Hot prospect Teofimo Lopez 14-0 (11) gets his chance to prove he is the real deal when he challenges IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey 29-2 (26) at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday night.
“It’s a blessing. It’s a breathtaking moment. It’s just something I have to visualize and just know that, 22 years old, I have a great opportunity here to do a lot. I’m excited, man,” Lopez said.
“What better way to finish off the year than fight in the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden, for my first world title, in New York? This is a moment right here.”
Lopez found himself on the receiving end of some criticism following his 12-round unanimous decision win over Masayoshi Nakatani in July, but the 22-year-old from Brooklyn said it was all part of the learning process.
“I think everybody needs something like that. I needed that. Everything happens for a reason. I take everything they try to throw at me negatively and turn it into a positive. You can’t faze me. You can’t bring me down. I’m here for a reason,” he said.
“Teofimo is doing what he’s doing come Saturday night. We’re going to go out there and take over. I have vengeance in me. I’m holding that, holding everything. I want to shut everyone up the best way I can, and that’s doing what I do best.
“God didn’t bring us this far for nothing. I didn’t come out here just to talk my smack and not back it up. We’re gonna do what we have to do. Richard Commey is a world champion for a reason. And we know that it’s going to be a great and exciting fight.”
Ghana’s Commey, 32, had a breakthrough year in 2019, winning the vacant IBF 135-pound title against Isa Chaniev in February and defending the belt against Raymundo Beltran in June.
“2019 has been a great year. I’ve worked so hard coming from Ghana. You know how it is. To get to this stage, man, just an amazing feeling,” Commey said.
“How many boxers have come from Ghana with a chance to fight in [The Garden] in the co-main event… God bless us, and I’m ready to retain my title. There is no way I’m going to lose.”
“The Teofimo-Commey fight, bookmakers have made that a 50-50 fight, so that’s obviously of great interest,” said promoter Bob Arum.
“Some young man who has three of the lightweight titles and is looking to fight for a fourth will be on hand. He’s coming in on Friday to watch this match. Vasiliy Lomachenko will be here. A lot at stake in this Lopez fight with Commey. Both great fighters.”
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