To a certain extent, Arnold Barboza is in the worst position possible. He might have high-level skills and an undefeated record but the 32-year-old isn’t a big-name and doesn’t bring a ton of dollars to the table. Even with the California native holding the number one spot in the WBO sanctioning body, Teofimo Lopez has shown little to no interest in facing him.
Still, Barboza (29-0, 11 KOs) is determined to become a nuisance to just about everyone. With matchups against Lopez, Devin Haney, and Rolando “Rolly” Romero seemingly farfetched, Barboza is hoping that Subriel Matias will give him a shot.
On numerous occasions, the IBF belt holder has been called out by Barboza. For the most part, Barboza is on an island by himself. Considering his pernicious power and propensity for knocking his opponents out, Matias isn’t number one on anyone’s hit list. Still, Barboza isn’t backing down from the violent champion.
“I think I’m the only one that mentions his name,” Barboza told MillCity Boxing. “I think it’s a good fight, a dangerous fight of course.”
In 2023, Matias (20-1, 20 KOs) took out two admiringly ranked contenders before the sound of the final bell. Although both Jeremias Ponce and Shohjahon Ergashev were highly thought of, Matias ran through them, stopping them both at the halfway mark of their bouts.
At the moment, Matias is getting his body back together after undergoing hand surgery. He figures to be back in the ring in the coming months but in terms of who he’ll face, the Puerto Rican native is crossing his fingers that one of his fellow champions will unify with him.
Unfortunately for Matias, they’re all booked up. Lopez has a date with Jamaine Ortiz, Romero is in the midst of conclaves with Ryan Garcia, and Devin Haney has a mandatory challenger in Sandor Martin.
Grabbing another belt, at least in the short term, seems improbable. So, with his options limited, Barboza is raising his hand in the hopes that Matias will pick him.
In most instances, Barboza has fulminated with his opposition. In the case of Matias, however, he admitted that he has nothing but the utmost respect for him.
“I think he’s the best 140 champion. He’s a dangerous fighter.”