We’ve got a titanic matchup in the making as two of the best boxers in the sport get set to square off under the bright lights at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, June 10.
Josh Taylor, the Scottish southpaw, possesses a perfect 19-0 record in his career, winning 13 of those bouts via knockout on the way to becoming the United Kingdom’s first undisputed champion of the four-belt era.
His opponent, Teofimo Lopez Jr. will be playing just a few miles from home, as the 25-year-old boxer spent the first few years of his life a borough over, earning his nickname “El Brooklyn” that way. Lopez fights out of an orthodox stance and is nearly perfect throughout his career with an 18-1 margin. Like Taylor, Lopez has 13 knockouts under his belt as one of the most devastating boxers in the lightweight classes. His lone loss came in November 2021, when he lost a tight match to George Kambosos Jr. in a split decision, losing possession of all four lightweight titles in doing so.
There’s a ton riding on this match, as the winner will claim two of the four titles in the light welterweight class.
As of right now, Taylor is a modest favorite at BetMGM Sportsbook, listed at -175 to win on the two-way outcome sheet and to maximize your chances of winning big this summer, make sure to use a BetMGM Bonus Code when placing your bets on Taylor, Lopez, or any other sporting event. By doing so, you can ensure that you’re securing the most favorable profit available, giving you an edge in your wagering endeavors.
Here’s a look at how the two fighters stack up, as well as storylines to keep an eye out for as the hype starts to build for the matchup.
Taylor has been extremely selective about which fights he signs off on since claiming a clean sweep of the world titles in May 2021. He’s taken part in just one bout since then, against English southpaw Jack Catterall in Glasgow in February 2022. The match created considerable controversy when Taylor won via split decision, despite many fans thinking that Catterall outpaced him dramatically (indeed, the Englishman landed more punches than his northern neighbor in 11 out of 12 rounds).
The two British Isles natives had a tentative agreement in place for a rematch this February that would’ve helped Taylor to silence his critics, but he suffered a foot injury in training that forced him to shelve the match. Instead, the criticism has only grown since then, making Taylor enter his title bout with Lopez with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove.
Lopez, meanwhile, moved up to light welterweight after falling to Kambosos, and it’s taken him some time to settle in at his new weight. He struggled to a split decision in his fight against Sandor Martin this past December, and cameras caught him asking his team “do I still got it?” following that bout.
Both fighters have something to prove, to themselves as well as to the wider world of boxing fans and pundits.
Given that they’re both experienced fighters, we haven’t seen the level of trash talk you might expect from a matchup with this gravity: Taylor largely complimented Lopez, saying “He’s fast, athletic, looks like he’s quite powerful and he’s got a good boxing brain too, so I’ve definitely got my hands full.”
Of course, Taylor had to let his confidence shine through with a barb or two. “He has a lot of flaws and makes a lot of mistakes. I can see me knocking him out early…It’s got the potential to be an absolute firecracker – fireworks from the very get-go,” Taylor said. “One of us will get caught and I don’t see us seeing the final bell if that’s the case – I can see him going on his back.”
Both fighters look to be as close to 140 pounds as possible ahead of their official weigh in. Taylor has hinted that he plans to move up to welterweight in the near future, saying that it’s harder for him to make weight as he ages, something that plagued him in his fight against Catterall. The Scotsman, nicknamed the Tartan Tornado for his furious fighting style, stands 5-foot-10 with a 69.5-inch reach.
Lopez has a smaller frame, at 5-foot-8 with a 68.5 inch reach, so he’s got a lower center of gravity without sacrificing too much striking distance. Taylor and Lopez are both known for their furious fighting style, so this is a match that could end early in stunning fashion as Taylor predicts. As they both look to recover their bearings in the ring, though, we could see them dance around a bit as they feel things out before the blows start raining down.
The match really could go either way, which makes picking Lopez to pull off the upset a tantalizing prospect.