Teofimo Lopez says his win over Josh Taylor was in large part due to some revelatory tweaks his father made during training camp.
In an interview conducted after his sterling win over Josh Taylor to become the WBO 140-pound titlist last Saturday night at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Lopez credited his father and trainer, Teofimo Lopez Sr., for making a strategic adjustment that he feels led him to victory.
Lopez, 25, has been criticized for looking underwhelming in the ring since he dropped a decision to George Kambosos Jr. in November 2021. The year before Lopez had reached new heights in the sport by defeating three-division titlist and lightweight kingpin Vasiliy Lomachenko by unanimous decision.
But Lopez said that his father had realized ahead of the Taylor fight that what worked against Lomachenko was not applicable to other opponents, namely throwing a lot of punches. For Taylor, Lopez leaned more into his natural counterpunching identity.
“What helped the best was that he figured out the problem,” Lopez said on The Porter Way Podcast. “He was looking at a sparring I did with (former welterweight titlist Yordenis) Ugas. When I was sparring with Ugas he noticed, ‘Wait, you wasn’t throwing a punch [every two seconds.]’ So that was the problem (throwing so many punches). I had to throw a punch every two seconds. Meaning like a jab or something, just so I can stop the fighter from doing what he was doing. But it was actually only good when I was facing Lomachenko. But it doesn’t work for every other fighter. You know, Loma, he moves around a lot, you gotta be active with him.
“But all these other fighters, they were just trying to wait on me and trying to counter. I’m the best counterpuncher in the game. I’m kingpin in that. That’s what we was missing and he took that away from me. After he figured that out watching film, my sparrings from when I was younger—that actually happened like three weeks before my fight. And I thank God so much because he gave the blue print and it took so much of the pressure out of me to always think about throwing a punch because then I’m not analyzing the fighter and I’m not studying his moves, I’m not feinting, I’m not doing nothing but throwing jabs and trying to stay on that consistent throw-a-punch-every-two-seconds.”
Against Taylor, long considered the top fighter at 140, Lopez seemed to recover his former self. The Honduran-American found his groove in the second half of the fight and, by the late rounds, was beginning to paste the Scotsman with heavy blows. Lopez believes his performance vindicates his decision to stand by his controversial father, whom many said was hampering Lopez’s abilities.
“God does talk to us in miraculous ways and it really worked that way for him and what are the chances?” Lopez said. “I probably would’ve lost yesterday if we didn’t fix it.
“That’s why I didn’t want to leave my father because I knew there was something that we weren’t connecting with but that we could fix it in due time,” Lopez added. “Just gotta have faith in it.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.