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Report: Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez in jeopardy over money dispute

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Lopez reportedly wants more than the $1.2 million purse offered to him by Top Rank.

Vasiliy Lomachenko v Jose Pedraza Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

While the UFC is in an advantageous position and has thus done an excellent job of booking major title fights even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the same cannot be said for boxing promotions.

Top Rank Boxing has both Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) and Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) on its roster, theoretically making it easier for them to stage a massive lightweight championship unification bout. If we weren’t in a pandemic, we almost certainly would’ve seen this fight happen already, but now it may not happen at all this year.

The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger says that the mega-clash is now in danger of falling apart due to Lopez’s displeasure over the reported “take it or leave it” purse offer of $1.2 million.

Earlier this week, Lomachenko accepted a financial package that will pay him in excess of $3.25 million for the clash, per sources, a concession from his contractual guarantee. Lopez, who turned 23 on Thursday, rejected an offer in excess of $1.2 million, per sources.

$1.2 million would be a career-high for Lopez, who is the reigning IBF champion after taking the title away from Richard Commey last December. He received a $500,000 purse for the Commey bout, with his eyes on Lomachenko in 2020.

Interestingly enough, this October 3rd bout was under consideration to air on ESPN television instead of ESPN PPV. However, with no income streams such as pay-per-view revenue, gate revenue, site fees, etc. it creates a difficult economic situation for boxing promoters, whose bottom lines are not exactly the same as the UFC. Top Rank does have a deal with ESPN but it’s also much smaller than the UFC’s contract, so it’s not as if they have massive guaranteed sums per event.

As such, we are seeing promoters across the boxing world struggling to make massive fights because star boxers are being told they may have to take paycuts, and those boxers are pushing back. Under normal circumstances, Lopez and Lomachenko would each command larger purses, but these are not normal times and the normal sources of income that help make these events either profitable or at least break even are currently shut off.

Let’s hope there’s a way to salvage this mega-fight, which would determine the #1 lightweight in the world and unify three of the four major belts. Perhaps putting this on pay-per-view to create the potential for PPV points for both men is the way to go, but that’s not exactly consumer friendly.