FRISCO, Texas -- Lightweight Teofimo Lopez Jr., the dynamic 2018 ESPN prospect of the year, continued on Saturday night what he calls his "takeover" and his insistence that he will win a world title this year.
Lopez destroyed former lightweight and junior lightweight world title challenger Diego Magdaleno by seventh-round knockout in the Eleider Alvarez-Sergey Kovalev II co-feature at the Ford Center at the Star, the training facility of the Dallas Cowboys.
Lopez, a 2016 Olympian for his parents' home country of Honduras, went into the seventh round for the first time but had no problems handling the far more experienced Magdaleno and set himself up for a fight on April 20 on the undercard of the Terence Crawford-Amir Khan ESPN PPV card.
Lopez (12-0, 10 KOs), 21, of Las Vegas, was coming off a sensational 44-second, one-punch knockout of Mason Menard on Dec. 8 on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Jose Pedraza undercard in New York, and vowed that he would win a world title in 2019. It remains to be seen if he will get that opportunity, but he continued to impress.
"I learned something new. We learned there are going to be tough fighters," Lopez said. "I didn't have to throw every second. We were picking our shots. Every time I picked I landed. He wanted to go toe to toe. No, we're going to be smart about it. I felt like a champ. That's how I feel."
After controlling the first round, Lopez forced Magdaleno back with several heavy shots just before the bell.
Magdaleno got in his face after the round and jawed at him but that was about all he had to offer. Lopez pounded him throughout the second round. He hurt him with a right uppercut, cut him on the bridge of the nose and rocked him repeatedly with combinations to the head and body.
In the final seconds of the sixth round, Lopez landed a powerful left to the head for a knockdown but couldn't follow up in a meaningful way because the round ended. But Lopez continued to pound Magdaleno (31-3, 13 KOs), 32, of Las Vegas, in the seventh before landing two flush left hooks to the head that flattened him.
Magdaleno, whose only previous losses came in world-title fights, was out of it, but referee Gregorio Alvarez administered the full 10-count before waving it off at 1 minute, 8 seconds, after which Lopez did his traditional back flip, then taunted Magdaleno as he was down.
Top Rank wanted Lopez to get experience against a southpaw because he has designs on eventually facing unified lightweight champion and pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko, who is also left-handed. Lopez says he feels he is ready now to fight for a world title.
"Teofimo Lopez, whether you hate him or you like him, you're still going to watch him," Lopez said. "I perform each every performance. What I'm doing right now is entertaining. 2019, we're ready right now [to fight for a world title]. We have to work in the gym. There's always room for perfection."