Teofimo Lopez is in a position where he has to decide whether to chase greatness or focus on getting the biggest paycheck possible for his lightweight unification match against Vasily Lomachenko.
IBF 135-pound champion Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) has reportedly turned down a $1.2 million offer from his promoters at Top Rank to face WBA/WBC/WBO lightweight champion Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) on October 3. Lopez-Lomachenko is a fight for the undisputed lightweight championship.
The 32-year-old Lomachenko is said to have been offered $3.4 million for the fight, and he’s not balking at that proposal.
While some boxing fans believe that the 23-year-old Lopez is greedy for wanting more than the $1.2 million offered to him by Top Rank, it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that Luke Campbell made MORE than that to face Lomachenko last August at the O2 in London, England.
Campbell was the challenger, not a champion like Teofimo. Of course, things were different back then, seeing that the Lomachenko vs. Campbell fight took place in front of a live crowd.
If Teofimo and Lomachenko fought in front of a crowd, then there would be more money to go around for both guys. That’s why Teofimo is better off waiting until groups return before he faces Lomachenko because this might be his only chance of fighting him.
Should Lopez chase the paycheck?
“Mike Coppinger reports that Top Rank and Teofimo Lopez are far apart in the revenue split for Vasily Lomachenko,” said Chris Mannix to DAZN. “That fight initially scheduled for October is now on the verge of collapsing.
Lopez reportedly turned down an offer over $1.2 million from Top Rank to take on one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Does Lopez deserve more money for the Lomachenko fight?”
Lopez DOES deserve more money than $1.2 million, especially given that Lomachenko is making considerably more. With the risk involved in the fight, Lopez certainly deserves more than what’s been offered.
“Teofimo Lopez said he wants this fight. He wants Vasily Lomachenko,” said Sergio Mora. “Now that it’s there, $1.2 million is a lot of money, especially for a 23-years-old kid. He is a world champion, but he’s 15-0.
“In his 16th fight, he’s already getting seven figures. Does he deserve money? Yeah, probably, but he should chase the glory and not the paycheck. This is what’s going on with these young champions.
“They think they deserve more, but there’s no one in the stands, so you have to understand the promotional and the business side of it. I say chase the glory, not the money.”
Losing to Lomachenko could hurt Teofimo’s earning power in future fights, so it makes a lot of sense for him to want to ensure he’s paid what he feels it’s worth. Perhaps Teofimo would be more cavalier about the money if he was the favorite to beat Lomachenko.
If you’re pretty sure that you’re going to emerge as the winner, then you can afford to take less because you know your future earning power won’t be damaged. It’s a different story if you’re a considerable underdog like Lopez.
Teofimo vs. Lomachenko not a great PPV fight
“I understand where Teofimo is coming from because, in his last fight against Richard Commey, he only made a half a million. He took a little bit less money in that one,” said Mannix.
“For the biggest fight of his career, I don’t think he’d look to short change himself at all. One solution to this is to put the fight on ESPN pay-per-view and give Lopez a higher percentage of the pay-per-view upside.”
Lopez took around $500,000 for the Richard Commey fight, but it wasn’t nearly as risky as a match against Lomachenko. Also, the Commey match was nowhere near as big as the Lomachenko match will be.
“That would give him at least a chance to go out and sell the fight and make himself some more money that way,” Mannix continued.” I know that Top Rank is still trying to decide where to put this fight on. ESPN Linear, ESPN+, or on pay-per-view.
“I don’t love the idea of Lopez and Lomachenko on pay-per-view. I don’t think it does a lot of buys or a lot of interest, especially with casual [boxing fans], but it would be an opportunity for Teofimo Lopez to make up some of that money he’s not getting with a guarantee.”
Lomachenko-Lopez isn’t an excellent fight for pay-per-view, but it’s perhaps the only way that Teofimo will get the money that he’s looking to make. If you’re Top Rank, you probably don’t want to stage the Lomachenko vs. Lopez fight on pay-per-view or ESPN+ at this point.
More people should have access to see Lomachenko and Teofimo on regular ESPN so that they can become fans of one or both of them. It’s still too early to have Loma and Lopez fighting on pay-per-view or the ESPN+ app because they haven’t been seen enough to build their fanbases for pay-per-view.
PPV only option for Lomachenko-Lopez
“Other than that, you’re going to have to wait. This is a problem that all boxers are coming upon,” continued Mannix. “If they want to be in a big fight, they may have to roll the dice that big pay-per-view numbers are going to come in because the live gate isn’t there.
If Top Rank doesn’t want to give Lopez the money he’s asking for to fight Lomachenko, then they’ll probably need to take it to PPV. At least that way, they have a chance of Lopez getting the money he’s asking for to face Lomachenko.
“Even though Lopez vs. Lomachenko wouldn’t have done six, seven, eight million in a live gate. It would have done at least a few million, and that’s money that’s not going in the pocket of Teofimo Lopez.”
“I disagree. It shouldn’t go to pay-per-view. Look at what Wilder-Fury did,” said Mora on the Teofimo vs. Lomachenko fight. “It didn’t do the numbers that people were expecting.
“So I just think with this fight between Teofimo Lopez and Lomachenko, I think it’ll do fewer numbers. They are smaller fighters. Lopez is on the rise. He’s not known, and he’s not a fighter that will sell a lot of pay-per-views.
“Lopez should do what Lomachenko did. Chase greatness. Lomachenko tried to become a world in his second pro fight against Orlando Salido. He came up short, but look at him now.
“He’s arguably the best fighter on the planet. So if Lopez wants to chase greatness, that’s what he should do. He should take this fight, even if he comes up short against the number one fighter on the planet, he still has got a lot of career left. Chase the greatness, man.”
Lomachenko vs. Teofimo will do fewer numbers on pay-per-view than other fights because neither of them is popular right now. Also, it’s not a good time to have pay-per-view fights due to t the pandemic.
$1.2 million not much for a career-defining fight
“Yeah, but Lomachenko was chasing greatness, and we don’t know if he was making quarters on the dollar for the Salido fight,” said Mannix. “He might have been making perfect money for the Salido fight.
“He’s making significantly more than Lopez for this fight. You mentioned the Wilder vs. Fury fight. Yeah, that did underperform at least the lofty expectations that Bob Arum and some of the people out there had for that fight.
“But both Wilder and Fury had massive guarantees in the neighborhood of $30 million. If this reporting is true, Teofimo has a guarantee of $1.2 million, and that’s simply not a lot for a career-defining fight.”
$1.2 million for Teofimo is woefully inadequate for the type of risk that he’s taking in this fight, and it’s not a big enough bump up in Lopez’s pay from his match against Commey for it to be worth it.
Lomachenko is arguably four times the risk for Lopez, so it would make sense for Teofimo to receive four times what he received from the Commey bout. So that would be $2 million for Lopez.
“I’m all about chasing greatness, and I’m all about this fight being on regular ESPN so that it can play out in front of a mass audience. But if you’re Lopez and you’re going into this fight, you want to get paid the maximum dollars, and sometimes pay-per-view is the only way you can do that.”
“There’s no shame losing to the #1 fighter on the planet. You can ask Canelo Alvarez about that,” said Mora. “His one loss is to Floyd Mayweather. No one cares about that. He’s the highest-paid boxer in the world right now. Chase greatness.”
It does matter very much for Teofimo’s career were he to take a loss to Lomachenko. Teofimo’s stock would drop in a loss, and along with it his paydays. For that reason, Teofimo is better off holding out for the money he wants.
Hearn: Teofimo’s offer LESS than Campbell got
“You see Teofimo Lopez against Lomachenko kind of slide away, and you kind of shake your head,” said Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn to IFL TV. “It’s not easy at the moment.
“You got no gate. He [Teofimo] is [a world champion], and I guess he looks at it and thinks, ‘Luke Campbell got more than that [$1.2 million to fight Lomachenko in 2019], and he was the mandatory challenger.”
Would it be worth it for Teofimo to accept less than what the fight against Lomachenko is worth? Probably not, mainly if this is the only time that Lopez gets a chance to fight Loma.
The Ukrainian fighter doesn’t give rematches. So if Teofimo loses to Lomachenko, then this is probably the last time he fights him.
“So how can I get less than Luke Campbell, and this is the undisputed fight, and I’m world champion coming in,” said Hearn. “So I agree with Teofimo Lopez but also know where we’re at.
“And so it’s difficult to make those big fights right now because that’s a fight where you might do a million on the gate. So I hope they get it made because it’s a great fight,” said Hearn.
It would be a wrong move on Teofimo’s part to take less than what he should earn for the Lomachenko clash.