Teofimo Lopez x 86Boxing Exclusive Interview: Life|2019 Goals|2018 Reflections|A Message to All Challengers…

The game doesn’t wait. This is boxing. You don’t work, you don’t eat. You don’t grind, you don’t shine. A day in the life of Teofimo “El Brooklyn” Lopez, 11-0 (9 KOs),  and you’ll realize this motto runs deep. Every day is a day closer in the constant strive for greatness. With greatness comes recognition and realization. His goals, though, extend beyond simple terms. This is more about his skills being recognized on the highest of fronts. Lopez earned his way into the 2016 Olympics by winning the U.S. Olympic trials only to be screwed by the overseers here in his country of birth as they decided to switch things up at the last minute, thus leading him to fight for Honduras. Never mind the fact that he was a six-time U.S. national champion. Never mind him essentially destroying every ‘tough test’ he’s faced in his professional career up to this point.  

Lopez is coming off of a prophetic 2018 campaign that saw his hand raised in victory four times over. Not shy in front of the camera and behind the mic, Lopez celebrates victory under the bright lights in style. His Fortnite celebration went viral after his six-round destruction of William Silva this past July. He was also trending after his one-punch knockout victory over Mason Menard in December, a night in which he dawned Oklahoma Sooner’s quarterback Kyler Murray’s jersey as he struck a Heisman Trophy pose on the same night Murray won the award. He’s also known for his patented backflip celebration after each victory.

If you haven’t noticed by now, the guy has star potential written all over. In a deep class of talented prospects competing at or around his weight at the current moment, Lopez has found a way to stand out from the pack. As he continues to remain victorious more eyes will be on him and he’ll be a target. Some will willingly step up to fight and there will also be those who avoid him during this journey. Speaking of prophetic, dare I say that 2019 is poised to be his coming-out year as far as him becoming a household name. To get there, though, will be tough, on paper, as he aims for championship status. I had the opportunity to speak with Teofimo Lopez on all things above and beyond and got an understanding of why he makes boxing look so easy.

Teofimo, you lit up in 2018. I, along with many, consider you the prospect of the year for 2018, though, really you’re beyond a prospect. I think you arrived in a major way and separated yourself from the pack in a sense. Not only that, you had the knockout of the year in December when you basically took out Mason Menard with one punch and had him out before he even knew he’d been hit. I’ve seen earlier interviews and you predicted that 2018 would be a big year. How would you sum up your 2018?

I think 2018 was a great year. It shows for itself as you said, it speaks for itself. 2019 is definitely the year that we set out to do everything that we said we would do. It’s either go big or go home at this point. Every time we say something we always execute and do it, coming to this point, now. 2018 is basically the stepping stone to becoming the world champion that we said we would be and basically following through with it. 2018 had been a great and amazing year. It’s a new year, new things, better things.

Alright, so you’re looking for a title shot in 2019, right.

Absolutely! And it’s going to happen, mark my words.

I saw a report from ESPN saying you would be facing Diego Magdaleno, a veteran, 31-2, on the Kovalev/Alvarez card. Is that official?

It’s official. Everything has been signed and sealed. I actually finished signing my end of the contract today. Diego Magdaleno will be my opponent February 2nd, at Frisco, Texas, where the Dallas Cowboys practice.  

I don’t know if you study any fighters or anything leading up to a fight but do you plan on studying him or know anything about him, or is it a matter of once you get into the ring you’ll just do your work from there?

Once I get in the ring I do my work from there. My father, who is my coach, Teofimo Lopez, Sr., does everything for me, meaning, he studies the fighters, he tells what they do, what are their flaws, and what can we do execute to come out victorious that night when we fight. So, yeah, that’s really it for me. I don’t look at film. I just basically go from right there when I’m in the ring.

Staying in 2019, are there any fighters in particular you want to face?Anyone you just want to go ahead and get this guy out of the way. Anything like that?

Like I’ve been saying it in many interviews, we don’t care who is. It’s whoever has the title. That’s our goal right now and what’s set in our minds. Our mindset is to get any world title because there are four. We want all of the champions. At the end of the day, we want all of the champions. If we can’t have all of the champions at 135 pounds, to let everybody know, also, I’ve been telling them in previous interviews, this year, 2019, is the last year I’ll be at 135 pounds. So, if it comes to a point where I have a title and let’s say Vasiliy Lomachenko or Mikey Garcia, or any of those names don’t want to fight us, then we tried. We’ll go up from there to 140 pounds, things like that. My mindset honestly is set on first, obviously, we get the world title and hopefully defending against these world champions that they say they are. They say that they’re the best and we want to prove to them that we are the best and they’re not.

Funny thing, that was my next question.  I had seen Vasiliy Lomachenko mentioned in a previous interview and was wondering if that opportunity presented itself, would you’d take it.  I think you’re likely already a top-10, pretty much top-5 lightweight based on what I’ve seen. I know that’s what I’ve seen mentioned by different people in forums and stuff, online they feel the same way. I don’t think it’s a far stretch for you to be matched up against the likes of Lomachenko. So, you feel you’re ready for that, huh?

Yeah. The question is, is he? Look at the fact that he’s saying that the division is too heavy for him and things like that.

I know that some would see you knockouts and all that, and wonder if you could go the distance, which I presume would be no problem at all. But, you’re ready for 12 rounds, right? No issues?

Absolutely. I won’t have an issue going 12 rounds, 10 rounds. The thing is, will they be able to? That’s how we think, and that how we are. We focus on that task. We do prep to fight whatever amount of rounds we are scheduled to fight and we go from there. Anything can happen in the sport of boxing.

Do you want to fight in Brooklyn in 2019? Is that something you’re interested in doing, taking it back to NY for a hometown type fight?

Absolutely. I think that they have me scheduled to fight again at Madison Square Garden at the end of this year. We’ll definitely be back in New York this year, though probably at the end. We’ll have to see how everything works out. But I know that they have me scheduled to fight in New York this year at Madison Square Garden.

Sounds good. How are you liking that Las Vegas move? Has that been a super-solid move for your career?

Yes. Honestly, it’s been working, everything. I think the move has been great for us. It has helped my career drastically. Things have been so much better and I think it’s the best decision I could have made for my career, the move to Vegas.

I was there at your fight when you fought at the UNO Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, LA. You put on a clinic and basically showed that you have the full gamut if needed. You systematically broke down William Silva, 26-2 (15 KOs), who you were fighting at that particular time. How did you feel coming out of that fight because you made it look easy? Was it tough for you? He hadn’t been stopped, he was a veteran coming in and hadn’t been stopped, and you never know what can happen with guys like that.

I think the whole thing is people see how easily I take these guys out and they don’t give me the credit of who I’m in there with. They’ll think that I’m in there fighting bums and I’m not. Look at the opponent that I just fought, Mason Menard. Supposedly he almost went the distance with Devin Haney, something like that, and gave Devin Haney a run for his money. Look what I did when I fought Mason Menard. So, it goes to show it’s like, you guys can’t really go off of how I perform because how I perform is different. I’m just on a different level. These guys are tough fighters. These are tough fighters that they’re putting me in with. Diego Magdaleno, a lot of experience, but we’re going to see how he’s going to be when he faces Teo Lopez, come Saturday night. People discredit them and it’s not their faults. It’s not that they’re not good, it’s just that I’m just that great. I know it sounds so cocky but it’ll just show with time.

I agree with you, you’re an explosive fighter. Actually, I’ve seen a lot of the noise from the Devin Haney camp. But I, I’m sure along with many, just feel as though you’re a level above him and he hasn’t really shown anything that makes me think that he would give you too many problems at all. That’s just my opinion, of course. If that fight came about this year or sometime in the near future, is that one you’re down for to just quiet the noise?

If it presents itself then of course. We don’t dodge and duck no fights. We take what we know we can handle, we know what we’re capable of, and we know where our skillset is. If people want that and It happens, it happens. For the most part, I don’t see it happening because we’re just on a whole different level. The kid has 20 professional fights and people in his last fight were booing. There’s no excitement for the kid. If you want that to happen you’ve got to bring excitement. It’s up to him and his team if they want to get to that part. We’re doing what we know to do, what we’re known to do, and that’s entertain.

You’re a well spoken and intellectual individual which is apparent if anyone has heard any of your previous interviews. Do you have any interesting hobby outside of boxing? You commentate or anything because I think that you’d be gold behind the mic.

Thank you. I appreciate it. A lot of people say that, that maybe I can do commentating and stuff afterward, in the sport of boxing. Boxing is is a part of my life from now on, for the rest of my life. You never know, it’s a possibility. Some of the former great champions have done it. I could see myself in that status just to give thanks to the sport and how much boxing has done for us. It changes our lives in so many ways. I don’t see me not being a commentator, it could happen, definitely a possibility. As long as God gives me health and takes care of my mind and brain, and everything, for sure, I could definitely see that. I appreciate it. Thank you for actually giving me that compliment.

No prob at all. I think that 2019 is going to be the year that people recognize who you are and they see that you are a star in the making. It’s already been laid out and I definitely wish you the best in that regard. It has been great talking with you, really enjoyed it. How can fans follow you on social media?

You can all follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, @teofimolopez. There it is.

Teofimo Lopez was interviewed by Joshua City on January 3, 2019, for the transcribed exclusive.

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