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Teofimo Lopez-Jose Pedraza In Works For Heisman Trophy Night

Teofimo Lopez ESPN Heisman Night Fight Slightly Down

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Teofimo Lopez-Jose Pedraza In Works For Heisman Trophy Night

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Teofimo Lopez-Jose Pedraza In Works For Heisman Trophy Night

The plan all along has been for former unified lightweight world champion Teofimo Lopez to headline Top Rank’s ESPN card at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Dec. 10 following the network’s presentation of college football’s Heisman Trophy.

Now, Lopez has his likely opponent in Jose Pedraza, Lopez manager David McWater told Fight Freaks
Unite and Big Fight Weekend on Tuesday. He said Top Rank has sent the contract to Pedraza, a former junior lightweight and lightweight titlist, who now campaigns at junior welterweight.

“Pedraza is guy who is always in the mix and Teofimo only wants to fight the very best guys,” McWater said. “Obviously, having the Heisman lead in is terrific and something Teofimo and all of Team Lopez cherishes.”

It will be the third time Lopez will fight on the card following the Heisman Trophy presentation but it will be his first time as the headliner.

In 2018, Lopez announced his arrival with a crushing first-round knockout of Mason Menard on the undercard of Vasiliy Lomachenko’s decision over Pedraza to unify two lightweight belts. In 2019, Lopez knocked out Richard Commey in the second round to win the IBF lightweight title on the undercard of Terence Crawford’s welterweight title defense against Egidijus Kavaliauskas.

After knocking out Commey, Lopez would go on to score a major upset by outpointing Lomachenko to further unify the 135-pound division in October 2020. Thirteen months and several delays later, Lopez lost the belts by decision in a tremendous to George Kambosos Jr.

On Aug. 13, Lopez (17-1, 13 KOs), 25, of Las Vegas, returned, by moving up to junior welterweight and knocking out Pedro Campa in the seventh round.

Pedraza (29-4-1, 14 KOs), 33, of Puerto Rico, is 3-2-1 since moving up to 140 pounds, in 2019. He is coming off a spirited 10-round split draw with Commey on Aug. 27 and got the fight with Lopez over fellow Top Rank contender Arnold Barboza (27-0, 10 KOs), 30, of Los Angeles, who has been calling Lopez out for months.
Top Rank said it would have been happy to make either fight for Lopez, against Pedraza or Barboza, but Team Lopez preferred Pedraza.

“Bigger name, better fighter,” McWater said in comparing Pedraza to Barboza.

The undercard is likely to include appearances by three of the best prospects in Top Rank’s deep stable: heavyweight Jared Anderson (12-0, 12 KOs), lightweight and 2020 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis (6-0, 5 KOs) and junior middleweight Xander Zayas (14-0, 10 KOs).

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Since 2000, award-winning reporter Dan Rafael has covered boxing full time and been ringside for thousands of fights, first for five years at USA Today and then for 15 years at ESPN, where he wrote and appeared on various television, radio and streaming programs. In 2013, Dan was honored by the Boxing Writers Association of America with the Nat Fleischer award for career excellence in boxing journalism. Dan brings his great insight to the Big Fight Weekend site, podcast and more!

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