Former unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez is less than two weeks away from his ring return and he has high expectations for himself.
“‘The Takeover’ is back,” Lopez said after a recent training session at his camp in Ringoes, New Jersey. “I took over the lightweight division, and I plan on doing the same at junior welterweight.”
Lopez will be moving up to the 140-pound division to face Pedro Campa in the main event of a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card on Aug. 13 (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET) at Resorts World Las Vegas.
“I had been fighting at lightweight since I was a teenager, and it was time to move up,” Lopez said. “I am going to be an even better, more explosive fighter. You will see that on Aug. 13.”
Brooklyn, New York, native Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs), 25, will be fighting for the first time since Nov. 27 in New York, where he lost a split decision and his unified 135-pound belts to Australian mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr. in a massive upset.
Kambosos dropped Lopez in the first round and although Lopez knocked Kambosos down in the 10th round of a bona fight of the year contender, the prevailing view was that Kambosos clearly deserved the decision he received.
Lopez was hospitalized after the fight due to a torn esophagus and had arthroscopic surgery on his wrist and elbow earlier this year, as well as treatment for the asthma condition he has boxed his whole career with.
Lopez has pronounced himself healthy and motivated to box again.
“Pedro Campa is a tough opponent with an aggressive Mexican style, and I can’t wait to put on a show for the fans,” Lopez said. “Every person goes through challenges, but I’ve put the past behind me and am thrilled to be back fighting on ESPN and in Las Vegas. I am calling this fight the ‘Take Back’ because I am coming to regain what I’ve lost. One defeat does not define a fighter, and it won’t define me.”
Campa (34-1-1, 22 KOs), 30, of Mexico, has won four fights in a row and is 7-0-1 since a seventh-round knockout loss to journeyman Carlos Jimenez in 2017, but he is taking a big step up in competition.
As far as Lopez is concerned the fight with Campa is the start of his path to a title in second weight class.
“I am only 25 years old. My best years are in front of me,” Lopez said. “Pedro Campa is the start of a new chapter in my career. I will be a two-weight world champion very soon. Every contender and champion at junior welterweight better watch out because I am coming to clean out the division.”