Teofimo Lopez talks to John Dennen about Bruce Lee, boxing sizes and his inspirations
A tattoo is engraved on Teófimo López’s forearm. “Be water, my friend,” were the thin words. The phrase is from Bruce Lee. “Empty your mind. Be shapeless, shapeless, like water. If you put water in a mug, it becomes the mug,” said the legendary martial artist originally. “If you put it in a teapot, it becomes a teapot. Now you can Water flows or it can crash. Be water, my friend. ”It is a mantra that López, seriously thinking about his fighting style and approach to form, uses to inspire him.
“We are all a work of art. That’s it. We are all a work of art in different ways and my art is something that I will be showing in these years, ”said López. “[Bruce Lee] was someone who understood the basics of life, knew how to balance things, but worked so hard on it. Wanted to put everything in his own arsenal, went against his own tribe, his own mentors, his master.
“It takes a lot of courage and it takes a lot of wisdom, and that’s why when I read his quotes I reach for it so much because I understand it. As I get older I will understand more because we never stop growing. We never stop growing, ”he continued. “Then you know that you are alive. When you learn.
“The comfort zone is a nice place, but nothing ever grows there. You always have to feel uncomfortable. “
López has distinguished himself. Last year he defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko and became world lightweight champion. He carries himself with particular confidence. That’s something he needs. “You have to have it with you. Either you build it and you have it and you were meant to do it, or you don’t have it. Through trials and tribulations, through believing in myself, you must believe. You really have to believe that this was meant for me and only me. Nobody will take that away from me. That was the difference maker. It didn’t come from just being lucky or getting by. I had to do the things that 99 percent are unwilling to be in this 1 percent club. Now that I’m there, the point is to keep this one percent club but work even harder, ”he said. “I learned my confidence from the greats like Ali, the greats like Joe Louis, the greats like Floyd Patterson, I mean the list could go on and on, Tyson. His confidence when he was there, that anger, he was angry. He knew what he wanted. He wanted to hurt these fighters. “
This is a quality with which López identifies. “I’m always angry. Fury. I have a lot of anger. You just have to take care of it, you have to know how to balance it. Balance is the hardest thing in life, ”he said. “Now, as I get older and older, I’m only gradually learning how to deal with it better.
“I don’t want to live by what if. I don’t want to live, should have, should have, should have. I want to live that I did exactly what I was meant to do and how I had to, and that only comes with patience. This is done with understanding and humility throughout the course. “
There is one other quality to which he attributes his ascension that he finds hardest. To trust. “I have to have a lot of trust. Taking a route that 99% won’t want to take takes a lot of confidence. Have a lot of faith in yourself, ”he said. “You have to have a lot of trust in everything you go through, it should work out the way it has to to get you where you need to go on your journey. It really is. Trust, love, faith, hope and understanding. “
He had to wait for his next fight, his defense against George Kambosos was originally taken over by Triller, who had not put the event together. Now it has been taken over by the organizer Matchroom and scheduled for November 27th on DAZN. A long wait.
“Maybe it teaches me more patience. Maybe this will teach me to keep going and never let anything get distracted in my way. That’s how I took it, ”he said. “If anything, I’ve turned that frustration into a positive mindset and increased my work ethic. I train hard for that. I look forward to it. I am more careful and more careful. But there is only so much I can do. I am vaccinated now. I have the antibodies from Covid. So there shouldn’t be any delay, there shouldn’t be any postponements.
“It’s crunch time. Now is the time for me to move from one mental strength to anything else that comes together, ”he added. “Kambosos is a strong fighter, comes forward, is ready to take whatever he needs to get where he needs to be. However, they are not on the frequency that I am on. You’re not even close to the frequency that I’m on. It’s a lot of work to do, but I’m ready to do it. What I’ve done and been through would probably kill these guys. That’s the difference in this fight. I do not overlook him. I never overlook the fighters I face because that is the person who could take all of this away from me and I could be forgotten. I don’t look past him, I don’t overlook him, I look through him. There is a difference and that is my mentality. Put it in front of me and I’ll go straight through it. “