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Arum says Teofimo Lopez will be fighting on PPV when he returns to Top Rank

Teofimo Lopez


By Matt Lieberman: Bob Arum doesn’t agree with undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez’s decision to rush immediately into only fighting on pay-per-view at this early stage in his career, but he’s going to give him his wish when he returns to Top Rank and ESPN after his next fight against George Kambosos Jr on Triller.

Although Top Rank promoter Arum disagrees with the 23-year-old Teofimo fighting on PPV this early in his career, he’s going t give him his wish.

Arum prefers that Teofimo build his fan base by fighting on free television on ESPN before branching over to the pay-per-view arena. Still, the New Yorker feels that he’s popular enough after his win over Vasily Lomachenko and Richard Commey to now be a bonified PPV star.

After Teofimo’s fight against his IBF mandatory Kambosos, Arum says Teo will return to Top Rank, who he is still under contract for the next 3+ years, and he’ll look to match him against the best possible 135-pounder.

Arum says doesn’t think he can match Teofimo against the winner of the May 22nd fight between IBF/WBA light welterweight champion Josh Taylor and WBC/WBO champ Jose Ramirez, though, as the winner of that fight must defend against #1 WBO Jack Catterall next.

Arum prefers Teofimo not fight on PPV yet

“No, no, no,” said Bob Arum to Barbershop Conversations when asked if Teofimo Lopez is a ‘thorn in his side.’

Teofimo Lopez

“You have to understand there comes a time when a kid has really performed well and gets some notoriety; he immediately believes he should be a pay-per-view attraction.

“I am conservative about that. I think they need more exposure on free television to really build them up as a pay-per-view attraction, but they think otherwise.

“It’s his career, and his father [Teofimo Sr] says he only wants to be in pay-per-view fights. So sink or swim, we’re [Top Rank and ESPN] going to put him in pay-per-view fights. I just think it’s a little premature,” said Arum.

Teofimo and his dad/trainer Lopez Sr seem to feel they know it all, which is a little disturbing, as they’ve not been in the business as long as Arum. Ultimately, it’s up to Teofimo if he wants to only fight on pay-perv-view.

Floyd Mayweather Jr wasn’t a pay-per-view fighter at 23, and he obviously had more talent than Teofimo. The same with Manny Pacquiao.

Teofimo’s decision to only fight on pay-per-view could hurt his career, as many casual boxing fans won’t ever see him fight.

They’re not going to want to shell out $70 to see Teofimo fight on ESPN PPV if they’ve never seen him before.

What Teofimo and his father are counting on is the fans that did see him on regular ESPN against the likes of Richard Commey and Masayoshi Nakatani; they would want to pay to see him fight on pay-per-view.

It’s a gamble on Teofimo’s part, and it could blow up in his face if his fights routinely bring in poor PPV numbers.

At that point, Teofimo will need to decide whether to normal non-PPV or stubbornly stick it out on pay-per-view and hope that someday fans will want to pay to watch him fight.

Teo wants Haney or Ryan Garcia after Kambosos

“I’m rooting for him to win; he’s my fighter. Why wouldn’t I be rooting for him to win?” said Arum when asked if he’ll be rooting for Teofimo to win in his next fight against George Kambosos Jr in the Triller-promoted event on June 5th.

Teofimo Lopez

“He’s [Teofimo] going to win easy, I think,” said Arum in predicting an easy victory for Lopez against his IBF mandatory Kambosos on June 5th.

“But again, after this fight, his contract continues with Top Rank for another 3+ years.”

Teofimo probably won’t like to hear Arum’s comment about him still being under contract with Top Rank for another 3+ years after his fight with Kambosos Jr, as he’s talking about leaving the company.

Teo seems to think he’ll be able to break the contract with Top Rank due to them failing to give him the money he wanted for his mandatory defense against Kambosos Jr, which went to a purse bid.

If Teofimo fails to escape his contract with Top Rank, he’s got a lot of time left with them.

It’ll be up to Teofimo if he wants to go the Mikey Garcia route and sit inactive for two or three years or if he’ll take the mature adult approach by honoring his contract.

Hopefully, Teofimo doesn’t sulk if he isn’t allowed to walk away from the remaining years on his contract with Top Rank.

“By all means, my plan is to get him the best possible opponent and put him in a pay-per-view fight,” said Arum about his plans for Teofimo’s next fight after he defends against Kambosos.

“Sure, but I don’t think that’s what he’s looking to do,” Arum said when asked if Teofimo’s next fight on ESPN pay-per-view will be against Vasily Lomachenko in a rematch. ”

“He wants to fight a guy like [Devin] Haney or a guy like [Ryan] Garcia, so that’s what we’ll try to arrange,” Arum said.

With Teofimo’s decision to ONLY fight on pay-per-view for the remainder of his career, it means that Top Rank needs to put him in only against popular fighters like Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney, Gervonta Davis, or Vasily Lomachenko.

If Teofimo is unable to negotiate the fights with those guys because his purse demands or too high, he won’t be fighting them.

It was more than a little troubling to hear Teofimo Sr say that he wants $10 million for the Haney fight. If that’s the kind of money that Teofimo will require for him to fight Haney, Tank, or Ryan Garcia, none of those fights will get made, ever.

Taylor vs. Ramirez winner won’t be available

“He [Teofimo] really wants to fight the winner of [Jose] Ramirez and [Josh] Taylor, which is May 22nd,” Arum said. “But there’s a commitment that each guy has with the WBO to fight this English guy, [Jack] Catterall.

“So, I don’t think Teofimo will want to wait around and be out of action for that long. So we’re going to match him against the best lightweight around.

“I think eventually there is truth to it, but the winner has a commitment to fight this Catterall kid from the UK,” Arum said when asked if the winner of the Jose Ramirez vs. Josh Taylor fight will be moving up to 147 after they fight.

“And then the beginning of next year, the winner [of Taylor vs. Ramirez] will move up to challenge [WBO welterweight champion] Terence [Crawford],” said Arum.

It sounds like Teofimo will need to wait until 2022 before he can face the winner o the Josh Taylor vs. Jose Ramirez fight, and even that, it’s not a certainty.

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