Teofimo Lopez’s financial demands frustrate promoters, says Eddie Hearn

By Will Arons - 12/08/2023 - Comments

Promoter Eddie Hearn sounded off today, talking about Teofimo Lopez’s high money expectations for his fights, which he feels is causing him to be “benched” with no activity.

He feels that the WBO light welterweight champion Teofimo (19-1, 13 KOs) has “unrealistic” expectations about what he should be getting for his fights, and that could ultimately hurt his career if he’s sitting and waiting on huge money to fall into his lap from his promoters.

Hearn says that if Teofimo would be over $2.5 million for a fight, he would want $10 million, which is an absurd amount of money, considering that he couldn’t sell out the 5,500-seat Hula Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York for his last fight in June against Josh Taylor.

Teofimo, 26, seems to think that his victory over an old, injured, and much smaller Vasily Lomachenko in 2020 and his recent win against a washed Josh Taylor should translate to him making the big bucks.

The reality is, that Teofimo isn’t popular with casual boxing fans because he hasn’t fought enough yet, and his one big victory over Lomachenko was followed by a loss to George Kambosos Jr.

Unrealistic expectations

“I don’t think he is [a free agent]. Boxing needs people like Teofimo Lopez. Teofimo is one of those guys [that has unrealistic financial expectations for his fights],” said Eddie Hearn to Fighthype about WBO light welterweight champion Teofimo Lopez.

“I actually feel for Bob Arum and those guys because, can you imagine the conversation? ‘Alright, Teo. We want you to fight on Heisman night in a standard defense against someone.'”

It’s unclear what Arum will do with Teofimo if he’s going to sit and wait for massive money to be thrown at him by ESPN because if it doesn’t happen, he could sit for years unless he changes his tune.

Hearn says Teofimo could have fought since his victory over Taylor, but he’s chosen not to, and he doesn’t have any fights scheduled. It wouldn’t be surprising if he’s still sitting on the sidelines next June, having sat out an entire year waiting on big money to be thrown at him by Arum.

“Arum probably says to Teofimo, ‘Let’s fight on December 9th. I’m going to give you $2 million, $2 1/2 million for a voluntary defense against anyone you want. Arnold Barboza, whoever.’ ‘$2 1/2 million? You’re joking. I wan $10 [million].’ On what basis?” said Hearn.

Teofimo is not interested in fighting Arnold Barboza Jr, so he’s a bad example. He seems to want Ryan Garcia or Devin Haney. Those are potential fights for Teofimo, but not if he prices himself out.

“You can’t sell out the theater [Hula] at the Garden. It’s non-pay-per-view on ESPN,” said Hearn. “All the numbers are mathematical and factual. Unless the promotional company wants to lose several million dollars for doing the fight, it cannot happen.

“It’s all very well to say, ‘I’m worth this.’ On what basis? Let the fighters own the show. Let the fighters own the financials of the show. You will see very quickly what you are worth. I think Teofimo is amazing. I think he’s a great fighter.”

Hearn believes Teofimo would get big money fighting Regis Prograis or Ryan Garcia. Prograis would have to win his fight against Devin Haney on Saturday. Ryan wants Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero, so it’s clear that he doesn’t want to take any risky fights for the time being.

Big fights out there for Teofimo

“He’s a tremendous personality. I think he’s great for boxing, but you’re going to frustrate your career,” said Hearn. “You’re going to have zero activity. He could have fought twice since the Josh Taylor fight [last June] if it’s the right money.

“It’s like Deontay Wilder. Sometimes, they walk into. Deontay Wilder into a Saudi fight, but he’s also been out of the ring for over a year. He could have boxed twice over that period, but he doesn’t want to fight for three or four or five million dollars.”

Hopefully, Teofimo isn’t sitting and waiting for the Saudis to offer him a bunch of money like they’re doing with Anthony Joshua and Deontary Wilder to fight in their country. They might be interested in Teofimo because he rarely fights and hasn’t fought a big name since his close win against Lomachenko.

“That’s what AJ took; took a lot less to fight Jermaine Franklin and fight Robert Helenius, but guess what? He was active,” said Hearn. “It’s really frustrating as a promoter to deal with people. Of course, we run a business. We don’t mind overpaying fighters.

“Imagine the number is two [million], and someone is asking for ten [million]. It’s like, at least ask for 2.5 or 3, and we can do a deal and get there. It’s like banging your head against a well, and those fighters will be benched like Teofimo.”

The problem with Teofimo being benched is that his popularity, such as it is, will drop, and his earning potential will be lower. If he stubbornly believes Top Rank will eventually come around, he could be waiting for a long, long time.

“The kind of money he wants, you can deliver it against Devin Haney or Regis Prograis,” said Hearn. “You’ve seen what they’ve done this week, but maybe for that fight, he wants $20 million. Ryan Garcia and Gervonta Davis showed you the earning potential for a massive fight.”

It’s unlikely that Teofimo would get $20 million for a fight with Ryan Garcia, because he’s not popular enough. He’s not on Gervonta’s level to bring in a lot of buys fighting Ryan.

“Teofimo vs. Ryan Garcia is a huge fight. But you got to trust your belief in the numbers,” said Hearn. “The reason Ryan made the money he made is because he did over a million buys. If it did over 300,000 buys, Ryan would have made six or ten.

“You’ve got to back yourself against the numbers, but they don’t want to back themselves against the numbers often. They just want a guarantee, and the business doesn’t work all the time,” said Hearn.

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