By: Hans Themistode
With the boxing world facing an unusual decline in terms of numbers, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum didn’t see any other way around it.
The long time promoter has seen the good and bad days of boxing over the years, but with COVID-19 still alive and well, he’s sat back and watched his ratings suffer in a big way.
Fresh out of ideas, Arum announced to the world the biggest matchup that he could possibly make. Lightweight unified champion Vasiliy Lomachenko is officially set to take on IBF belt holder Teofimo Lopez.
Under normal circumstances, fans of the sport would begin saving their hard earned cash two months in advance for their October pay-per-view showdown. Yet, with Arum’s numbers suffering and the world craving big time boxing, Arum has stopped fans from digging deep into their pandemic effected bank accounts.
Arguably the biggest contest of the year will take place on free television on ESPN.
For the Brooklyn born Lopez, both he and his father, Teofimo Lopez Sr, have been shouting the name Lomachenko ever since they burst onto the scene in 2016. Smoke and mirrors were the terms that were best used to describe him according to the duo. Yet with every win over a credible high level fighter, Lomachenko looked anything but what he was described as.
For the Ukrainian born champion, all he has done is win throughout the vast majority of his boxing life. With an amateur record consisting of 396 wins against only one single defeat, Lomachenko has carved out an indelible legacy for himself in the sport of boxing.
Still, even with two gold medals, world titles in three separate weight divisions and, at least according to most, the recognition as the best fighter in the world, Lomachenko is tabbed as only the slight favorite in his matchup with Lopez.
At 32 years of age, Lomachenko appears to be in the prime of his career. But with endless miles on those Ukrainian legs of his, oddsmakers are keeping a close eye on this matchup.
The end result of their showdown is fascinating, but it is also a moot point.
During a year in which fans saw venues around the world closed shut in their faces due to COVID-19, dishing out high prices for big time boxing has become more of the norm.
But with the economy still facing a downward spiral, school’s continuing to keep classroom doors padlocked and just simply going to the corner store viewed as a daunting journey, the news of Lomachenko vs Lopez on free TV gives fight fans something to smile about in the midst of the chaos going on around the world.