Prepare for the next wave of ‘The Takeover’ on Thursday night as Teofimo Lopez defends his WBO super lightweight title against Jamaine Ortiz in Las Vegas. It is an unusual time for one of boxing’s young superstars to be defending his title, but the looming spectacle of the Super Bowl means other sports often get shuffled around.
Here’s everything you need to know about this exciting 140-pound clash.
Place Of Birth: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Residence: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Alias: The Takeover/El Brooklyn
Record: 19-1 (13 KOs)
Last Fight: W UD12 vs Josh Taylor (June 2023)
Place Of Birth: Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
Residence: Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
Alias: The Technician
Record: 17-1 (8 KOs)
Last Fight: W UD10 vs Antonio Moran (September 2023)
The brash Brooklynite is never knowingly under-confident. Lopez had every reason to be humble after massive underdog George Kambosos Jr relieved him of his unified lightweight title back in 2021. Coming off the back of his career-defining win over Vasiliy Lomachenko, it looked like the cocky young lightweight had been brought back to earth with a bump.
But since then, ‘The Takeover’ has worked his way back to his best. The Teofimo rebuild started slowly, with a seventh-round TKO over the anonymous Pedro Campa. When Sandor Martin knocked him down in the second round of their fight, one worried if Lopez would ever realise the potential he had shown early in his career. But he rose from the canvas and eked out a unanimous decision over the gifted Spaniard.
But it turned out that Lopez’s salvation lay not in flat-track bully outings over lesser fighters, but in a match-up where he himself was the underdog. Echoing his unlikely win over Lomachenko, the fact Teofimo was considered a long-shot to beat WBO and lineal super lightweight champion Josh Taylor last June seemed to bring out his best.
Lopez unleashed a beating upon Taylor that the scorecards of 115-113 twice and 117-111 didn’t quite do justice to. The New Yorker savagely dispensed the sweet science against the Scot, leaving Taylor battered, bruised and belt-less.
Will Lopez be able to motivate himself to hit the sort of heights he did against great champions like Taylor and Lomachenko here? It does seem like he finds a new level against elite fighters. Ortiz’s underdog status may open ‘The Takeover’ up to complacency.
One thing that Lopez and Ortiz have in common as they prepare for their WBO super lightweight title showdown is their breakout performances. Both men truly emerged as ones to watch against iconic Ukrainian Vasiliy Lomachenko. While Lopez defeated ‘The Matrix, Ortiz had to make do with a competitive unanimous decision defeat.
But considering that going in, ‘The Technician’ was viewed as nothing more than an opponent, his night opposite ‘Loma’ was star-making in its own unfussy way. Ortiz boxed an undaunted fight, putting early rounds in the bank before his opponent’s experience told down the stretch. There are not many modern boxers who would be brave enough to take on a fighter like Lomachenko in their very first 12-round fight.
Ortiz has widely-outscored Antonio Moran since and deserves his step back up in class here. Lopez will be a tough job but then so was Lomachenko and Ortiz went about his work in that one with bravery and gusto. Not an underdog you’d bet the house on, but not one you’d write off out of hand either.
How To Watch
Date: Thursday 8th February
Time: 1:30am Friday UK time
Ring Walk (approx): 4am UK time
TV Channel: Sky Sports
Teofimo Lopez vs. Jamaine Ortiz
Keyshawn Davis vs. Jose Pedraza
George Acosta vs. Rene Tellez Giron
Abdullah Mason vs. Benjamin Gurment
Charlie Sheehy vs. Abdel Sauceda
Javier Martinez vs. Raul Salomon
Alan Garcia vs. Tomas Ornelas
Antonio Zepeda vs. Lemis Isom Riley
Art Barrera Jr. vs. Michael Portales
You can find all our latest boxing tips and analysis at our Betfred Insights Boxing page