By: Hans Themistode
IBF Lightweight titlist Teofimo Lopez is screaming “show me the money” for his highly anticipated unification contest against unified champion Vasiliy Lomachenko.
It was first reported by Mike Coppinger of The Athletic that Lopez was offered 1.2 million for the October showdown. But with the most difficult and noteworthy fight of his career staring him square in the face, Lopez has come back to the negotiating table with his hands out asking for more.
For promoter Bob Arum, money has never been an issue. But with COVID-19 compromising his bottom line, Arum has opened up his wallet to reveal that only flies reside inside.
“We explained to them we have no gate [revenue], no closed-circuit [revenue],” Arum told ESPN.com. “I mean, we’re willing to pay him a big price. But again, I’m not going to lose millions of dollars on an event because he thinks he’s worth more.”
Lopez has left much of the negotiations in the hands of his manager David McWater. Now, there is an acrimonious feeling surrounding both parties as arguably Arum’s biggest fight left on his COVID-19 ravished calendar hangs on by a mere thread. That aforementioned thread of course, can be reinforced with the help of a few more dollars. McWaters is aware that asking for more money during a global pandemic is a bit tricky and was willing to work out a Top Rank friendly deal to satisfy both sides. But the current offer on the table is an absolute nonstarter.
“Everybody is trying to do the right thing,” McWater told ESPN.com. “But there doesn’t seem to be enough money for everybody. We were willing to take a hair cut from what was expected before, but not one of the magnitude presented to us.”
The hourglass on a Lopez vs Lomachenko showdown is quickly winding down. Not only is Arum currently at odds with his young star, but Lopez has also gone on the record stating how difficult it is for him to make the 135 pound limit. A fight with Lomachenko was viewed as his last at the weight.
Moving up to 140 pounds is a strong possibility for the Brooklyn born native, but according to McWaters, he could stick around a bit longer. However, that doesn’t mean that McWaters and Lopez are acquiescing to their money demands in any way shape or form.
“I think more likely we would take another fight at 135 and revisit [the Lomachenko fight]. To me, a lot of this has to do with ESPN. If they want the fight, I think they should find a way to make it work for Top Rank. Bob’s right, Top Rank shouldn’t have to lose money on this – but neither should Teofimo. The big winner here would be ESPN. I feel it should be incumbent on them to find a way to make this happen.”