Teofimo Lopez vs. George Kambosos Jr. postponed…again
The third time was not the charm for Teofimo Lopez.
Multiple sources informed The Ring late Wednesday evening that the unified lightweight and Ring Magazine world champion will not face mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr. on August 14 as initially planned.
The Athletic’s Lance Pugmire was first to report that it is likely the fight gets added to the September 11 Triller card featuring the return of former six-division world champion Oscar De La Hoya taking on mixed-martial arts star Vitor Belfort in an exhibition matchup.
The now-48-year-old De La Hoya has not competed since a December 6, 2008, eighth round TKO loss to Manny Pacquiao.
This marks the third time the Lopez-Kambosos fight has been postponed.
Both fighters were initially supposed to meet June 5 in a Triller Fight Club main event, at LoanDepot Park, in Miami, the home of the Miami Marlins. However, over a week later, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and YouTube star Logan Paul announced their exhibition for the following day at nearby Hard Rock Stadium, in Miami Gardens, where the Miami Dolphins play. As a result, fight organizers were forced to pick another date.
Their second choice was June 19, but that failed just days before Brooklyn’s Lopez and Australia’s Kambosos were finally set to square off when the American tested positive for COVID-19, infuriating Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who ripped into his young fighter for apparently refusing to be vaccinated against the virus.
“Now with the vaccination [available], anybody [who] gets COVID, shame on them,” the 89-year-old Arum said in Los Angeles, last week. “Shame on them because they hadn’t taken the time or they decided for some crazy reason not to get vaccinated. That’s nuts.”
Kambosos called Lopez irresponsible in a statement posted on social media.
“Your actions and decisions have affected not only our fight but everyone involved in this fight. Pure irresponsibility on your side. Our time will come and I promise you and the world that I’m going to take you out worse than ever for everything,” he wrote.
However It was later discovered that Kambosos had not been vaccinated either.
Lopez (16-0, 12 knockouts), who will make roughly $3.9 million, will defend the IBF, WBA and WBO titles, as well as The Ring Magazine championship against Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs), who will get $2.1 million. The 28-year-old is The Ring’s No. 8-ranked lightweight and mandatory challenger for the IBF title.
Kambosos is coming off a pair of split decision victories, including one over former titlist Lee Selby (28-3, 9 KOs) in their 12-round IBF eliminator October 31 at Wembley Arena in London to earn a mandatory berth to Lopez’s titles. Two weeks prior, Lopez upset Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) by unanimous decision to win three major titles.
The 23-year-old Lopez scored a career-high purse when Triller outbid both Top Rank and Matchroom Boxing with a $6 million offer to stage the fight against Kambosos. However the road to the fight has been anything but euphonious.
But there is a silver lining to the chaos. Lopez will likely receive more exposure from fighting in support of De La Hoya than he would have by headlining his own card.
The “Golden Boy” was the cash cow of the sport before Floyd Mayweather Jr. took the torch and lit his trail to the top. The De La Hoya-Mayweather fight in May 2007 set the record for most pay-per-view buys for a boxing match, at the time, with 2.4 million households, defeating the previous record of 1.99 million for the infamous Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson rematch. Roughly $136 million in revenue was generated by the card, until Mayweather-Pacquiao surpassed it in May 2015.
Just days before Lopez caught COVID-19, he and Top Rank agreed to a restructured contract. As part of the new deal, Lopez will have his minimum purses raised from the previous amount of $1.25 million and get the opportunity to earn more via pay-per-view bouts on ESPN+.