Teofimo Lopez’s fight with George Kambosos Jr may still happen and may not, but either way, Triller Fight Club will not be promoting the event.
Yahoo! Sports reports that Triller have pulled the plug, meaning this fight will not be happening on Oct. 16.
The IBF still have to rule whether or not Kambosos, their mandatory challenger, is in default after refusing to move the date yet again from Oct. 4 to Oct. 16 unless he got more money — Yahoo! says it was an ask of $400,000. If they rule that Kambosos still gets the guaranteed shot, then the rights to the fight go to Matchroom Boxing, who came in a distant second at February’s purse bid. Matchroom have indicated interest in putting the fight on by the end of 2021, and it would likely wind up a solid DAZN one-off for Lopez, who signed a new deal with Top Rank earlier this year.
Top Rank, for what it’s worth, came in third in the bidding. It’s also possible that Matchroom could pass on their bid at this point and let Top Rank take the fight, which would drastically lower the purses for both Lopez (16-0, 12 KO) and Kambosos (19-0, 10 KO).
I’ve got my own thoughts on this, of course, as everyone interested does. Personally, I think Kambosos was right to stand up for himself after several months of nonsense, none of which was really his fault. He didn’t move the fight from June 5 to June 19, he didn’t test positive for COVID and get the June 19 date scrapped, he wasn’t the one who went to the IBF when Triller wanted to move the fight to Australia in an attempt to make some money back (and on that case, fair enough on Lopez’s side, too), and he’s not the one who wanted to delay the fight yet again. He’s been jerked around for months as the B-side of this fight on various ends.
If the IBF do rule that Kambosos is in default, which is possible, then Isaac Cruz would get the opportunity as the IBF’s next highest rated contender. Lopez owes a mandatory either way. On the other other hand, Lopez could really just vacate at 135 and get ready to move up to 140. He’s already stated that’s in his immediate plans, as he’s hoping to fight undisputed 140 lb champ Josh Taylor next year. That’s an easy fight to make, both are with Top Rank.
Triller also are now looking to move away from the reputation they have in boxing, which is probably more to do with the really brutal reaction to the disgraceful Holyfield-Belfort event a few weeks back. COO Thorstein Meier says they will look to get back to something similar to last November’s Tyson-Jones event, which was generally met with positive reviews, and they may also look to include “other combat sports.”