Ahead of purse bids on Thursday, undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez says he wants to be better compensated for his forthcoming defence against IBF mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr.
Lopez is seeking more than his guaranteed $1.25 million purse and says he is prepared to fight the Australian on a rival promotion if broadcasters ESPN and promoters Top Rank don’t deliver the numbers he is seeking.
“I’m looking forward and I’m moving forward,” Lopez told ESPN’s Mark Kriegel. “If you can’t meet the terms, then like I said, I’m taking my talents somewhere else.”
The Athletic has reported that in the current Covid-19 influenced climate, without a sizeable live gate, Top Rank is not willing to pay above $1.25 million for a fight with Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs). That means ESPN, Top Rank’s broadcaster in the US, would have to stump up additional money for Lopez’s purse.
New Yorker Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) believes he deserves to be significantly remunerated after dethroning pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko on the scorecards last October. He still hopes that the Kambosos bout will be on ESPN but will follow the money.
“Because you got the best fighter in the world on that display,” Lopez told Kriegel. “It’s all paid dues. And that’s what we did. We paid our dues. I am your favourite fighter’s favourite fighter. That sets the tone and I think that everybody needs to realize that. I am the truth. I am the best in the division.
“I can’t take it or leave it no more. It’s more so about it’s a takeover. I earned it. It’s not something that’s given. You’ve gotta earn it.”
Lopez said he will remain at lightweight until Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez settle their business for the undisputed crown at 140lbs on another ESPN show, tentatively scheduled for May.