Teofimo Lopez produced perhaps the knockout of 2018 the last time he fought at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York.
Lopez hopes he knocks out George Kambosos Jr. even more viciously than he demolished Mason Menard when they finally fight Saturday night. A 21-year-old Lopez, still a prospect at that point, drilled Menard with a picture-perfect right hand that sent an unconscious Menard crashing to the canvas, face first, just 40 seconds into their scheduled 10-round bout in December 2018.
Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs), who now owns four lightweight titles, expressed during a conference call Monday with a small group of reporters how he wants to obliterate the unbeaten Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) in similar fashion.
“I don’t think this fight will go past the first,” Lopez said. “I’ve been stopping my sparring partners to the head, to the body, to everything, and these are 16 ounces [gloves]. I’m not even going full throttle. So, it’s like I’ve been in the gym and I’ve been busting my ass. This guy, I don’t like him on top of that.
“Plus, it’s a real fight; it’s not sparring. And it’s eight-ounce gloves, I mean, this guy’s gonna – I’m praying for it to be worse than the Mason Menard fight – I really am. I’m praying for it to be worse than the Mason Menard fight. And [that] was at the Hulu Theater.”
Lopez-Kambosos infamously has been postponed five times since it originally was scheduled for June 5 at the Miami Marlins’ loanDepot Park.
Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing took control of the promotion once Triller Fight Club defaulted early in October on its whopping winning bid of $6,018,000. Matchroom offered the second-highest amount for the right to promote Lopez-Kambosos, $3,506,000, at the IBF’s purse bid February 25.
Though he’ll make less money for boxing Kambosos because Triller Fight Club defaulted on its bid, Lopez hopes the sixth time is the charm Saturday night for this mandated defense of the IBF lightweight title he won when he stopped Ghana’s Richard Commey (30-3, 27 KOs) in the second round of their December 2019 fight at Madison Square Garden. Their 12-round, 135-pound championship match is the main event of a DAZN stream set to start at 8 p.m. ET.
“The only thing that worries me is whether he’s gonna be in that ring Saturday night,” Lopez said. “Nothing else worries me. Every fighter has game plans. They all come in there and everyone has a game plan until they get punched in the face, right? We’ll see what happens come Saturday night. We never go into a fight with game plans. We go into a fight executing what we see at that moment.
“But we work on everything, so we’re prepared for Kambosos coming to us forward, we’re prepared for Kambosos to try and box us, we’re prepared for him to try and throw overhand rights and uppercuts. We’re prepared for the whole 10, well, 12 rounds, but I’m just looking forward to it. I think it’s gonna be a quick night, though.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.