Teofimo López took over, and now he should leave

By Rory Hickey: Teofimo López (19-1, 13 KOs) has done it again. López defeated Josh Taylor inside the Madison Square Garden theater to win Taylor the championship and his top guy status at 140 pounds.

López became the lineal lightweight champion just like he did at 135 pounds when he upset Vasyl Lomachenko in 2020. López, 25, has now conquered two separate weight classes.

Teofimo López announced his retirement from boxing after the win. López hanging up his gloves and never fighting again would be more amazing than his two upsets against Lomachenko and Taylor. However, I think Teofimo López should defy expectations once again by retiring from boxing and heading into the sunset.

López was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Honduran immigrants. Although López is only 25, it feels like he’s been boxing forever. When López was an amateur, he won the 2015 National Golden Gloves Tournament at lightweight. Following this victory, he won the US Olympic Trials, which usually would have earned him a spot on the US Olympic team.

However, Carlos Balderas had already clinched the only spot in the lightweight division of the US Olympic team. Rather than accept the disappointment, López Jr. qualified for the Honduran Olympic team and competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics. He lost to Frenchman Sofiane Oumiha, who won the silver medal .

Teofimo López made his professional debut in November 2016. López was knocked down in his first professional round by Ishwar Siqueiros before López took over and knocked out Siqueiros in the second round.

Teofimo López was Boxing Prospect of the Year in 2017 and gained popularity with knockouts and celebrations in the popular online game Fortnite. López found a niche fighting in Madison Square after the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

In 2018, he knocked out Mason Menard in spectacular fashion for the adoring crowd, then donned the jersey of Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray. The following year he beat Richard Commey to win his first world title and wore a Joe Burrow jersey as a nod to that year’s Heisman winner.

López is very comfortable doing things his way. After upsetting Vasyl Lomachenko to become the undisputed lightweight champion, he explained why he wouldn’t give Lomachenko a rematch, explaining, “Everyone [in Lomachenko’s camp] was an asshole to me, my father. [Lomachenko] I didn’t want to put a rematch clause in our contract.

López’s only career loss was to George Kambosos Jr. in a 2021 Fight of the Year contender, in which López lost all four of his lightweight belts to Kambosos, but he was lucky that was all. what he lost.

After the fight, it emerged that López had been struggling with air in his chest cavity – a consequence of a small tear in his esophagus, likely the result of rapid rehydration between Friday’s weigh-in and the fight. Saturday night.

Dr. Linda Dahl, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist who examined López after the fight, said: “He could have died, that’s for sure. How he breathed, I can’t even explain to you. It is as if someone had tied a set of 300 pound weights around his chest, as if his neck and chest were in a vice. That’s how he fought.

Regardless of the circumstances, whenever a boxer loses for the first time, their reaction is unknown. Initially, López seemed never to return to the top of the mountain again. Considering the volatility of some of López’s actions, adding a first career loss could have proved disastrous.

Teofimo López went through a lot of upheaval in his personal life, getting married and having a son with his wife Cynthia, only to later divorce and see his son very rarely.

Then there is Teofimo López’s father, Teofimo López Sr., who has coached his son since he was six years old. The elder López struggled with addiction throughout his life and was present throughout his son’s coming of age and boxing takeover, for better and for worse.

López Jr. has written disturbing posts on social media in recent years, wondering if life was worth living, among many other disturbing tweets. Teofimo is just one example, Ja Morant being another example. It makes you wonder how people in their early twenties can function under such intense media scrutiny.

Prior to his fight with Josh Taylor, López Jr. was interviewed by ESPN’s Mark Kriegel. Her father came into the room during the conversation. López Jr. answered one of Kriegel’s questions a little too honestly for his father’s liking, prompting a reprimand from his father. The “interview” ended with cameras capturing the two López’s shouting at each other; this exchange took place a few days before López Jr.’s victory over Taylor.

Part of what made López’s win over Josh Taylor so amazing was that it was only his second fight at 140 pounds, and López’s performance in his first super lightweight fight was left many questions.

Last December, fighting again after the Heisman Trophy ceremony, López was hoping for a dominating performance against Sandor Martin to announce his arrival in the 140-pound weight class.

After the final bell rang, López was announced as the winner and he donned a jersey of that night’s Heisman Trophy recipient, USC quarterback Caleb Williams. But there was no viral knockout or celebration, just more questions.

Questions about whether López really deserved the ten-round decision win. Questions about López’s viability in the 140-pound weight class. After the judges’ scorecards revealed his narrow victory, ESPN’s cameras caught López in a moment of doubt, asking for his corner, and indeed, a global audience, “Do I still have it? “

Recent reports state that López’s net worth is around $5 million, but there is no way of knowing López’s actual finances. Often the problem retiring boxers have is running out of money.

Divorcing Teofimo López adds another complication to his financial situation. But, with his personality and quick wit, Teofimo might get a few endorsement deals, and he might sign a broadcast deal with a network or streaming service to commentate on boxing matches or appear on studio shows as often or seldom than he would like.

Teofimo López is a top boxer, and his presence in boxing is good for the sport. But if he does choose to continue his retirement, I’m going to shoot for him. With everything Teofimo has been through in his life, especially in recent years with his mental health issues and health scare surrounding the Kambosos fight, perhaps retiring from boxing is the best move for him.

With the countless examples of boxers who continue to fight long after they should have retired, just clinging to the salary, the adrenaline rush or whatever motivates them, shouldn’t Teofimo be applauded? López for deciding to retire when he still has his whole life ahead of him?

When Andrew Luck unexpectedly retired from quarterbacking for the Indianapolis Colts in 2019, there was a lot of twist and fuss, with people being repelled by Luck’s decision or applauding his decision and everything in between. .

Four years later (with the Colts drafting another franchise quarterback in Anthony Richardson), everyone has lived happily ever after, especially Andrew Luck.

If Teofimo López sticks to his retirement, I hope he will be as successful in his new activities as in his boxing career.

After Teofimo López Jr. defeated Josh Taylor to reach the top of the mountain again, he knowingly asked the adoring crowd at the Madison Square Garden theater, “Do I still get it? Lopez certainly still has it in spades. Even if he swaps his heavy bag for a hammock, Teofimo Lopez will always have it.

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