By Jeff Zimmerman
WBO featherweight champion world champion Oscar Valdez and undefeated lightweight Teofimo Lopez worked out for fans and media Wednesday to promote the Super Saturday quadrupleheader which will take place February 2 at Ford Center at the Star in Frisco, Texas. Valdez vs. Carmine Tommasone will headline the ESPN/ESPN Deportes world championship doubleheader that also features the IBF lightweight world title fight between Richard Commey and Isa Chaniev.
The action will then turn to ESPN+ as Lopez versus Diego Magdaleno will serve as the co-feature to the rematch between WBO light heavyweight champion Eleider “Storm” Alvarez and former division kingpin Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev.
On your warrior style after your last fight with Scott Quigg where you fought several rounds with a broken jaw
A lot of people see me as a warrior, a Mexican Warrior as I always dreamed of becoming. It’s something I wished for ever since I was a kid and that happened because of my last fight. Obviously, I don’t want all my fights to be that style, I wish I can make my fights easier, but this is boxing, this is the hurt game, so whatever I have to do to win and as opposed to having a war like that it doesn’t matter. I do want to last in boxing. I do want to have a long career. I want to give me best and that’s why we work hard in the gym, so we can keep on winning, keep on advancing.
On his opponent Carmine Tommasone
He’s not an easy opponent. He’s an Olympian. I take no fights lightly. He’s a great boxer. He might not have a big punch, but I think he’s a tougher fighter that likes to hit and run, amateur style. He was a 2016 Olympian, so going to the Olympics is not easy. He carries a different style from my last opponents, more of a boxer so I know I have to be more aggressor in there, but obviously show a little bit what I have been learning with Eddie with my defense.
On possibly fighting Leo Santa Cruz
I’m happy. I know Santa Cruz is not scared to fight me, we all know that and I’m not scared to fight Santa Cruz. I just got to come to an agreement with the promoters. I know the fans want that fight. Santa Cruz wants it, I personally want it. Nothing personal, we just want to prove who’s the best at 126lbs. First things first, I got this fight with someone that wants to come out victorious. I will fight any of those guys, Santa Cruz, Warrington, who is ever in the division I will gladly take the fight.
On moving to Eddy Reynoso, trainer of Canelo Alvarez
We just want to keep on learning, working on different things. Me and Manny Robles have a great relationship, he’s a big part of my life. It was nothing personal, we just wanted to keep on learning, improving. As far as my defense, I’m not going to talk about it, I’m just going to show it the night of the fight. I think maybe this fight won’t show it, but my next fight, for it to work with a trainer you need time. I’ll be training with Eddy Reynoso for 5 months already, so I can only learn so much right now. We have been adjusting very well in the gym, but I think it’s going to be nothing but positive things.
As an action-packed fighter, on how he can adjust your fan friendly style to show more defense
This is one of things Eddy and I have been talking back and forth. Me training on my defense, doesn’t necessarily mean I am going to be a boxer that runs. I am always going to be working on my defense. We are going to be the same aggressive fighter trying to put on a good fight and a good show for the crowd, but we’re also going to be more cautious obviously. We’re going to be throwing punches, but obviously we are going to be defending ourselves way more. The less you get hit, the more you last in boxing. Boxing is something I love to do, it’s my hobby, my passion and I want to last a long time in boxing.
On proving Eddy Reynoso didn’t just get lucky with Canelo as other young talent like yourself and Ryan Garcia are now training under him
A lot of people think that, I am going to show the message, that no, he’s a great trainer. You guys are going to see it through me. He didn’t get lucky with Canelo, he’s also a great trainer. He’s a perfectionist in boxing. The way me and him talk, he’s constantly studying boxing, studies styles and trying to work on different things. I know he’s a great trainer and I am going to try and demonstrate that in my next fight.
On what you expect February 2nd against Diego Magdaleno
The “Takeover,” my first southpaw that I am fighting in my professional career, so I am very excited about that. I have asked for a southpaw for a long time now, just expect a knockout. It’s all you can eat buffet with right hands, that’s I feel like with southpaws. People don’t know this, but I grew up sparring with southpaws, so I feel like it’s easier fighting southpaws than orthodox. You will see a lot of those things come Saturday, February 2nd.
On possibly fighting Lomachenko
They want Richard Commey to fight him afterwards. Do I see me and Lomachenko fighting just anytime? Probably not. I feel they have their plans for certain fighters. We are still up and coming, I’m young, so they (Top Rank) are going to say they are going to take me slowly. But I do I believe in a world title this year? It has to happen because of the fight fans are going to want to see it. You guys are going to want to see it, because I could be young, my age is one thing, but my skills in that ring is different.
On how much you took from the Menard fight after your 1st round devastating KO
We prepared ourselves well for that fight. We trained hard for that fight. We know Mason Menard was no pushover. He has power and we had to watch his overhand right and things like that. And I wouldn’t take anything from the man. Like Roy Jones used to say, it’s not that they suck or are bums, it’s just that we are that good.
On other young top talent you could face down the road
When it comes to Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney or whoever else you have on your list, I want them to all be great, because at the end of the day that’s what the fight fans want. I am not going to be out here and bash any of those fighters, because I want them to be great and it will make me look that much better when I beat them.
If you want to make money in this sport or be at the top of the food chain, you have to bring something that nobody has ever seen before.
On what brought Top Rank back to Frisco, TX for the Alvarez-Kovalev 2 fight
Jerry is one of my favorite guys. We have been talking to Jerry and Chad Estes who runs the facility about doing fights on a regular basis here in Frisco at this facility. We hope to do 4 events a year here and this would be the first one and we wanted to start off with a spectacular card, which is not only the Alvarez-Kovalev rematch which is a marquee fight and two other world champions in fights with Valdez against an undefeated Italian, that’s 2 undefeated guys, and then we got a IBF lightweight championship with the winner in line to fight a unification fight with Lomachenko, so that’s going to be interesting. And Teofimo Lopez doing the semi-main event on ESPN+.
It’s a really loaded card. The fans will get a really good treat. It’s very historic in the sense we are doing two championship fights on ESPN which will lead into the main and co-main on ESPN+. So that’s a format that nobody has used before, so hopefully it will work.
Alvarez surprise KO against Kovalev in their first fight in March 2018
Alvarez was a secret to a lot of people because he was always in contention to fight Stevenson who always found a way to avoid him. So, we didn’t know much about Alvarez and Kovalev was considered to be the top light heavyweight or one of the top light heavyweights and it was shocking when Alvarez knocked him out.
The excitement over Oscar Valdez and Teofimo Lopez in the Top Rank stable
That’s the future. Valdez is a great young man and he has some major fights, assuming he does well in this comeback fight. He fought very courageously with Scott Quigg with a broken jaw. We got Frampton, the kid that beat Frampton, Warrington, a lot of guys that Oscar can fight.
And as far as Lopez is concerned, they will fight King Kong. They got real confidence and so far, they have lived up to their confidence. So, he’s been spectacular, he not only wins fights, he wins them spectacularly. He is fighting a really tough, experienced pro in Diego Magdaleno. Teofimo has avoided left handers, hasn’t fought southpaws. A lot of these guys start out just wanting to fight an orthodox fighter. Well now he is fighting a southpaw, so we will see. So, I can’t say enough about Teofimo and the way he has progressed.
On whether Lopez could be fighting for a world title in 2019 if he looks impressive against Magdaleno
Well, I told him he has got to earn that. If he beats Diego and I’ll probably want to put him in with somebody in April and then maybe this summer fight Pedraza, that would be a big fight. And if he could handle Pedraza, then take a shot at a title.