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Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez agreed for October 17th on ESPN

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One of boxing’s best fights of 2020 has finally been made.

Light heavyweight world title unification boxing bout Beterbiev vs Gvozdyk in Philadelphia, US Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images

The mega-clash between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez has been salvaged.

After negotiations stalled over money, putting the lightweight title unification in Jeopardy, the terms have been ironed out for the two sides to agree to terms for an October 17th main event in Las Vegas, per The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger. Even better, the fight is lined up for ESPN and not ESPN+ or pay-per-view, so this is one of the best and highest profile boxing matches you could make and it’s on cable television.

Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) is widely considered the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, and he’s accomplished so much in just 15 pro fights. The two-time Olympic gold medalist has won major world titles in three weight classes, and has notably beaten Jorge Linares, Luke Campbell, and Guillermo Rigondeaux throughout his stellar career. At present, he’s got the WBA and WBO lightweight titles and he’s the WBC “franchise” champion but I won’t waste your time on that bit of nonsense shuffling that the WBC has done.

Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) is a superstar in the making. The Honduran-American made his pro debut in 2016 and has dominated his competition, culminating in an emphatic second-round TKO of Richard Commey to become the new IBF champion. Instead of an easy title defense against some nondescript opposition, Lopez is going straight for the king.

Of course, we should’ve seen this fight sooner (and with fans) if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. May 30th at Madison Square Garden was the target date but that was never formally announced and indeed the date was postponed.

The aforementioned money issues jeopardized the bout, as no gate and no PPV revenue creates a financial problem for Top Rank Boxing. According to Coppinger, Lomachenko agreed to a pay cut that reduced his purse to $3.25 million to help facilitate this matchup. Lopez and his management balked at what would’ve been a career-high $1.25 million, but persistence paid off and the package that Teofimo has agreed to is $1.5 million.

All things considered, that’s not exactly a cheap fight for a standard ESPN broadcast.

The winner of this is the undisputed best of the lightweights, and you can see it live on ESPN just one week before the other big lightweight title fight between UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.