By: Hans Themistode
It was on, off, on, off and now seemingly back on.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride for promoter Bob Arum as he continues to negotiate terms for a lightweight contest between unified champion Vasiliy Lomachenko and IBF belt holder Teofimo Lopez.
The Ukrainian born Lomachenko would always have an extraneous look on his face whenever Lopez was mentioned. “Beat a real fighter,” “Win a belt,” were the guidelines that Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) handed out to the Brooklyn native to score a matchup with him.
With a second round knockout win over former belt holder Richard Commey, Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) placed a check mark on his road to Lomachenko to do list.
Now, with a title wrapped around his waist, Lopez vs Lomachenko was essentially a done deal. However, those plans were scrapped once COVID-19 made it’s unwanted presence known. Still, even with no signs of slowing the virus down, Arum placed safety protocols in place that would allow their contest to take place.
With the finish line in sight, another issue has emerged as Lopez began to make noise of there not being enough zero’s at the end of his check. Now, with their contest seemingly down the drain, Lomachenko has stepped in to push things forward.
“He is voluntarily under these circumstances reduced his own purse in order to get the fight done,” said Arum on the Ak and Barak show on Sirius XM.
According to multiple reports, the total amount of money that will be shared by both Lopez and Lomachenko was initially 4.7 million. Of that amount, Lomachenko was offered 3.5, leaving Lopez with roughly 1.2. Although it is unclear how much more Lopez was hoping to pocket for what would be the most difficult bout of his career, Arum, under normal circumstances, would be willing to dig his hands a bit deeper into his pockets to acquiesce his young star. But with this global pandemic preventing fans from entering arenas, much of the total revenue has taken a major hit. Something that Arum not only realizes, but now he believes Lopez understands where he is coming from as well.
“I think Teofimo is beginning to realize that his aspirations as far as how much his purse should be was based on selling tickets to an arena, to as much as two and a half or three million dollars. Plus the closed-circuit – another million dollars. “Those revenue streams are gone. But that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t get a big purse. And he is getting a big purse. “But you obviously can’t pay the man what you would be able to otherwise if you had a gate and closed-circuit revenue. It’s as simple as that. With that being said, knowing Teofimo and knowing what a good young man he is, we will conclude (a deal) with him shortly.”