With the boxing world pondering the outcome of fights involving undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez and the chasing pack of Ryan Garcia, Gervonta Davis and Devin Haney, reality has set in.
The IBF has ordered Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) must defend against its No.1 contender George Kambosos next – a solid fight, but far less appealing than the New Yorker facing any one of his unbeaten American rivals.
As of Friday, Lopez has a 30-day free negotiation period to reach an agreement to face his Australian challenger before the bout heads to purse bids. A purse bid can still be called earlier by either party if these negotiations prove fruitless.
Talks had already taken place between Top Rank and David McWater, representing Lopez, and DiBella Entertainment and Peter Kahn, on behalf of Kambosos, but an agreement has yet to be reached.
The possibility of Lopez-Kambosos taking place in Australia, where the Covid-19 Pandemic is under relative control and socially distanced fans can be in attendance, has previously been floated.
The lightweight division is currently the talk of the fight game with the talented quartet of Lopez, Garcia, Davis and Haney regularly jousting on social media, but boxing fans are still waiting for them to face one another in the ring.
Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) earned the right to meet Lopez by eclipsing former IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby via split decision at the SSE Arena, Wembley, last October.