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When Hall of Famer Roy Jones Jr. was asked in 2018 whether there has ever been a dynamic and athletic boxer who reminds him of himself, the former four-division champion paused before sharing a surprising name: Teofimo Lopez Jr.

Lopez, at the time, was an unbeaten lightweight prospect who had not yet shocked the world by upsetting pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko to become the unified champion of the division. Four years later, however, Lopez entered the ring on Saturday against WBO junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor amid a growing suspicion he had become damaged goods at age 25 after a series of inflammatory remarks and bizarre behavior that had many questioning his sanity. 

As it turned out, it would've been apropos had Lopez simply walked to the ring inside the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York to the tune of Jones' 2002 hip hop anthem "Ya'll Must've Forgot" as foreshadowing for the masterful display that was to come.

Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs) captured a world title in a second division by scoring a unanimous decision despite judges' scores (115-113, 115-113, 117-111) that failed to illustrate how dynamic and in control the native of Brooklyn actually was. He also handed Taylor (19-1, 13 KOs), a former undisputed champion at 140 pounds, his first pro defeat yet the story of the evening was how poised and brilliant Lopez appeared despite the chaos around him.

Confidence has never been an issue for Lopez, but his cockiness began to border on the bizarre after a firestorm of incendiary comments and conspiracy theories (including his romanticizing of in-ring death) that were increasingly received as a cry for help by more than a few boxing journalists turned armchair psychologists who began to seriously fear for Lopez's future. Add in the fact that Lopez is embroiled within a messy divorce and a custody battle for his young son and this had all the makings to be a ticking time bomb.

That's not the Lopez who showed up inside the ring, however. Or maybe it was, with the four ring posts that house so much violence ironically serving as therapy and his sanctuary. Either way, the version of Lopez who outclassed Taylor looked awfully similar to the one who baited and outperformed Lomachenko just three years earlier.

Lopez used dynamic speed and timing to discipline the larger Taylor, 33, into following him around instead of throwing. He also showcased an incredibly high fight IQ at every turn in a complete performance that looked nothing like the pair of uneven victories he had scored in the division over the past year. 

Maybe this was Lopez's way of moving the public narrative away from the idea that his power and electricity didn't translate as much at 140 pounds while replacing it with endless debate about the exaggerated cloud of drama threatening to engulf him. Or maybe Lopez had used boxing journalists and social media as his puppets to distract from the real trouble going on at home, it would've been a justifiable yet crass attempt at deflection. 

Considering Lopez refused to talk about which future opponents he wants next after the win to instead mention that his next fight would come in the courtroom to fight for custody of his son, it's possible that the latter is partially true. But a boxing victory, even one as important and redemptive as the one over Taylor, won't fix the pain that seemed to fuel so much of his disruptive decision making; not to mention, that it would be some kind of a sick ruse had all of this simply been a dark comedy of choreographed behavior.

The biggest thing Lopez proved on Saturday is that his ability to block out the world around him in order to channel his anger and angst into a brilliant performance inside the ring is not only restored, it remains a super power, as potent as his lightning quick trigger of a right hand. Lopez also proved, again, that when he's at his very best, he's among the best active fighters on the planet. 

It's a big win for the sport anytime a young fighter overrun with such enormous pressure and hype can actually exceed expectations, which has become a recurring theme throughout the high points of Lopez's short career. 

The victory is also a potentially huge boost to the 140-pound division, only adding to the blockbuster potential of future fights including any combination of big names like Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, Regis Prograis, Rolando Romero and former unified champion Jose Ramirez, just to name a few.

Lopez and his overeager father/trainer with the same name are now armed with more fuel than ever to embark on a world tour of "I told you so" remarks back in the power seat as a world champion, which they fully earned with such a huge win. But the duo also needs to take a hard look in the mirror to figure out the volatile relationship between them (which was exposed in a disturbing ESPN interview this week) before another powder keg threatens to once again derail such a promising career.  

As it turns out, we never actually forgot how great Lopez can truly be, even with the pleasant reminder. But what we still hope to one day find out is how much greater -- both in and outside of the ring -- he can even be.