Lopez, Top Rank in bad place after Triller wins purse bid

LAS VEGAS — There were no battles of significance on Thursday, however the date will decrease as one of the greatest days in current boxing history in the after-effects of the sensational news that Triller Battle Club purchased the rights to promote the Teofimo Lopez-George Kambosos light-weight title defend the incredible amount of $6.018 million.

That is more than Matchroom Sport and Top Rank quote for the battle integrated. Matchroom, led by Eddie Hearn with DAZN’s support, bid $3.506 million. Leading Rank, which has Lopez under a long-term marketing agreement, bid $2.315 million.

Triller, which promoted the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones heavyweight boxing exhibit in November that offered 1.9 million on pay-per-view, won the right to promote the bout at what is referred to as a handbag quote. When Leading Rank couldn’t pertain to an offer with Lopez to put the compulsory defense versus Kambosos together, the IBF obtained sealed quotes from interested celebrations.

Lopez will get 65 percent of the winning quote as champ, so he’ll make $3.9 million. He’ll owe Leading Rank 20 percent, so he’ll need to pay them $782,000. And Kambosos will make $2.1 million, minus the around $500,000 that he owes promoter Lou DiBella.

It’s an enormous windfall for Lopez, who balked at the concept of accepting his agreement minimum, $1.25 million, for the battle after his career-defining success in October over Vasiliy Lomachenko. He ended up earning more than 3 times that quantity by standing his weapons and contradicting his minimum on the heels of his biggest win.

While doing so, Lopez got utilize on the top Rank that the promoter plainly did not believe he’d have by method of the arcane handbag quote procedure. Lopez has belts in each of the 4 approving body companies, the IBF, the WBA, the WBC and the WBO.

Leading Rank still has more than 3 years left on its agreement with Lopez, and Leading Rank creator Bob Arum madly threatened to make him sit after the outcomes of the handbag quote were revealed. However a champ with numerous belts can make the handbag quote procedure work to his benefit.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 17: In this handout image provided by Top Rank, Teofimo Lopez Jr celebrates after defeating Vasiliy Lomachenko (not pictured) in their Lightweight World Title bout at MGM Grand Las Vegas Conference Center on October 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)

Unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez will face IBF mandatory challenger George Kambosos on an upcomingTrillercard. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)

So, let’s say for the sake of argument that Lopez beats Kambosos and Top Rank wants to stage a voluntary defense against Ryan Garcia. Garcia, who won the interim WBC lightweight title in January by knocking out Luke Campbell, is one of the sport’s rising stars.

So if Arum offers Lopez $2 million to fight Garcia, Lopez will demand $5 million to $6 million. If Top Rank meets that offer, then Lopez gets a huge fight. If it doesn’t, he’ll accept the next mandatory that is up and have this process repeat itself.

And so even if Triller isn’t involved in the next purse bid, Matchroom, Hearn and DAZN will bid. DAZN was prepared to pay almost $10 million to make a Jermall Charlo-Demetrius Andrade fight, so it would without question make a bid at least similar to the one it did Thursday.

If it does, 65 percent of that would be $2.279 for Lopez, minus the 20 percent he’d owe Top Rank. So even with the roughly $450,000 he’d owe Top Rank off the top, he’d still net over $1.8 million for another mandatory.

And while Top Rank talks about its deal with Lopez, that paper is suddenly worth a lot less. Boxing is a relationship business and it’s obvious to all that Lopez’s relationship with Top Rank is not in a good place.

Lopez said during a podcast on The Athletic that he’d miss Top Rank, but quickly added he’d miss “more so ESPN.” Then he made comments about Top Rank president Todd duBoef which can be interpreted many ways.

One of them, though, was a shot at duBoef for what Lopez perceived as him botching the situation.

“Todd duBoef is the man,” Lopez told The Athletic. “He knows what he’s doing, right? So we have to give kudos to Todd duBoef for distributing and working on his fighters very well. So congratulations, Todd duBoef, you just lost your best fighter from your stable.”

Top Rank’s woes will be worsened if Triller is able to make the Lopez fight a big seller. The number that Triller did with the Tyson-Jones fight is one of the five best in the history of the sport, and was so as a result of numerous factors.

The first, of course, is that Tyson is the biggest star ever in pay-per-view and the public still was interested in him even as he was moving through his 50s.

But the fight was promoted to a young and urban market that traditional boxing promoters largely aren’t reaching these days. Putting YouTube star Jake Paul on the card gave it a third base of fans to market the event toward.

Tyson is likely going to fight another exhibition, this time against long-time rival Evander Holyfield. If Lopez-Kambosos ended up on that card, Lopez will get exposure like he has rarely received. Tyson-Holyfield would be massive even with two balding and out-of-shape boxing writers going at it in the co-main event, let alone with a budding superstar with power and charisma like Lopez in that spot.

Can Top Rank mend relationship with Teofimo Lopez?

Top Rank may have Lopez under contract, but it doesn’t have his heart and it no longer has his mind. It’s a sensitive time for the company, which has a lucrative TV output deal with ESPN for which it is paid around $90 million a year. But it’s already at odds with one of its other top fighters, WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford. Arum suggested when Crawford fought last year he was sick of losing money on Crawford’s fights and might let him go when his contract is up this year.

Both Crawford and Lopez have done big ratings for ESPN, which can’t be happy that fighters they’ve devoted a lot of time and money to building are simply going to walk away because its partner doesn’t want to pay them market value. In the case of the Triller deal, it’s market value plus plus, but even without Triller, Top Rank’s offer badly lagged behind Hearn’s.

Arum is without question a genius, and if anyone can think his way out of the problem, it’s him.

But he’s also 89 and ornery and irascible and without whatever small filter he once possessed. He says what he thinks always, often loudly, and never worries about the consequences.

This deal clearly shook him. He was prepared to be outbid, because he’s sick of losing money on mandatory fights. He was willing to sit Lopez-Kambosos out and let someone else lose the money and then resume with Lopez after it was over. Triller’s quote changes that.

Lopez did nothing wrong however came under attack from the company he signed with out of the 2016 Olympics.

It’s going to take a lot of work to rebuild this, and it may be wishful thinking at this stage to believe it even can be done.

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long included to this report.