Teofimo Lopez and Jamaine Ortiz are finalizing a deal to fight for Lopez’s WBO junior welterweight title on Feb. 8 in Las Vegas, sources told ESPN.
The 140-pound championship bout will headline Top Rank Boxing on ESPN on a Thursday evening, three days before Super Bowl LVIII is played in the same city.
Lopez, one of boxing’s rising stars, is coming off a superb performance in June when he dominated Josh Taylor via unanimous decision to become a two-division champion.
The triumph was a rebound of sorts for Lopez, who struggled to earn a split decision over Sandor Martin six months earlier. Taylor was the undisputed champion but vacated three of his four titles ahead of the Lopez fight.
Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs) briefly claimed retirement after the victory, but reversed course soon after. The 26-year-old, who fights out of Las Vegas, is ESPN’s No. 2 boxer at 140 pounds. Lopez’s career-best performance remains his unanimous-decision victory over future Hall of Famer Vasiliy Lomachenko in October 2020. Lopez went on to lose his lightweight championship to George Kambosos in ESPN’s 2021 Upset of the Year.
And it was against Lomachenko that Ortiz (17-1-1, 8 KOs) proved his capability on the top level.
The 27-year-old from Worcester, Mass., was in control during the first half of the October 2022 bout – Ortiz was a 12-1 underdog – before he faded down the stretch. But before he did, he displayed his jab, strength and athleticism against an all-time great.
That performance followed his breakthrough win over former titleholder Jamel Herring earlier that year. Now, Ortiz will move up to 140 pounds for his first world title shot. And it comes against a fighter he shares history with.
It was Lopez who defeated Ortiz in the 2015 National Golden Gloves Quarterfinal. Nearly 10 years later, they meet again with far greater stakes.
“I was impressed by Ortiz, really,” Lopez told Fight Hub after the Ortiz-Lomachenko bout. “I think overall Jamaine Ortiz is still seasoned enough to give everybody else bigger and better fights as well.”