“I want to kill Josh Taylor”. That’s the mentality that Vasiliy Lomachenko‘s former conqueror, Teofimo Lopez, claims he’s taking into his next fight. Their trash-talk was always likely to be spicy, with neither man known for his restrained nature. But in an interview with the Punsh Drunk Boxing youtube channel, Lopez really turned it up a notch.
“People are like, ‘Well, let’s get back to boxing,” Lopez said of fan and media reactions to his aggressive posturing. “That is boxing. This is what we sign up for. You gonna probably lose your life. What does that mean? Thppt? If I’m gonna die in that ring, at least I died for some dignity and integrity. I went out there like a warrior, like the champ that we are. That’s what I know, that’s what I signed up for. Boxing today is the gladiator days back then. A lot of people don’t know that, because they don’t know boxing.”
Lopez claims he took Lomachenko’s heart
Back in 2020, Lopez shot into boxing stardom with an upset win over two time Olympic gold medalist and multiple time world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko. A winner by unanimous decision, Lopez became the first man to beat Lomachenko in more than half a decade, stretching back to ‘The Matrix”s WBO featherweight title fight against Orlando Salcido in just his second pro bout.
That loss kicked off a 13-fight unbeaten streak for the Ukranian, in which he won the WBO, WBA, Ring, and WBC lightweight titles.
“When I fought Loma, I took his heart”, stated Lopez. “Especially in that twelfth round. When I said, ‘C’mon!’ and he pulled back. See, I took your heart. Boom, won the fight. With Taylor, he got no heart. He got no heart, so what can I really take from this man? His life. And the only way I’m gonna make a statement is by doing that. I’m not sorry about that. Because, how do I scare people more than that? How do I put fear in everyone else’s eyes? I put fear on fear’s eyes. Take a man’s life.”
No matter the intensity of his words, most of what Lopez has to say is pure bluster. Boxing is a business, after all, and after a turbulent period in his recent career it’s clear that the focus and intensity are things he really needs. It seems as thought Lopez may be in a bad spot on multiple fronts since his upset win over Lomachenko. He had a terrible showing in his next bout, losing a shocker to Australian George Kambosos.
Teofimo Lopez’s troubles
That fight did come with claims of life-threatening medical issues. But what should have been a softer return, against Spaniard Sandor Martin last year, didn’t show off notably better form. To the point that Lopez was caught on camera afterwards, questioning his corner about whether he still has what it takes to compete.
On the home front, things aren’t any easier. Lopez is currently going through what appears to be a messy divorce, including potential loss of custody of his son. He spoke more about his personal life in a separate segment of the same interview.
All of that leaves the question of whether Lopez is simply trying to psych himself up here, to get himself into a place where he believes he’s still the person who looked ready to conquer the world against Lomachenko. He’s moving up in weight to 140lbs, and may for the first time in his career be the smaller man. Seems like these head games are just another way to try and claw back some advantage for his upcoming fight.
Taylor’s thoughts on Lopez
For his part, Josh Taylor may welcome the attitude. He hasn’t responded directly to the latest threat yet, but in his own pre-fight interview earlier in the week, he spoke about how he’d welcome Lopez trying to stand and fight with him, since he is the bigger man. He also brought up Lopez’s mental state, which is likely to be a topic of discussion throughout the upcoming fight week. Either way, he’s unlikely to admit to being impressed by the threat.
The fight itself goes down in Maddison Square Garden, New York, on June 10th, in what is sure to be a stellar night for boxing.
Join the new Bloody Elbow
Our Substack is where we feature the work of writers like Zach Arnold, John Nash and Karim Zidan. We’re fighting for the sport, the fighters and the fans. Please help us by subscribing today.
About the author