Vasiliy Lomachenko says the contract for his October 3 clash against Teofimo Lopez should be signed by this week. This is great news for boxing fans, given the reports of IBF lightweight champion Teofimo (15-0,12 KOs) being unhappy with the purse that was offered to him.
Lomachenko is reportedly sacrificing a portion of his purse to help get the deal done with Lopez. It benefits WBA/WBC/WBO lightweight champion Lomachenko for this fight with Teofimo because there will likely be a rematch between them in 2021 if it’s competitive.
According to Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs), the only question is whether the fight will be on ESPN or pay-per-view.
It’s a tough question because if Top Rank places the Lomachenko-Lopez fight on pay-per-view, it might not bring in significant numbers. It’s not the right time for Lomachenko and Teofimo to fight on PPV, as neither of them is popular enough yet.
Additionally, the pandemic has hurt the economy in the U.S, making it a wrong time to be selling a fight on pay-per-view. That probably stop Top Rank from chancing it anyway, but the numbers could be abysmal.
Lomachenko ready to fight without fans
“I think it’s going to feel like a sparring match,” said Lomachenko to Loma Official TV on fighting Teofimo behind closed doors. “Most probably something like that. Something like 50 to 70 people will be there.
“It’s important to me whether there are spectators or none. There is a ring, there is an opponent, and there is a goal. I know what I want. I really need this title. I’ve been waiting for this fight to join the IBF title,” said Lomachenko.
With all the sparring that Lomachenko has done over the years, it won’t be a big deal for him to fight Teofimo, 23, without fans. It’s not ideal for taking a fight of that size behind closed doors, but there’s not much choice.
The pandemic will be with us for at least the remainder of 2020, and possibly into 2021. If Lomachenko, Lopez, and Top Rank try waiting out the pandemic, they could be waiting for ages for it to go away.
As long as Lomachenko-Lopez is an entertaining contest, boxing fans will want to see the two fight a second time next year. Lomachenko’s overall goal is to grab Teofimo’s IBF 135-lb so that he can claim the position of the undisputed lightweight champion.
Top Rank has been able to overcome the hurdles for Lomachenko to be put in a position to become the undisputed lightweight champion. It will be a shame if all that works go for nothing due to the pandemic getting in the way.
That’s why Lomachenko is focused on winning the IBF title first and foremost, and less concerned with the fact that they’ll be losing a massive amount of money from the gate by fighting without fans.
“We intentionally did not hold any interim fights to avoid the risk of another injury in such an interim fight. It would be bad to let slip the IBF title because I had an injury and needed a pause.
“So we intentionally took a pause and waited for Teofimo to win the IBF title so we could negotiate joining the titles right after the fight,” said Lomachenko.
Loma said it himself that he didn’t think that Teofimo would beat former IBF 135lb champion Richard Commey last December when they met up at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Lomachenko was picking Commey to beat Lopez, even though he wanted him to win. Teofimo proved him wrong by knocking out Commey in the second round with an impressive performance.
Contract ready to be signed this week
“I haven’t seen the contract, but my understanding the contract is already in place,” said Lomachenko on his fight with Teofimo. “We should be signing it this week, but all the verbal agreements have been made.
“The only question now is whether it’s going to be on ESPN or on pay-per-view. We are waiting for the official announcement from our promoter and the organizers of the match. That’s it,” said Lomachenko.
For Lopez to have agreed to sign for the fight, it means they bumped up the original $1.2 million offer and gave him a little more so that he would sign. However, even if Teofimo is getting $2 million for the fight, that’s not a lot of money for a battle like that.
Whether Teofimo would make more money fighting with a different promoter is unclear. To take on a fighter like Lomachenko, you would think that Teofimo should make more than $2 million, but these are tough times.
Without Top Rank and ESPN putting big money into the fight, it would need to be on pay-per-view, and this is not a good time for that.
“I have said yes to it, and it doesn’t matter to me what the contract looks like and what the details are. I am ready. What is the date? The third. I’m in for it, let’s go. That’s my position.
“What’s his position? I don’t know, but judging from everything, he isn’t avoiding it in any way either,” Loma said.
Teofimo Lopez doing all the promoting
“He’s great,” said Lomachenko of Teofimo. “I have already said it. He’s doing all the work for both of us. I don’t need to shout anything. I don’t need to proclaim anything at all.
“I don’t need to tease him or humiliate him. He does everything. He is promoting the fight. They are doing it with his dad, by the way, and they are doing it really well too. That’s why. Thanks, guys.
“A year and a half ago or two years, he became unhappy about something,” said Lomachenko about Teofimo’s trash talking. “It did get to me then, but not anymore.
Lomachenko isn’t great at promoting his fights, which is why it’s a positive that the highly charismatic Teofimo will be doing most of the heavy lifting in marketing the October 3 fight.
Lomachenko speaks English, but it’s heavily accented, and he doesn’t have the same type of ability to trash talk as Teofimo. There isn’t anyone in the lightweight division that can trash talk like Teofimo. Lomachenko can come along or the right with Lopez doing the hard work of hyping their contest.
It’s not considered work for Lopez to build interest in his fights, considering that he likes to talk. Lomachenko is someone that Teofimo naturally wants to criticize, and now he’s got the perfect opportunity to do that for the next two months.
Lomachenko wants top fighters at 130 & 135
“It’s one of the most interesting classes, that’s for sure,” said Lomachenko about the 135-pound weight class. “Let’s not just take 135 but 130 to 135 because those are close weight classes. There are interesting guys, and two boxers there, as well as in 135.
“So the prospects are very wide and exciting. I’m all in for it,” said Lomachenko about fighting the top 130-pounders from the super featherweight division. “No, I’ve already said everything. Now I only want to act,” said Lomachenko when asked if he has a personal message to Teofimo.
It would be better for Lomachenko to stay at 135, and have the super featherweights come up to fight him in that weight class. If Lomachenko moved back down to 130 now, it could prove more difficult for him when he goes back up against the 135 later.