Teofimo Lopez On Jamaine Ortiz: I Can’t Overlook This Guy, Make Same Mistakes I Made Before

Boxing Scene

Teofimo Lopez produced one of the two most significant wins of his career in his last fight.

The former unified lightweight champion’s convincing victory over Josh Taylor on June 10 has re-established Lopez as one of the top 10 boxers in the sport, pound-for-pound, according to BoxingScene.com and The Ring magazine. Lopez is also listed by DraftKings sportsbook as a 7-1 favorite over Jamaine Ortiz entering their 12-round, 140-pound title fight Thursday night in Las Vegas.

The 26-year-old Lopez learned invaluable lessons, however, following his career-changing upset of Vasiliy Lomachenko and avoided making similar mistakes in preparation for his fight with Ortiz. Las Vegas’ Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs) is fully focused on Ortiz (17-1-1, 8 KOs), not the higher-profile fights in which he could partake if he succeeds in his first defense of the WBO junior welterweight title he won from Scotland’s Taylor (19-1, 13 KOs).

“Right now, we’re just focusing on what we have to do,” Lopez told BoxingScene.com. “That’s facing Jamaine Ortiz. That’s the main situation right now. I can’t overlook this guy. I can’t make the same mistakes I made prior to my fights before. And it’s all about that right now.

“You know, I have to remind myself every day and every night that this is the toughest guy I’m gonna face. This is the toughest guy. This guy right here destroys everything that I worked so hard for, so I’m not gonna give it to nobody that easy.”

 Ortiz tested Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KOs) for much of their 12-round lightweight fight in October 2022. Ukraine’s Lomachenko came back during the second half of that bout, much the way he did when he opposed Lopez, but the three-division champion beat Ortiz on points two years after losing a 12-round unanimous decision to Lopez in October 2020 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

The 27-year-old Ortiz outpointed former WBO junior lightweight champ Jamel Herring (24-4, 12 KOs) in his previous fight, a 10-rounder in May 2022. The Worcester, Massachusetts native has lost only to Lomachenko as a professional.

As an amateur, Ortiz narrowly lost to Lopez in the 132-pound final at the 2015 National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. They’ll fight nearby Thursday night, yet with much more at stake.

“I realize that I’m not facing no chump, no walkover, and I gotta stay very vigilant with him when I go in that ring,” Lopez said. “I know I’m facing someone that has skills, you know, is not someone to be overlooked. Obviously, we seen him against Vasiliy Lomachenko, and he gave him a run for his money. I think he did well. I think their game plan was sufficient. It’s just the magnitude of the 12 rounds. It’s a big difference, a big game-changer.”

Ortiz has gone 12 rounds only once, in his loss to Lomachenko 15 months ago in The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. Lopez is 3-1 in his four fights that have gone 12 rounds, including a split-decision defeat to Australian underdog George Kambosos Jr. (21-2, 10 KOs) in October 2021 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.

ESPN will broadcast Lopez-Ortiz as the main event of a doubleheader scheduled to start at 10:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. PT). The telecast will begin with a 10-rounder in which unbeaten lightweight Keyshawn Davis (9-0, 6 KOs, 1 NC), of Norfolk, Virginia, will face Jose Pedraza (29-5-1, 14 KOs), a two-division champion from Cidra, Puerto Rico.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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