By Keith Idec
Teofimo Lopez isn’t bothered by the criticism he has taken for what was perceived by some as a disrespectful celebration following his knockout of Diego Magdaleno on Saturday night.
Retired two-division champion Andre Ward and fellow ESPN analyst Mark Kriegel voiced their disapproval of Lopez walking over to a fallen Magdaleno and using a sweeping motion to signify that he had gotten rid of his opponent. Referee Gregorio Alvarez had just stopped counting out a demolished Magdaleno in the seventh round when Lopez made that gesture.
Lopez previously performed what have become his trademark celebrations – a “Fortnite” dance and a backflip – after defeating the two-time title challenger. He incited former WBO super bantamweight champ Jessie Magdaleno, Diego’s younger brother, and other members of Magdaleno’s team by making the aforementioned move.
The 21-year-old Lopez took to Twitter on Monday to explain himself, but he doesn’t feel an apology is necessary.
Lopez, a Las Vegas resident originally from Brooklyn, stated in the Tweet that he made that sweeping gesture after their fight because Magdaleno had disrespected his family’s Honduran heritage and was talking trash during what amounted to a one-sided fight.
Lopez quickly deleted the Tweet.
He did issue a subsequent statement to BoxingScene.com through his promoter, Top Rank Inc., regarding his concern for Magdaleno’s health. The fast-rising contender expressed surprise that Magdaleno’s handlers hadn’t stopped the bout before what Ward considered an utterly unnecessary seventh round.
“After the fifth and sixth rounds, I could hear his corner motivating him,” Lopez said, “and I realized they weren’t going to stop the fight. I didn’t want the fight to go that way, but there was nothing else I could do. I knew I’d have to knock him out for the fight to be over.”
Even as the man administering the punishment, Lopez grew worried about Magdaleno as their fight continued.
“I was thinking about the man’s health while I was fighting,” Lopez said.
Las Vegas’ Lopez (12-0, 10 KOs) knocked out Magdaleno (31-3, 12 KOs) with two vicious lefts in the seventh round of a fight ESPN+ streamed from Ford Center at The Star, the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility. The heavy-handed Lopez previously dropped Magdaleno with a left hook in the sixth round.
Las Vegas’ Magdaleno, 32, lost by knockout for just the second time in his 11-year pro career. Former WBO lightweight champ Terry Flanagan stopped him in the second round of their October 2015 fight in Manchester, England, Flanagan’s hometown.
Lopez recorded his second straight spectacular knockout.
The 2016 Honduran Olympian needed just 44 seconds to produce one of the most electrifying knockouts of 2018. A devastating right hand by Lopez annihilated Mason Menard (34-4, 24 KOs), who was briefly knocked unconscious December 8 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.