After a few weeks of roadblocks, it appears a unification bout is set!
According to The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger, WBA, WBO, and WBC Lightweight Champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1) and IBF Lightweight Champion Teofimo Lopez (15-0) have agreed to face one another in October. Initially scheduled for October 3, the bout is targeted for October 17 and will air on ESPN, not PPV.
“It’s not done [until] the contracts are signed, I’m not being an alarmist or so forth, but I made the deal with David [McWater, the manager of Lopez],” Top Rank’s Bob Arum stated to ESPN. “We’ve got to paper the deal, which will be done tomorrow.”
I fight between the two was meant to take place in March inside Madison Square Garden, but the coronavirus pandemic halted all plans. Talks heated up until Lopez rejected an offer in recess of $1.2 million for a fight. He agreed to a purse package worth $3.5 million but was able to reduce it to $3.25 million. He can now earn $1.5 million. Lomachenko was willing to take a pay cut for the fight to take place.
“I told him to take the money, this is going to be for the legacy because that’s what we fight for,” Teofimo Lopez Sr. told Boxing Scene. “But my son said, ‘Dad, I know I can get more. I said, ‘Do your thing.’ He promised me he won’t lose this fight. I said, ‘OK, do your negotiations and that’s what he did. He knows what he’s worth. And with the fight in October, we have enough time for training. My son has been training and now it’s a matter of me putting the tactics in on how to beat this guy.”
Lomachenko won gold in his first professional fight in 2013. He ended up winning the WBO Featherweight Title in his third fight. Holding junior-featherweight gold, “Loma” won the WBA Lightweight Title from Jorge Linares. A WBO Champion, Lomachenko last fought Luke Campbell in August, where he won the WBC Lightweight Title.
Lopez (15-0) turned professional in 2016. The Brooklyn-born star won the vacant WBC Continental Americas Lightweight Title in his tenth pro fight. He won NABF gold in 2018 and ended up knocking out Richard Commey back in December to win the IBF Lightweight Title. That was the last time he fought inside a boxing ring. The 22-year-old has twelve wins via knockout.
While Arum has been looking to book Allegiant Stadium for the fight, it will now take place inside the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. This is due to spectators not being able to attend events in general. Top Rank has been producing events from inside the “Bubble” within the venue.
This is considered one of the biggest fights to be taking place for the promotion since returning to action, and for boxing in general.