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Vasily Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez in September on PPV – Bob Arum

Image: Vasily Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez in September on PPV - Bob Arum

By Chris Williams: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says lightweight champions Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez have decided to fight in September rather than take interim fights. Arum states that the contest will be on pay-per-view.

WBA/WBC Franchise/WBO lightweight champion Lomachenko has a green card, so he’ll still be able to enter the U.S without being blocked because of the current travel ban.

According to Arum, the Lomachenko vs. Lopez fight will take place in September potentially without fans present. Let’s be clear. Arum prefers that he stage the Lomachenko-Teofimo fight in front of fans, but if that’s not possible due to states in the U.S still not allowing crowds, then he’ll take the fight behind closed doors.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Lomachenko-Lopez match will sell on PPV during the height of the pandemic and with the U.S economy rivaling that of the 1929 great depression.

If the fight fails to sell, then at least Arum will know what not to do during a pandemic. Putting together fights on pay-per-view during this time is a risky thing, and it could turn in dreadfully poor numbers.

Lomachenko and Lopez to battle for the undisputed 135-lb championship

That’s the last resort, and you have to believe that Arum will exhaust every avenue to ensure the Lomachenko vs. Teofimo takes place in front of a live crowd. What Arum, Lomachenko, and Teofimo haven’t considered is the possibility that fans might not have the money to pay to see a boxing event in September.

If the U.S economy doesn’t rebound by September, it could be a ghost down for Lomachenko and Lopez for a live event. Additionally, fans may be apprehensive about putting their lives at risk.

Image: Vasily Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez in September on PPV - Bob Arum

IBF 135-pound champion Teofimo (15-0, 12 KOs) and WBA/WBC/WBO champ Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) have concluded that they should face each other in 2020 rather than take an interim match in between.

“In talking with Lomachenko and Lopez, neither of them want an interim fight,” Arum said to ESPN. “So we would plan to do that in September, with or without an audience.”

Lomachenko, 32, was never considering taking an interim bout. It was Lopez, 22, who was thinking of facing WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney in a unification match in case Lomachenko chose to stay in his home country of Ukraine waiting for the all-clear from the pandemic.

In this situation, Lomachenko can’t afford to wait for the pandemic to disappear, as this thing could stay around for a considerable amount of time. The 32-year-old Lomachenko doesn’t have the youth to sit and wait for a vaccine to be discovered before fighting Teofimo.

He’s got to take the fight now while he has some youth left. It’s going to be a hard fight for Lomachenko anyway because he’s beginning to show the ravages.

Teofimo wanted to take an interim fight

Lopez didn’t want to sit around and waste time while waiting for his eventual unification clash against Lomachenko, so that’s why he called out Haney. His efforts at getting Haney to fight him failed miserably, and that put him back to square one. Fortunately for Teofimo, Arum is willing to schedule the Lomachenko fight for September with or without a crowd.

By setting up the fight without a crowd, there will be a lot of money going down the drain without the gate. However, it may not be as much as you think if the attendance is abysmal.

Arum might not realize it, but there are a lot of unemployed people in the U.S right now, and things might not be much better by September. That’s only four months away, and the pandemic is showing no signs of letting up.

In Lomachenko’s recent fights against Luke Campbell, Jose Pedraza, and Jorge Linares, he was hit like never before. All the slick moves that Lomachenko used in the past didn’t work for him against those fighters, as they put hands on him and marked him up.

Image: Vasily Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez in September on PPV - Bob Arum

If not, then Arum can take that fight to Las Vegas, Lomachenko and Teofimo’s fan bases aren’t in that area. Their fans on the East Coast of the U.S, and putting the fight in Las Vegas could result in a poor turnout. There’s a lot of unemployed people in Las Vegas right now as well. It might not be a good idea to stage the Teofimo-Lomachenko fight in that city in September.

To look at the fighters afterward, Lomachenko, with his marked-up, battle-worn face, had the appearance of the loser.

Arum wants Lomachenko vs. Teofimo on pay-per-view

“It certainly would be a pay-per-view,” Arum said. “… It’s a big fight that we can do something spectacular in conjunction with the Las Vegas Convention [and Visitors] Authority. Do a big outdoor event.”

If the fight doesn’t sell this time, then perhaps the rematch between them might do well in 2021 or 2022. If Lomachenko loses the battle, he’ll have no choice but to push for a rematch. Lomachenko isn’t young enough to walk away from a loss without it hurting his career.

Arum can certainly stage the Lomachenko-Teofimo fight for September, but will the fans come? Better yet, will the state of New York allow crowds to attend live events by September?

Teofimo and Lomachenko, both promoted by Top Rank Boxing, were supposed to fight at the end of May at Madison Square Garden in New York. The pandemic ruined those plans, putting both guys on the sidelines.

Teofimo had no luck getting Devin Haney fight

Unfortunately for Teofimo, he wasn’t having any luck trying to get the Devin Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) fight.

Haney’s promoter Eddie Hearn, who usually is a go-getter when it comes to putting great fights together, didn’t show the same motivation to negotiate the Teofimo-Haney battle, and that’s understandable.

Teofimo is arguably more advanced fighter than Haney, and it could end in disaster for Hearn’s fighter if he made that match right now. Haney can’t punch, and he’s not fast of hand. Although fights a little like Floyd Mayweather Jr., he doesn’t possess his speed, reflexes, or talent.

It would be a bad idea for Haney to fight a puncher like Teofimo right now. For Haney to have a chance of beating Teofimo, he would likely need to go 12 rounds to win a decision. If you let a big puncher like Teofimo have 12 rounds to hit you, something is going to give. There would be some kind of a break down with Haney along the way under withering fire he would be taking from Teofimo.

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