Josh Taylor opponent Teofimo Lopez goes off on a tangent about death in bizarre outburst

Neil McGlade reports from Madison Square Garden in New York City ahead of WBO super lightweight title fight
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To describe Teofimo Lopez as a complex character would be an understatement. In keeping with true Scottish fashion, a bampot would do the Brooklyn native more justice.

At the final press conference deep within the bowels of Madison Square Garden, the 25-year-old went on a tirade about death. His heart is set on taking Josh Taylor's life this weekend. Make of that what you will.

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"Everybody is scared of death, I don't know why. Everybody is going to die but at least if I die, I've done something that means something that will last forever," said the former unified lightweight world champion. "At the end of the day I'm ready to put on a show. We're making history. Everybody can laugh and do whatever the f**k they want, but it's just me and him."

Teofimo Lopez is hungry for success at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)Teofimo Lopez is hungry for success at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)
Teofimo Lopez is hungry for success at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

Tomorrow he will go toe-to-toe with Scotland's undefeated Taylor, who puts his WBO super lightweight title on the line in downtown Manhattan. This duel is long overdue. Lopez has had his eye on the former undisputed king for the past couple of years. This weekend he finally gets his wish.

"I've worked my ass off," Lopez continued. "I've had 11 weeks of camp, technically 12 but fight week we don't really count. For me this is best version I have yet to see in myself. We aim for protection but there is only one perfect person and that is God. We've improved since my last fight so we will win, most definitely."

Lopez, unlike Taylor, can't boast an unblemished record from his 19 contests. He was beaten by George Kambosos Jr at the Garden in November 2021, six months after his opponent's undisputed heroics in Las Vegas.

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But Lopez retorted: “It doesn’t matter. We’ll let the fists do the talking. I’m just looking forward to a great fight against the One and Only they call him, Josh Taylor. It's what it is. I speak the truth. I want to put on a show and give the fans what they want to see - an outstanding performance.

"It may look like bumps but they are just stepping stones really. What matters is how you deal with them. Right now, we have a good challenge against Josh Taylor which I’m excited for. I’m looking forward to putting on a show and really giving the fight fans what they want. They love blood, don’t they?”

“I see many indifferences in him and his style. I believe that he has all the pressure on him and he has to fulfil those expectations. That’s a lot for a guy like him. If he says he’s a true champion and a true warrior, then that shouldn’t be too much for him and we should see a great fight on Saturday.

“I believe I’m his toughest opponent yet but he’s also the toughest opponent I’ve had. We can’t take away what both of us have accomplished. This is two world champions battling it out. It’s a great time for boxing."

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Taylor's team's request for a balanced judging panel has been granted with the New York State Athletic Commission appointing England’s Steve Gray, New Jersey’s Joe Pasquale and Quebec’s Benoit Roussel as the three judges for the 12-round contest.

Lopez added: "That’s fine with me, I don’t really care. I mean, if you say you’re going to knock me out but then you’re changing the judges, what one is it going to be? You going to knock me out or going the distance? I need to know!”

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