Why is Teofimo fighting Claggett, and how can he get the big fights he wants?

Why is Teofimo fighting Claggett, and how can he get the big fights he wants?


MIAMI — Teofimo Lopez struts into the ring with palm trees surrounding him, which is where it all began for the junior welterweight champion.

Lopez was born in Brooklyn, New York, but grew up in South Florida after moving at age 5. It was near here, about 20 miles away in Davie, where Lopez began training in boxing a year later under the guidance of his father, Teofimo Lopez Sr.

And that’s where Lopez will return Saturday at 26 — with his father still in the corner — for his first professional fight in Miami, where he’ll defend his WBO junior welterweight title against Steve Claggett (10 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN+).

Lopez (21-1, 13 KOs) is trying to build momentum once again. He claimed he was retiring after his impressive win over Josh Taylor last summer, which made him a two-division champion. Then, in February, Lopez struggled to a decision win over Jamaín Ortiz in an uneventful bout that drew boos from the crowd.

Lopez may just need a break. Lopez told ESPN in Little Havana earlier this month that he rested after his last fight and now feels refreshed.


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