Home Boxing News Teofimo Lopez talks up Rocky-esque battle with Steve Claggett this weekend

Teofimo Lopez talks up Rocky-esque battle with Steve Claggett this weekend

Teofimo Lopez. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Ring Magazine and WBO junior welterweight champion Teofimo Lopez 20-1 (13) says he expects Steve Claggett 38-7-2 (26) to come out swinging like a fictional character from boxing’s most famous movie franchise when they meet at the James L Knight Center in Miami, Florida on Saturday night.

There has been some criticism from fans and the media about the selection of 35-year-old Claggett from Calgary in Alberta, Canada as an opponent for Lopez.

Much of that criticism centres around his seven professional losses and the dearth of wins over credible opponents. When he has stepped up in class, Claggett has fallen short.

But Claggett has proven to be tough and durable in defeat, with just one stoppage loss on his ledger in the Philippines 13 years ago. He is currently riding a nine-fight win streak dating back three years.

“My thoughts on Steve Claggett is a Rocky Balboa movie. I’m Apollo Creed, and that’s what I think of it,” the 26-year-old Lopez from Brooklyn, New York said to Sean Zittel’s YouTube channel.

“I don’t overlook him. He’s going to bring the best out of me in this fight. I pick those types of fighters to bring the best out of me. I want to see what more I can do.”

Lopez, who previously held the Ring Magazine, WBA, WBO and IBF titles at lightweight and holds a win over pound-for-pound level fighter Vasiliy Lomachenko, says he still wants to fight the biggest names in the 140-pound weight class, but he’s not going to sit around and wait for them to come to the party.

“The other champions in my weight class, even though I’m the lineal and the number one in the division, want to unify these guys,” said Lopez, whose lone loss was to George Kambosos Jr 21-3 (10) via split decision in 2021.

“We want to make these bigger fights. However, they have their agenda. They have their plans for their fighters. All I can do is stay active. That’s the main part about everything that I need right now.”

Lopez can be a hard boxer to catergorise. His upset win over Lomachenko turned heads, while his subpar showing against Kambosos baffled a lot of fans. His last three fights against Sandor Martin, Josh Taylor and Jamaine Ortiz all resulted in wins, but there were times in those bouts when Lopez looked vulnerable too.

The real question going in to the Claggett fight may well be, which version of Lopez shows up?

“If I’m not well-prepared, this is definitely a tough fight,” Lopez admitted. “This will look bad on my record if things go his way. Having that championship mentality, I believe I’m going to win with flying colours.

“I’m looking forward to a great match-up. We have the best matchmakers in the world. They know what they see and what’s going to come on June 29th.

“Steve Claggett is a high guard, come-forward pressure fighter. The guy doesn’t stop throwing punches, coming forward and the guy doesn’t take breaks.

“These guys are not easy fighters at all. It’s not easy. They’re tough, tough, difficult fighters.”