Teofimo Lopez vs. Jamaine Ortiz: A Tale of the Tape
As the Super Bowl week festivities ramp up in Las Vegas, the WBO junior welterweight world titles come into sharp focus to serve as the appetizer for sports lovers already in town. This Thursday, February 8, at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Teofimo “The Takeover” Lopez defends his title against Jamaine “The Technician” Ortiz. Known for his Fortnite dances after victories and candid emotional outbursts, Teofimo Lopez, a two-division world champion, guarantees entertainment in every fight. His upcoming bout with “The Technician” promises to be no exception.
Teofimo Lopez, with a record of 19-1, 13 KOs, has consistently redefined boxing fans' perspective of him even as a developing fighter. Once the IBF lightweight world champion, Lopez took the boxing world by storm in 2020, defeating Vasiliy Lomachenko and capturing the WBA and WBO lightweight titles. His split decision loss to George Kambosos Jr. was a setback, but Lopez rebounded in the super-lightweight division with victories against Pedro Campa and then barely against Sandor Martin. Regardless of Lopez questioning if he still had it, his unanimous decision win over former undisputed light welterweight Josh Taylor solidified his status as a two-division world champion and showcased the true potential of a focused Teofimo Lopez.
At Tuesday's press conference, Lopez was both unhinged as usual, calling himself a clown of boxing, yet also acnowledging the obstacles he conquered to get to this very spot.
“I’ve been to the top before at 135, beating the most decorated fighter at the time. Nobody wanted to face him. Now we’re back again. I beat the guy nobody wanted to fight again. So, I’ve looked it as I’ve gained it, lost it and I’ve gained it back again. I know what it takes to be great, which means to respect the ring and respect what it means to be a champion.”
Jamaine Ortiz, on the other hand, holds a record of 17-1-1 with 8 KOs. He stepped into the limelight in May 2022, upsetting Jamel Herring. While the upset over the former world champion was impressive, Herring wasn't the strongest in the division by far. Despite a subsequent loss to Lomachenko, Ortiz made a comeback against Antonio Moran last September. Now, he sets his eyes on "The Takeover" for a chance at the WBO super-lightweight title.
For Lopez, it's more than just about winning titles; it's about carving out a legacy and retaining bragging rights over his peers. Training relentlessly since August, he's claimed he's honed his speed and strength, aiming to dominate Ortiz in the ring. “I'm not going to leave it in the judges' hands at all,” he declared, vowing to deliver a knockout.
However, Ortiz is not in Las Vegas to watch the Super Bowl. Known for his agility, decent speed, and effective jab, he is a decent opponent for Lopez, who is making his first title defense. Ortiz, who has also tasted the canvas, feels confident he can pull the upset on Thursday.
"I feel like I’m going to be the guy having the clown do whatever I want to do. It’s going to be that kind of show," he said.
Courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
With nearly identical stats in age, reach, and height, the real difference lies in the level of competition each fighter has faced. Ortiz's most notable victory is over Jamel Herring, admired more for his heart and down-to-earth personality than his boxing abilities. His majority draw against Joseph Adorno, where Ortiz was dropped twice, and a less than competitive fight against Lomachenko, don't stack up against Lopez's extensive and impressive resume. Given Lopez's explosive style and superior ring generalship, it's hard to envision Ortiz outshining him, barring any personal issues on Lopez's part, of course.
However, Lopez seems focused and upbeat in recent interviews, confidently promising an entertaining knockout.
Lopez-Ortiz and Keyshawn Davis-Jose Pedraza will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT