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WATCH: Champ Teofimo Lopez Pulls No Punches In Exclusive Interview

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com

Dan Kilbridge  | 4 mins

WATCH: Champ Teofimo Lopez Pulls No Punches In Exclusive Interview

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Teofimo Lopez is entering unchartered territory for his upcoming lightweight bout against George Kambosos Jr. Nov. 27 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theatre in New York City, and he spoke exclusively with Bookies.com’s Amanda Vance ahead of his title defense.

“I’m not gonna lie, I prefer (to be the) underdog rather than top dog,” Lopez told Vance. “But that’s just the way the roles change when you beat the champion.”

Lopez said that fighters can’t let being a favorite impact the way they approach a fight. Watch the video below for more from the champ.

The fight was originally supposed to go down in June before a series of date changes, leaving both fighters with long layoffs since their last time in the ring. That’s only added to the anticipation in the days leading up to the long-planned matchup.

”I’m extremely excited,” Lopez told Vance. “It’s at Madison Square Garden, Hulu Theatre in New York City. I mean, what’s bigger than that? The Mecca of boxing.”

Lopez’s First Title Defense

This will be the 24-year-old’s first title defense since he claimed the WBA, WBO and The Ring lightweight belts with a unanimous decision victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko last year. And the Brooklyn native – ranked the No. 1 lightweight and No. 5 pound-for-pound fighter in the world – finds himself in an entirely different role than the one he played as an underdog ahead of the Lomachenko bout.

Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) captured the IBF lightweight title with a spectacular second-round TKO victory over then-champion Richard Commey. But Lopez was still a big underdog at sportsbooks against Lomachenko, listed at +350 just a day or two before championship fight.

Those days are long gone. The Brooklyn native is now a massive -1000 favorite at betting sites to successfully defend his titles against Kambosos.

Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) will fill that underdog role this time under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden, though, unfortunately, online New York sports betting won’t be available in time for the fight. The 28-year-old challenger who earned the title shot after a split-decision win over Lee Selby is listed at a whopping +600 at betting apps.

Oddsmakers have also listed a robust prop market with round-by-round betting, individual fighter props and method of victory. Lopez is still a heavy favorite any which way, but oddsmakers see a finish as the most likely outcome. The Over/Under for the title fight is set at 7.5 rounds, while Lopez is listed at -250 to win via KO or TKO. He’s currently +275 to win via decision.

CHECK OUT: Tefimo Lopez vs George Kambosos Betting Guide

Lopez On Paul Brothers

Much has changed in the world of boxing and boxing betting since Lopez’ upset win over Lomachenko. As the original date for the Kambosos-Lopez fight fell through, a new brand of combat sports was on the rise behind two unlikely characters in Jake and Logan Paul. The brothers and social media stars have held several PPV fights with themselves as the main event – Jake fought former UFC athletes Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley in 2021, while Logan lost a decision to Floyd Mayweather in June.

The events have generated plenty of hype, but the actual fights seem to blur the line between sports and entertainment.

“It’s good right now for the sport of boxing, I suppose,” Lopez told Vance about the Paul brothers. “(But) I feel like we gotta change the seriousness of it. People have yet to understand how serious and how deadly the sport of boxing can really be. I guess just those guys will learn with time.”

Hype For The Right Reasons

The upcoming Kambosos-Lopez fight is something else entirely – a serious championship bout with two unbeaten lightweights in their prime. And while Lopez is solely focused on his defense as the unanimous lightweight champion, a full year off has him eying an extremely active 2022 – assuming things go well for the rising star against Kambosos in his new role as the heavy betting favorite.

“I’m looking forward to fighting three times next year,” Lopez told Vance. “Whoever’s willing to step up to the plate. I have a whole field. … I’m ready to hit it out of the park.”

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About the Author

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com
Dan Kilbridge
Handicapper Dan Kilbridge writes about college football, MLB and other sports for Bookies.com after spending three years covering Tiger Woods’ comeback and the PGA for Golfweek.