All these guys are trying to keep their unbeaten record so they can make $100 million like Floyd Mayweather. But that’s not how you do it. It worked for Floyd Mayweather, but I’m going to show everyone how to do it if you stay the course.”

Lopez has made it clear that he will not turn away any opponent. But while others are chasing a check, he’s chasing his legacy.

Takeover 2.0 starts on August 13th.

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