Lomachenko-Lopez clash in doubt

The tantalising lightweight showdown between unified world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko and unbeaten IBF title-holder Teofimo Lopez is under threat.

Lomachenko-Lopez had been tentatively scheduled for October 3, but the IBF champion is unsatisfied with the money on offer after the Covid-19 Pandemic forced a reduction in purses due to all fights currently taking place in a sanitised, behind-closed-doors environment.

Both fighters are promoted by Top Rank, but Honduran-American Lopez, who impressively halted Richard Commey in two rounds to win his crown last December, believes he is worth more than the deal currently on offer. 

According to a report in The Athletic, Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) is unhappy with a $1.25 million purse from Top Rank, who are asking the fighter to be more realistic in the current market.

“We explained to them we have no gate, no closed-circuit,” Top Rank CEO Bob Arum told Steve Kim of “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’s manager David McWater is sympathetic to the unprecedented situation caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic, but believes his man is entitled to more for a clash against the pound-for-pound No.1 fighter in boxing.

“Everybody is trying to do the right thing,” McWater told Steve Kim. “But there doesn’t seem to be enough money for everybody. We were willing to take a haircut from what was expected before, but not one of the magnitude presented to us.

“I think more likely we would take another fight at 135 and revisit [Lomachenko],” he continued. “To me, a lot of this has to do with [US TV network] ESPN. I mean, 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.”

Yet Hall of Fame promoter Arum still has hope that an agreement can be reached. 

“If we don’t make a deal with [Lopez], we’ll move off,” said Arum. “But I’m optimistic still that we’ll come to terms.”

Ukrainian maestro Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) hasn’t fought since dropping and decisioning Hull’s Luke Campbell at the O2 Arena in August 2019.