Teofimo Lopez returns to the ring to defend his WBO junior welterweight title against Jamaine Ortiz in the main event of a Top Rank on ESPN card at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday (ESPN/ESPN+, 10:30 p.m. ET, with prelims starting at 6:25 p.m. ET.)
Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs) defeated Josh Taylor by unanimous decision in an impressive performance back in June, but days later, Lopez said he was retiring. The former undisputed lightweight champion is now back to defend his title in a new division.
“It’s great to be back,” Lopez said during a news conference Tuesday. “I’m glad to see the talents coming through. But this is only the beginning for me. I’m 26 years young. I’m not even in my prime yet.
“We have a tremendous dance partner. He’s wanted this fight for awhile. And we’ll do our thing. … I know what it takes to be great, which means to respect the ring and respect what it means to be a champion.”
Ortiz (17-1-1, 8 KOs), gave Vasiliy Lomachenko a tough fight but came up short in a unanimous decision loss in October 2022. He followed that up with a unanimous decision victory over Antonio Moran back in September to set up this title shot.
“There hasn’t been respect,” Ortiz said of the fight against Lopez. “It’s a fight. I’m coming here to take his head off. It is what it is.
“There is a calm before the storm. You’ve got to know to keep control of your mind and body, especially before you go into battle.”
Stay here for live results and analysis from Mike Coppinger and Paul Gutierrez, including undercard results and round-by-round analysis.