Lou DiBella has only so much sympathy for Teofimo Lopez.
The IBF/WBA/WBO lightweight champion and his team have recently balked at the idea of going to Australia to take on DiBella’s client and IBF mandatory, Aussie lightweight George Kambosos, in October. Lopez’s manager David McWater took issue, particularly, with the prospect that Lopez would have to cut weight during a 14-day quarantine mandated by the Australian government. McWater went so far as to suggest that Lopez would vacate his IBF title if the fight did not take place on American soil, as initially planned.
But given the career high prize money Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) would be pocketing – nearly $4 million – DiBella was not convinced by the merits of that line of argument.
“That’s an absurd issue,” DiBella said on a recent episode of the SI Boxing Podcast, while noting that Australia had “insulated” itself from big breakouts to a greater extent than most other countries. “C’mon. You’re making three million dollars, four million dollars.”
“Part of their argument that you might give the most credence to is uncertainty,” continued DiBella, “but guess what, we’re all living through uncertain times right now.”
The fight, which is being promoted by Triller, was originally scheduled for May, but was postponed to June 5, then to June 19. After Lopez tested positive a few days out from the latter date – much to the chagrin of Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs), who had flown out his pregnant wife to be by his side – the fight was postponed again to Aug. 14, but nothing materialized. A new date was proposed for October. Now, however, litigation could be on the horizon.
The latest rescheduling prompted Lopez to hire boxing attorney Patrick English to request the IBF to force Triller to stage the fight by the end of September. Should Triller fail to do so, Lopez and Co. wants the sanctioning body to contend that the outfit defaulted on its bid.
In his letter to the IBF, as previously reported by BoxingScene.com, English noted that all the date shuffling from Triller smacks of “bait and and switch” tactics. DiBella, however, pushed back against any notion that Triller was not seriously trying to stage the fight.
“Triller indicated that they wanted to move the thing to October, in Australia, and that there’s big resistance from the Teofimo side,” said DiBella. “Right now there’s potential litigation, but at the moment there are hearings and appeals before the IBF. But in my mind, [Triller] won that purse bid. Whatever you want to say, they were doing that event on June 19. I know because my staff was already down in Florida. I know because all their production people were and the fighters were. And I know they must’ve lost god knows how many countless millions. Certainly in the neighborhood of 5 to 10 (million). Money that you couldn’t insure for the pandemic and that you couldn’t insure for a fighter getting Covid.
“The idea that the fighter comes back and says ‘I’m ready to fight, you only have 90 days to get me back in the ring,’ I mean, from a standpoint of fairness and equity, that doesn’t move me very much.”