Former champion Teofimo Lopez rebounded from his first pro defeat with a seventh-round TKO of Mexican journeyman Pedro Campa on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Lopez, 25, floored Campa with an up-jab in Round 7 before he pinned his foe on the ropes and unloaded with a flurry of overhand rights that prompted referee Tony Weeks to stop the fight at 2:14.
The Top Rank Boxing on ESPN main event was Lopez’s first ring action since a November loss to George Kambosos, when he dropped four lightweight titles in ESPN’s Upset of the Year.
The bout was also Lopez’s debut at junior welterweight, and early on, his power didn’t make its usual impact. While he wasn’t sharp in the beginning, Lopez never encountered much trouble against the 13-1 underdog (according to Caesars Sportsbook).
“We’ve been at 135 (pounds) for about nine years, it was killing my body,” said Lopez, who fought Kambosos with a slight esophageal tear following a tumultuous training camp. ” … We want Josh Taylor … We want (Regis) Prograis, we want (Jose) Zepeda, that’s what we want. We want to be a two-division world champion.
“I’ll take all them boys and take all their dreams away; I’m here to be their nightmare.”
Taylor, Prograis and Zepeda are among the class of Lopez’s new division. Campa, 30, is decidedly levels below that. His face was busted up round after round, and when the fight ended, his left eye was swelling shut and his nose was spewing blood.
The 25-year-old Lopez, who fights out of Las Vegas, seemed to land at will, but it wasn’t necessarily a statement-making performance following the second-longest layoff of his career.
When Lopez (17-1, 12 KOs) last entered the ropes, he was coming off a victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko and was widely recognized as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world.
Campa (34-2-1, 23 KOs) wasn’t talented enough to present any trouble, nor present the sort of test that could show Lopez’s readiness to compete for a title in a new weight class.
A title shot is unlikely to materialize in his next fight anyway, which is planned for Dec. 10 in New York. Taylor is likely to fight Jack Catterall in a Nov. 26 rematch, while Prograis and Zepeda are slated to vie for a vacant title this fall.
Xander Zayas, one of boxing’s most highly touted prospects, scored a fifth-round KO of Elias Espadas (22-5, 15 KOs) in the chief-support bout.
The 19-year-old Puerto Rican scored a knockdown in the opening round with a left hook and finished the 31-year-old Mexican in Round 5 to improve to 14-0 with 10 KOs.