Josh Taylor vs. Teofimo Lopez Odds, Pick & Prediction: 2 Ways to Play ESPN Boxing Main Event

Josh Taylor vs. Teofimo Lopez Odds, Pick & Prediction: 2 Ways to Play ESPN Boxing Main Event article feature image
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Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Taylor of Scotland

  • Tonight's ESPN boxing headliner features notables Josh Taylor vs. Teofimo Lopez.
  • This is a crossroads fight for both fighters, who risk imploding a promising career.
  • Taylor is the betting favorite, but below, boxing expert Bryan Fonseca has picks for both sides of the main event.

Josh Taylor vs. Teofimo Lopez Odds

Taylor Odds
-210
Lopez Odds
+162
Over/Under
10.5 (-215 / +164)
Venue
Hulu Theatre in New York City
Time
10 p.m. ET (11 p.m. ET main event)
Channel
ESPN
Odds as of Thursday and via FanDuel

We've had some other alleged 50-50 fights this year, and to me, this is one – even though the odds don't reflect that.

I said Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia was more like a 60-40 fight. I thought Devin Haney vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko was a truer 50-50 fight, but it felt like 55-45 until the opening bell – and then we were treated with a 50-50.

Josh Taylor (19-0, 15 KOs) vs. Teofimo Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs) is as even and as unpredictable as it gets, even if oddsmakers disagree.

Still, I honestly won't know who I'm betting in Saturday's ESPN-televised headliner (8 p.m. ET) until I get to the conclusion of this piece (but it's feeling like a prop-betting type of night).

Both Taylor and Lopez are controversial, both have been to the top of the mountain, and both have immense questions heading into Saturday's showdown at Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Josh Taylor and Teofimo Lopez not allowed to face off at the weigh in…#boxing#TaylorLopez@TheMandatoryTKOpic.twitter.com/DC7H3PH8XW

β€” Bryan Fonseca πŸ‡΅πŸ‡· (@BryanFonsecaNY) June 9, 2023

Taylor hasn't fought since February 2022, in a bout many had him losing, in which he was dropped and squeaked by via split-decision victory against overwhelming underdog Jack Catterall.

Lopez has fought twice since, winning a comeback bout by TKO last August before barely defeating replacement challenger Sandor Martin, who filled in for the injured Jose Pedraza, and nearly outpointed the once near undisputed lightweight champion in December.

Both, off of "meh" performances by their standards, arrive in NYC needing a victory at the risk of imploding a promising career.

Taylor, 32, hasn't been active, was undisputed at 140 pounds after beating Catterall, and holds only the WBO title 16 months later after vacating the IBF, WBC and WBA belts.

Lopez, 25, asked, "Do I still got it?" after not looking like himself against Martin. He's the only man to convincingly outpoint Lomachenko, and his only loss to George Kambosos felt like a series of self-inflicted ones with an emotional gameplan Kambosos was able to pick apart.

Both Taylor and Lopez were knocked down in their last fight, and each skated by with split decisions that vocal factions of boxing fans vehemently disagree with.

Now, let's size up the in-ring portion of this next one.

Taylor vs. Lopez Fight Analysis

Here's what we do know.

Taylor is naturally bigger, a true 140-pounder, a southpaw who is 5-foot-10 with a 69.5-inch reach and who enjoys using his size to bully his opponents on the inside – as he tried to employ against Catterall and Regis Prograis.

He boxed more against Jose Ramirez, whom he defeated in 2021 to win undisputed status in the weight class, but also found success inside and even scored two knockdowns en route to a unanimous decision victory, arguably his most impressive showing.

Lopez moved up from lightweight last year and is 2-0 with a knockout at 140 pounds. Lopez is 5-foot-8 with a 68.5-inch reach. He is one of the sport's most explosive fighters with all-around boxing skill, but he prefers to overwhelm his opponents with his star-making power and speed combination.

This fight comes down to who is going to show up, period.

Tonight, we find out who backs up the talk 🀫#TaylorLopez | 10PM ET | @ESPNpic.twitter.com/BMIP1oDMyf

β€” Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) June 10, 2023

Which Teofimo is going to show up? Is it the one against Martin who questioned himself after the fight? Because that one would get his ass kicked against Taylor. Is it the one who had a poor game plan against Kambosos? Because that one loses on Saturday night.

Or, is it the Lopez who seemingly put it all together and was locked in against Lomachenko – the one who starched Richard Commey in Round 2 in his coming out party in late 2019?

And for Taylor? The performance he put forth against Catterall, who kept pinging him with left hands over the top, who Taylor got dropped against? If that Taylor shows up? He's getting cracked.

But if Taylor shows out the way he did against Ramirez, Lopez is going to have a problematic evening, especially if his funk continues.

I've been pondering this pick for weeks, probably months, and I have to make one, so here we go.

Taylor vs. Lopez Pick

I'm not gonna lie, my record is good – 9-6 on main fights – and I've had a lot of confidence with many of my other picks. This one? Since I've been doing these at Action Network, it's the most unpredictable fight I've had to preview. But hey, it's a great problem to have.

My pick is going with the most reliable bet on the board: Taylor by decision, which you can get at +175 on DraftKings. I will hedge with a Lopez knockout at +500, which is the price on FanDuel, accounting for the possibility of Taylor getting caught if in too close.

My reasoning is simple: Although Taylor has had a long layoff and should've lost his last fight, Lopez has now had two of his last three fights in which he looked like a lesser version of his peak explosive self.

Taylor is naturally bigger and will try to dictate the fight with his size from the southpaw stance, and Lopez is more of a wild card – hence why he's a +162 underdog now. Taylor will need to watch for Lopez's pop when on the inside, though, especially if he plans on making that his evening office.

I think the longer the fight goes, the more it benefits Taylor, even with the layoff. Lopez will be searching for answers, and if he can't win rounds, which he struggled to do against Martin, he'll slowly fade unless he can catch Taylor late.

The trash-talking has also been entertaining. Highly encourage you to check that out.

Otherwise, enjoy the fight, and don't go broke!

The Picks: Josh Taylor by decision or technical decision (+175 at DraftKings, 1 unit) | Teofimo Lopez via KO/TKO (+500 at FanDuel, 0.2 unit)


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