Just 20 years old, Teófimo is a one-year pro. A sensational prospect at 135 pounds, he was an amateur standout before his debut – he earned a place on the 2016 U.S. Olympic boxing team at 132 pounds, but questionable politics in the amateur program took it away from him. Teófimo instead represented Honduras – the birthplace of his parents – at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
He’s been very active since his debut, with eight fights in his first 15 months as a pro.
He’s also been very impressive – Kevin Iolenamed him Yahoo Sports “2018 Prospect of the Year.”
In his last fight on February 3 in Corpus Christi, Texas, Teofimio won a six-round unanimous decision against Juan Pablo Sanchez.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported from ringside [excerpts]: Blue chip lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez Jr. overcame a bad cut caused by an accidental head butt to dominate Juan Pablo Sanchez en route to a lopsided victory. The judges scored it 60-54, 60-54 and 59-55.
Lopez fought as a junior welterweight because Sanchez came in very overweight at 144.5 pounds, but the size difference did not help him.
Lopez’s speed, power and skills were far superior. However, an accidental head butt in the second round left Lopez with a deep cut over his left eye. It bled for the rest of the fight, but Lopez never seemed in distress and did not panic.
He rocked Sanchez with a left in the fourth round and doled out major punishment in the fifth round when he forced him to the ropes and connected with several punches in a sustained flurry. [End Rafael item]
After his fight on July 7, 2017, in Tampa, Florida, Rafael commented, “Lopez is one of several high-quality prospects Top Rank signed out of the 2016 Olympics.
“He also might turn out to be the best, as he has outstanding speed and an exciting style made for the pro ranks.”
Teófimo recently moved from his home in Davie, Florida, to Las Vegas and trains in the Top Rank gym.
He told UCN.com, “Living out here in Vegas, which has been the best move for me and my career, is great. It’s all work here. My dad, who has trained me for my entire boxing career, thought a move out to Vegas would be the best thing for me and it is great.
“I love doing this. I have been doing this since age six – it is my whole life.”
In an earlier interview, Teófimo said, “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.”
Trainer-father Teófimo Lopez Sr. said that the name ‘Teófimo’ runs far back in his family history: “My family is originally from Spain. Teófimo 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: Teófimo 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 here.
“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.”…