Just 21 years old, Teofimo is a two-year pro. A sensational young prospect at 135 pounds, he is widely considered the top young talent in the entire sport.
He was an amateur standout before his debut – Teofimo earned a place on the 2016 U.S. Olympic boxing team at 132 pounds, but controversial politics in the amateur program took it away from him. He instead represented Honduras – the birthplace of his parents – at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Teofimo has been very active since his debut with 11 fights in his first two years as a pro and very imipressive. He has had one scheduled eight-rounder and one scheduled 10-rounder, but has not yet been past six rounds.
He was named ESPN’s “2019 Prospect of the Year.”
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported [Jan. 2, 2019 – excerpts]: Top Rank has a long history of signing fighters out of the Olympics and developing them into champions and superstars. The company has done it time and again, including with three of the biggest stars of their time: Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto.
Ask anyone at the company and they’ll say they think they have a young fighter in lightweight Teofimo Lopez Jr. who has a chance to follow in their considerable footsteps.
So far, he has been everything the company hoped for.
From the time Lopez turned pro two years ago he has looked like a future star, and nothing changed in 2018 when he won all four of his fights (three by knockout) and stepped up in competition in a sixth-round knockout of William Silva in July followed by a devastating 44-second knockout of Mason Menard, whom he put to sleep face first with a single right hand that opened an ESPN telecast Dec. 8.
The dynamic Lopez not only has enormous talent and potential thanks to his power, speed, skills and work ethic but he also has an uncommon sense of showmanship, poise and charisma. It’s a combination that made him the easy pick for 2018 ESPN.com prospect of the year. [End Rafael item]
Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole wrote [Dec. 5, 2018 – excerpts]: Teofimo Lopez qualifies as a prospect because of his age and his relatively small number of fights. Lopez, who was the 2017 Yahoo Sports Prospect of the Year, could easily win it again in 2018.
But that would be too easy.
Yeah, Lopez is the best prospect in the game, maybe the best in a decade or more. He has everything it takes to be a star of the highest magnitude in boxing. To call this guy a prospect, though, is a disservice to him.
He’s simply one of the best fighters in the world.
Yeah, he’s only 21 and has been a pro for only two years. All it takes, though, is one quick glance at him to know that this guy is different than any other 21-year-old in the game.
Lopez has a magnetic personality and a bluntness about him that doesn’t always serve fighters well. Sometimes, their words can come back to haunt them, but Lopez is supremely confident because he’s supremely talented.
As it stands today, Top Rank has Vasiliy Lomachenko and WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford in the race for pound-for-pound best in the world. Yahoo Sports rates Crawford first, Lomachenko second….
At this time in 2019, López could be in that company.
Yes, he’s that good.
Really. [End Iole item]
In his last fight on December 8 in New York, Teofimo scored a spectacular one-punch, first-round knockout against veteran Mason Menard, which was awarded the “2018 Knockout of the Year” by Thesweetscience.com.
Dan Rafael wrote [excerpts]: If you are not impressed by the potential of lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez, you just don’t know what you are looking at. The 21-year-old is electrifying and talented, with a good boxing head on his shoulders, and is mature in the ring beyond his years and under control outside of it as well.
Lopez finished off his second year as a pro in sensational fashion on the Lomachenko-Pedraza undercard. Thought to be taking a step up in opposition against Mason Menard, Lopez destroyed him in extremely crushing fashion in just 44 seconds when he slammed him with an overhand right on the chin and knocked him out face first.
Lopez not only has the talent but he’s also the kind of showman that could be a star, doing his signature backflip and then putting on an Oklahoma Sooners jersey and striking the Heisman Trophy pose in honor of Kyler Murray, who had won the award minutes earlier on the preceding ESPN broadcast.
He has the talent and the kind of charisma and exciting style that could make him a future pay-per-view star. Having the kind of highlight-reel KO he had against Menard playing over and over on SportsCenter can’t hurt.
In his ringside report, Rafael wrote: Lightweight Teofimo Lopez Jr., perhaps boxing’s No. 1 prospect, was supposed to be facing the best opponent so far of his two-year-old professional career in Mason Menard, but it sure didn’t look that way.
Lopez erased Menard with a single massive right hand on the chin for a knockout of the year contender in the first round. Menard fell face-first in seeming slow motion and [the] referee waved it off at 44 seconds.
Lopez has been pressing Top Rank to move him faster up the ladder and has talked about an eventual title fight with Lomachenko. Lopez, 21, is not ready for that yet, but it might not be too much longer.
Lopez injured his right hand in his last fight in July, a sixth-round knockout of William Silva that led to a little bit of a layoff, but with the way he landed it against Menard (34-4, 24 KOs), he had no problems with it. [End Rafael item]
In his post-fight interview, Teofimo said, “I knew Menard was a tough fighter. I knew he could fight. I wanted to test him, and I took a chance early in the fight. I know he trained hard, and he didn’t want it to go that way.
“I wanted to test him and land my best shot and see how he reacted. I saw he was moving to the side and I said I got to throw it.
“2019 – it is the takeover. The takeover has begun. In 2019 you will see me with a strap that says ‘worlds champion.’ We’re in the stage of my career where we can change boxing and bring it back. You all haven’t seen anything like me in a long time.”
In earlier interviews, Teofimo said, “Me and my father, we always stay ready. When we don’t even have fights, we stay ready.
“I’m an entertainer – got to entertain! My style – I’m technical, very technical. I’m very smart when I’m in the ring, like Albert Einstein. I’m like a Sugar Ray, Floyd Mayweather – I’m a boxer, but if the knockout comes, it comes.
“I’ve sparred with a lot of pros. Sometimes they would invite me to go to their training camps, sometimes they were in my area. I’ve been in training camp with Shawn Porter at the time he was fighting Keith Thurman, and Brad Solomon, helping them get ready for their fights, and they were both 20 pounds bigger than me.
“I also sparred with Guillermo Rigondeaux and Luke Campbell, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist. I’ve sparred with many, many, many professionals since I was 13 years old.
“I don’t have a nickname right now, but people know me as Gordo.” [note: “fat”]
Trainer-father Teofimo Lopez Sr. said that the name ‘Teofimo’ runs far back in his family history: “My family is originally from Spain. Teofimo is the name of my father, my father’s father, and his father. What happened was, there were nine brothers and one sister in the family. It was a tight-knit family, and my father was the third son. He was the only one to leave the family. He went to Brazil and from Brazil he went to Honduras, where he met my mother. He was the only one that got the name.”
AMATEUR, PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Teofimo said, “I was born in Brooklyn, New York. I have two sisters, no brothers. I’m the youngest. My family moved to Davie, Florida, when I was five years old – we drove over there.
“My father boxed at one time when he was younger. He used to knock everybody out in the street so he thought, ‘Let me try this boxing thing out.’ He did one amateur show, which was the biggest thing in New York – the Daily News Golden Gloves. It was way before I was born. My father and my sister were doing this ‘Ancestry’ thing and I think they found out that my grandfather used to box, but I’m not sure about that.
“I was six years old when I started boxing – I’ve basically been doing it my whole life. My father was going to the gym just to train for himself and he would always take me with him. He would have to leave and told the coach, ‘I’ve got to do some things and park the car, and I’ll be back in 10 minutes.’ So, the coach grabbed me and had me hit the pads and everything – I caught everything real quick! I believe that I was born with it. Then, when my father came back, he seen me hitting the pads and he was amazed, like, ‘Whoa!’ And that’s when he took over training me. He just focused on me then.
“I had 170 amateur fights. I had like, 150 wins. I won the national Golden Gloves in 2015 and then two weeks later, I had to go get ready for the Olympic Qualifier, where I won ‘Outstanding Boxer.’ After that, I had the bad news about AIBA. They gave the other kid the spot on the Olympic team – he didn’t win it, but they gave him the spot. My parents were both born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, so I qualified to make the Honduran Olympic team.
“Most of my losses were bad decisions, just like the Olympics. It’s happened plenty of times before. I wasn’t upset about what happened at the Olympics, I was just in shock about it.
“I’m naturally right-handed but when I play soccer, I kick with my left foot.
“I’m just married to boxing.”…
2016 OLYMPIC GAMES – Rio de Janiero, Brazil, 132 pounds: in his first fight on 8-7-16 he lost a 3-0 decision against Sofiane Oumiha of France…
The Associated Press’ Dan Gelston reported from ringside in Rio [Aug. 8, 2016 – excerpts]: His heart in the United States and his fight for Honduras, Teofimo Lopez stood in the Olympic ring feeling like a boxer without a country.
The 19-year-old fighter was born in New York, raised in Florida, and developed into a prime candidate for the United States in the boxing tournament. With a win in the Olympic trials, Lopez certainly had the credentials to land a spot in USA Boxing.
Because of a convoluted series of circumstances, Lopez was squeezed out of a likely role fighting for his home country.
Instead, he fought for the homeland of both of his parents and became the entire Olympic boxing team for Honduras.
Qualifying for the Olympics has long been a complicated system, and the winner of a little-known tournament was actually used for the first time to select team members.
Lopez won the lightweight division at the U.S. Olympic trials in December, and his feat was still not enough to make the team.
Carlos Balderas had qualified for the one open lightweight slot based on his finish in the World Series of Boxing, a little-seen series not really known outside of amateur circles. Lopez was not old enough to compete in the series. Lopez felt abandoned by the Amateur International Boxing Association….
But by the time Lopez lost a unanimous decision to Sofiane Oumiha of France, he was ready to move on and forget about Rio.
Lopez was sharp in the ring but lost 30-27 on all three cards to a fighter with a much deeper pedigree.
Lopez’s father and trainer was furious at the decision…. “You won the fight! But they’re not going to give it to you. I told you from the beginning,” his father said, hands gesturing toward his son’s face.
“Dad, it’s over, man.”
Lopez never wanted to fight for another country, only eventually being persuaded to fight for Honduras once he realized it was his only opportunity to make the Olympics.
He had the Olympics, just not his country.
Lopez still performed a backflip in the ring once he lost the decision.
“I always said, ‘medalha de ouro,`” Portuguese for gold medal, “because when you attract positivity it comes to you.
“But that didn’t come out today,” he said. [End Gelston item]…
2016 AMERICAN OLYMPIC QUALIFIER II – Buenos Aires, Argentina, 132 pounds – SILVER MEDALIST: in his first fight on 3-14-16 he won a 3-0 decision against Ludy Tenorio of Ecuador; in the quarterfinals on 3-16-16 he won a 3-0 decision against Brian Gonzalez of Mexico; in the semifinals on 3-17-16 he won a 3-0 decision against Ignacio Perrin of Argentina; in the finals on 3-19-16 he lost a 2-1 decision against Luis Cabrera of Venezuela…
2015 U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS – Reno, Nevada, 132 pounds/double elimination tournament – GOLD MEDALIST: in the semifinals (his first fight) on 12-8-15 he won a 3-0 decision against Israel Mercado; in the finals on 12-12-15 he won a 2-1 decision against Malik Montgomery…
2015 OLYMPIC TRIALS QUALIFIER I – Colorado Springs, Colorado, 132 pounds – GOLD MEDALIST / WON “OUTSTANDING BOXER” AWARD: in his first fight on 6-23-15 he won a decision against Javar Jones; in his second fight on 6-24-15 he won a 3-0 decision against Kenneth Taylor; in the quarterfinals on 6-25-15 he won a 3-0 decision against Eder Carrillo; in the semifinals on 6-26-15 he won a 2-0 decision against Jousce Gonzalez; in the finals on 6-27-15 he won a 3-0 decision against Genaro Gamez…
2015 NATIONAL GOLDEN GLOVES CHAMPIONSHIPS – Las Vegas, Nevada, 132 pounds – GOLD MEDALIST: in his first fight on 5-12-15 he defeated Yousif Saleh; in his second fight on 5-13-15 he defeated Gabriel Chairez; in the quarterfinals on 5-14-15 he defeated Israel Mercado; in the semifinals on 5-15-15 he defeated Andres Cortes; in the finals on 5-16-15 he defeated Jamine Rodriguez…
2015 U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – Reno, Nevada, 132 pounds: in his first fight on 1-5-15 he won a 2-1 decision against Reshat Mati; in his second fight on 1-6-15 he won a 3-0 decision against Paul Allen; in the quarterfinals on 1-7-15 he lost a decision against Andres Cortes…
2014 NATIONAL GOLDEN GLOVES CHAMPIONSHIPS – Las Vegas, Nevada, 132 pounds: in his first fight on 5-13-14 he won a 5-0 decision against Jesus Vasquez; in his second fight on 5-14-14 he lost a 3-2 decision against Javar Jones…
2014 U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – Reno, Nevada, 132 pounds – BRONZE MEDALIST: in his first fight on 1-8-14 he won a 2-1 decision against Kelvin Davis; in the quarterfinals on 1-9-14 he won a 3-0 decision against Jesse Villareal; in the semifinals on 1-10-14 he lost a 3-0 decision against Andres Cortes…
2013 U.S. JUNIOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – Mobile, Alabama, 125 pounds: in his first fight on 6-26-13 he lost a 3-0 decision against Gonzalo Rodriguez…
2013 NATIONAL SILVER GLOVES CHAMPONSHIPS – 125 pounds/14-15 year-old division – GOLD MEDALIST [results not currently available]…
STRENGTHS: Has an aggressive style, good skills and movement…has good punching power…had a strong amateur background…has a strong family boxing background…
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 11 fights…34 total rounds…
AVERAGE LENGTH OF BOUTS: 3 rounds…
KNOCKOUT PERCENTAGE: 81 %…
DISTANCE FIGHTS: 10 rounds – 0…8 rounds – 0…6 rounds – 3 (3-0)…4 rounds – 1 (1-0)…