TEOFIMO LOPEZ is determined to reclaim his love for boxing and not business starting with Saturday’s encounter with Steve Claggett.

The 26-year-old might have produced a limited edition run of Teofimo bobbleheads which will retail for $250, but he insists that making money is not the be-all and end-all given it was his quest for glory that ignited his love for the sport in the first place.

Lopez was a boxing prodigy who punched his way to hardware throughout his teens but his meteoric rise to the top has slowed somewhat due to the shock defeat to George Kambosos Jr in 2021 and a number of personal problems outside of the ring.

He has also lifted the lid on financial turmoil despite a number of money spinning fights throughout his eight years as a professional and he claimed to Boxing News that he is still not getting the requisite funds even now.

On Saturday, he takes on Claggett at the James L Knight Center in Miami Beach in a fight that is unlikely to bank the sort of money he received for the more high-profile nights of his career. But that is fine by Lopez who is doubling down on his efforts to add to an already impressive legacy

“I don’t like that it’s a business,” he tells Boxing News. “When I was a young kid, my only focus was the legacy, glory and accolades that come with it.

“I get all those things but do I ever get the substantial amount of money that these other fighters got? Absolutely not so obviously there’s a business side to it in mind that they have but they don’t have the credentials that I have. It’s trying to rewire that business mindset and standpoint.

“I might not be getting the funds that are needed in my life right now – but it’s not even a need, it’s a want. I am trying to compare myself to others but I just need to stay in my lane and appreciate what I have because it’s much better than a lot of people have in the world. And it’s a lot better than I ever dreamt of as a young kid. Boxing is a great avenue to life. It has moulded me into a champion.”

He is currently the WBO super-lightweight champion as a result of his June victory over Josh Taylor. He made a successful but lacklustre first defence against Jamaine Ortiz in February and is now back in action just four months later.

He is currently one of four world champions in his weight class but, with no viable route toward a unification clash with anyone, Top Rank decided Claggett was a viable opponent for this clash instead.

“I’m trying my best to be No.1 and doing what I have to do,” Lopez added. “Activity is the key.

“I just give it time. Everything comes to those who wait and work hard for it, That’s really what I’m doing at this point. I’m the champion, I’m the king of the division and really when it comes to it, I look forward to just seeing how much more I can do and how much more I can learn and grow in the sport of boxing.”

Claggett, for his part, arrives in Miami on a nine-fight winning streak. The Canadian has suffered seven defeats in his career but the last of those came way back in May 2021. However, he has never boxed over 12 rounds and, although he has operated up at welterweight a few times in his career, he has never mixed with anyone who can punch like Lopez.

But Lopez flattered to deceive at times against Ortiz and struggled to cut the ring off in order to find a way to truly hurt the challenger that night. Let’s not forget, following his 2022 split decision victory over Sandor Martin, during which he was dropped, Lopez famously asked ‘Do I still got it?’

The victory over Taylor in his very next outing proved that he very much still does and Claggett will do well to make it the whole 12-round distance here. What is more likely is for Lopez to establish control of the fight in the first quarter, turn the screw in the second and then close the show shortly after that.

Then he can get back to flogging his bobbleheads.


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