Teofimo Lopez-George Kambosos looks set for Oct. 16 at Barclays in Brooklyn
It was this date, then that date, then here, then there. Now, hopefully, finally, the lightweight championship fight between 135-pound world champion Teofimo Lopez Jr. and IBF mandatory challenger George Kambosos appears to be set for Saturday October 16 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Lopez Jr. and his father and trainer, Teofimo Lopez Sr., told The Ring on Friday.
Triller, which ($6,018,000) outbid Matchroom Boxing ($3,506,000) and Top Rank ($2,315,000) for Lopez-Kambosos, Lopez’s IBF mandatory, in February has made changes to the venue and date at least six times.
The fight was already moved from Tuesday, Oct. 5 to Monday, Oct. 4, at New York’s Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Lopez (16-0, 12 knockouts) is The Ring’s and BWAA 2020 Fighter of the Year. He has not fought since his star-turning performance last October with his decision victory Vasiliy Lomachenko to become a four-belt titlist and The Ring’s lightweight world champion.
Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) is ranked No. 8 at lightweight by The Ring. He told The Ring back in June “that it doesn’t matter where or when the fight takes place, I’m going to beat (Lopez’s) ass.”
Numerous sources still question whether or not the fight is even still set for October 16 at Barclays. Others close to the situation have balked at committing toward October 16 at Barclays.
But Lopez Jr. makes a valid point.
“Everyone and everything comes through me, I’m the world champion,” he said. “If I’m not there, there’s no world championship fight. The fight is taking place on October 16th. It’s the last time that they said they would change the date. We signed something that states if something different is done, we have to move on. (Kambosos) has no choice (but to sign for October 16), because I’m the champ.
“If he wants the fight, and he wants the fight, he’ll sign and we move on to October 16. It’s going to be October 16 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. I want to fight. I’m tired of waiting. But honestly, it hasn’t been frustrating, because I’ve used this time to work on things. Everything has been well. I’ve been in the gym. I’ve been doing my thing. I’m getting ready for a great night.
“It’s going to be something to die for, for real. I can’t wait.”
Lopez Sr. confirmed what his son said. Sources close to the situation further confirmed that a deal had to be cut that this is the last time the venue and time for this fight is made.
“I have to do what’s best for my son, that’s my highest and only priority,” said Lopez Sr., the BWAA 2020 Trainer of the Year. “This will give my son the most exposure. We want to fight on a Saturday and I spoke to Triller’s Ryan Kavanaugh and we made the deal. The fight is 100-percent taking place on Oct. 16 at Barclays.
“I’m unsure if Kambosos has signed or not, but he’s not going to throw away this opportunity and a big payday. Fighting on Saturday was a big priority. We thought Monday was a bad idea and it would have embarrassed my son. Ryan and my son knew that.
“This is going to be a huge event.”
Lopez-Kambosos was originally scheduled for June 19 in Miami, before Lopez Jr. tested positive for COVID the week of the fight.
Lopez Jr. is around 145 right now.
“My son is right where he should be and when we start cutting down the water, he’ll lose another 10 pounds easy,” Lopez Sr. said. “I’m really happy with how this has worked. We can’t sit around and wait. I want my son to b active. I care about the exposure. I want what’s in the best interest of my son.”
Lopez is slated to make $4 million and Kambosos $2 million. But with strong pay-per-view buys, both could receive more.
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.