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Why Teofimo is fighting Claggett, and how can he get the big fights he wants - ESPN

MIAMI — Teofimo Lopez glides around the ring with palm trees surrounding him back where it all started for the junior welterweight champion.

Lopez was born in Brooklyn, New York, but grew up in South Florida after relocating at age 5. It was near here, roughly 20 miles away in Davie, where Lopez started training in boxing one year later under the guidance of his father, Teofimo Lopez Sr.

And it's where Lopez returns Saturday at 26 — with his father still manning the corner — for his first professional fight in Miami, when he defends his WBO junior welterweight title against Steve Claggett (10 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN+).

Lopez (21-1, 13 KOs) is once again looking to build momentum. He claimed he was retiring last summer after his impressive win over Josh Taylor to become a two-division champion. Then, in February, Lopez struggled to a decision victory over Jamaine Ortiz in an uneventful fight that elicited boos.

Lopez, perhaps, just needed a break. He rested after his last fight, Lopez told ESPN earlier this month in Little Havana, and now feels rejuvenated.

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Saturday, June 29, 5:45 p.m. ET on ESPN+: Teofimo Lopez vs. Steve Claggett undercard

Saturday, June 29, 10 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+: Teofimo Lopez vs. Steve Claggett, 12 rounds, for Lopez's WBO junior welterweight title

«I think that did a good thing for me; I think that overall I needed that,» said Lopez, ESPN's No. 10 pound-for-pound boxer. «I was training right after my fight with Josh Taylor. So you are looking at like eight months of camp, really.»

For the second consecutive outing, Lopez will face someone below the elite level. Against a tailor-made