Teofimo Lopez returns to the ring this week in his first bout since coming out of a brief period of retirement as he faces Jamaine Ortiz in Las Vegas on Thursday.
Lopez comes into the fight with a 19-1 record and produced arguably the best performance of his career as he claimed a dominant points win over Josh Taylor in June.
The Brooklyn native then announced his retirement a few days after that win, only to reverse that decision soon after as he lined up a first defence of his WBO lightweight title.
Challenger Ortiz should provide a stern test as he enters the bout with a 17-1-1 record, with his only defeat coming at the hands of Ukrainian star Vasyl Lomachenko.
Lopez made a huge statement with his victory over Taylor in his last bout, but still comes into Thursday’s meeting with Ortiz with questions hanging over his head.
The Takeover has all the tools at his disposal to establish himself as one of the best active fighters, but his retirement and subsequent U-turn inevitably leaves him with something to prove against a tough opponent in Ortiz.
After a stunning upset win over Lomachenko, Lopez produced a below-par display in defeat to George Kambosos Jr as he relinquished his collection of lightweight titles in his first defence and now he needs to show he can back up his win over Taylor by successfully defending the WBO belt against Ortiz.
Ortiz, 27, fully deserves this shot at a world title after compiling an impressive 17-1-1 record.
The Technician has wins over quality operators Jamel Herring and Antonio Moran on his CV and losing out to Lomachenko is clearly no disgrace, while he clearly has plenty of heart as the solitary draw on his record came against Joseph Adorno, who was unbeaten at the time, and he managed to avoid a defeat despite being knocked down twice.
If you do fancy an upset in this bout in Las Vegas Ortiz has real appeal as a big price underdog, but this is still a contest Lopez should be winning - although he will have to be on top of his game against a durable and technically-gifted opponent.
Lopez has a reasonable stoppage record with 13 of his 19 wins coming inside the distance, but he may need the judges for the victory against Ortiz.
The challenger has never been stopped and has proven on a few occasions he can soak up big shots, and he got off the canvas earlier in his career against Adorno and managed to reach the final bell.
Lopez’s last two wins have come on points and only one of his last five fights has finished early.
He has the skill set and the speed to dominate against Ortiz, but becoming the first fighter to stop The Technician looks like a tall order and the best bet here is a win for the WBO lightweight champion by decision or technical decision at 5/6.
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