In recent weeks, IBF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez has been cast as an unhappy figure, balking at the Covid-19 reduced purse on offer for his mega-fight against WBA Super, WBC Franchise and WBO title-holder Vasiliy Lomachenko. Now the Honduran-American has chosen to set the record straight.
With a deal finally agreed for October 17, one of the most eagerly anticipated fights in boxing will now take place, but Lopez has poured scorn on the narrative of him holding out for unrealistic money or potentially even avoiding the fight.
“People need to stop sticking their nose in things they don’t understand,” Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) told Steve Kim of ESPN.com after finalising the deal. “I was just more frustrated about the fact that [I knew] the fight was going to get made, it was just — how are we going to get this done? Obviously, there were numbers thrown at me, that I knew that with ESPN and everything, once [those details] came to the table, it was different. That’s all.
“We were going to make the fight happen, of course. It was just a matter of who’s getting what. They’re throwing out bullshit like that Lomachenko put out part of his cut to make the fight happen with me, and give me something like $800,000 out of his check.
“That’s false, and I hate the fact that people are throwing it out there and making it sound like he dug into his own pocket. Come on man. I wouldn’t allow it, I wouldn’t want to accept something like that.
“I’m excited for the fans, I’m extremely excited and I think it’s going to be one that everybody needs to tune in and watch. I mean, what better way for everyone, it’s going to be on free TV, it’s going to be on ESPN, the best platform in sports.
“We’re going in there to make a statement,” added Lopez. “It’s always been personal. But now I have a chip on my shoulder from more things to make it that much more personal, just that extra.”
Father/trainer Teofimo Lopez Sr, who makes Danny Garcia’s father Angel seem like the quiet guy in the room, is predicting a spectacular performance that will crown his son as the new pound-for-pound superstar of boxing.
“It’s not going to even last three rounds,” the irrepressible Lopez Sr. told Steve Kim. “When that monster hits him with the first punch, you’re going to see a hurt dog without no legs. He’s done. The first punch is going to change the whole fight. He’s going to wish he was never in that ring.
“This kid is from another planet, this kid is not normal. We’re gifted.”
Main image: Lopez, promoter Bob Arum and Lomachenko. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.