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Arnold Barboza Jr. feels slighted and wants shot at Teofimo Lopez

Undefeated super lightweight Arnold Barboza Jr. is searching for his next fight, but if he had it his way, he would be in the ring with Teofimo Lopez. 

At 26-0, with 10 knockouts, it shouldn’t be hard for boxer Arnold Barboza Jr. to find a dancing partner in the ring. However, not many are looking to jump into the ring with him, so he’s calling his shot. Teofimo Lopez’s name is the first off his tongue, but there’s a reason for that.

Barboza last fought in August, defeating Antonio Moran by decision. He’s the WBO international super lightweight champion, but solidifying a fight with undisputed champion Josh Taylor is no easy feat. It doesn’t help that Taylor is injured, and his contest with Jack Catterall is postponed until February 2022.

That doesn’t bother Barboza too much because he feels that he has some unfinished business with undisputed lightweight champion Lopez.

A lot of people want to fight Lopez. The 24-year-old is slated to fight George Kambosos Jr. next, but he’s a growing boxing star who’s capable of bringing in a big paycheck for his opponents. That’s not the primary motivating factor for Barboza, though.

Barboza’s issues stem from comments and actions made by Lopez’s father, Teofimo Lopez Sr.

“I got a video from a friend, and it had Teofimo’s dad saying like, ‘Oh, we’re gonna fight Kambosos in November,’” Barboza told FanSided. “He had this whole plan, right—Kambosos in November and then Barboza in January, and before we go to Taylor. I was like, okay, cool, whatever. And then I seen an interview that he did, with I forgot who, and he says the same thing, but he said, ‘Oh, yeah, and then we’ll fight in January, Barboza as a tune-up fight before we fight Josh Taylor.

Arnold Barboza Jr. has a grudge with Teofimo Lopez and hopes to meet him in a super lightweight bout in the near future

“And that word ‘tune-up’ got me mad because I’m like, how are you gonna disrespect me when I’m at the top of my division?”

Barboza’s all for fighting Lopez, but that one word, “tune-up,” has Barboza up in arms. He owns a perfect record and is the number eight super lightweight in the world, according to Boxrec.com.

Barboza tried to message Lopez with his vitriol but hasn’t received a response, so he’s going public with his disdain for Lopez in the hope of securing Lopez after Kambosos if he wins.

Barboza is not to be trifled with. He made the world take notice in October 2020 when he went to war with former title contender Alex Saucedo. Barboza was down in round 7 but controlled the fight to win by unanimous decision.

Barboza has been around the sport of boxing for most of his life. His father was a kickboxer, so combat sports appealed to Barboza. He started training at the age of five but was too young to compete as an amateur in U.S.A Boxing bouts. He found another avenue for competition being smokers.

Smokers are underground fights staged in places like garages or basements. There’s usually drinking, gambling, and somking, thus the term smoker.

“Smoker fights were normal to me man, like you know, people betting on me and people betting and doing their thing,” recalled Barboza. “It was pretty cool, man. I fought smoker fights from the ages from like five and a half to about eight years old.”

While a five-year-old Barboza was fighting, so was his father further down the card. Think of it as a fight club for the whole family.

“It was a crazy atmosphere, man. It was cool. I remember my dad, he would be like main event sometimes,” described Barboza. “I remember when he would fight, he fought these big old dudes, right. I remember his big old guy like a bodybuilder-looking dude, and I remember I was scared for my dad, so I went in the restroom and like prayed for him because I was scared. [I] came out, and my dad knocked him out.”

Barboza was forged in combat. It’s hardwired into his DNA. While he may not have the name recognition of Lopez, Barboza has a rich fighting spirit and skills to match.

Lopez vs. Kambosos takes place on Nov. 27.  Assuming Lopez’s hand is raised in victory, Barboza is more than happy to welcome him to the super lightweight division.

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