Teofimo Lopez was in New York, waiting impatiently in his hotel room for a moment he had at times thought would never arrive.

This is as close as Lopez has come to actually defending his lightweight titles against Australia’s George Kambosos Jr. Based on the absolute absurdity of the past six months, though, the undefeated, unified 135-pound champion won’t believe he’ll battle Kambosos until he enters the ring Saturday night at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater.

Who could blame him, really?

Their 12-round fight for Lopez’s IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight titles has been officially and unofficially postponed so many times, we’ve all apparently lost count. There were eight dates that at least were considered by Triller Fight Club before Ryan Kavanaugh’s company ultimately defaulted on its whopping winning bid of $6,018,000 for the right to promote Kambosos’ mandated shot at Lopez’s IBF belt.

While thankful that Eddie Hearn and DAZN agreed to honor Matchroom Boxing’s second-highest bid of $3,506,000, Lopez told a small group of reporters during a conference call this week that he would’ve vacated his titles and moved up in weight had he known this ordeal would’ve dragged on for nine months from the time Triller Fight Club won the IBF’s purse bid February 25.

“I would’ve moved up to 140,” Lopez said. “I would’ve just dropped all these belts. This is ridiculous. You know, it’s crazy how you have a fighter in George Kambosos, who pulled out of the fight, from the Triller event, and still is my mandatory somehow, where I’m still fighting him to defend my IBF [title], along with these other beautiful belts.”

The Lopez-Kambosos debacle began early in May, when Triller Fight Club decided to move Lopez-Kambosos from June 5 at the Miami Marlins’ loanDepot Park to June 19 at the same venue because it wanted to avoid staging its show the night before the Floyd Mayweather-Logan Paul pay-per-view event June 6 at nearby Hard Rock Stadium, the home of the Miami Dolphins. The ensuing silliness never would’ve unfolded if Lopez hadn’t contracted COVID-19 the week before their June 19 bout, which was postponed until August 14 just four days before Lopez and Kambosos were supposed to fight.

Triller Fight Club never really mentioned August 14 again after sending out a press release about that targeted date June 15. There then was talk of moving Lopez-Kambosos to the Oscar De La Hoya-Vitor Belfort undercard September 11 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

That move never materialized, either, which led to Triller rescheduling their fight for October 5, a Tuesday night, at Hulu Theater. They then settled on October 4 because it was at one point possible late in the baseball season that the Yankees could’ve hosted a home American League Wild Card playoff game against their rival Red Sox on October 5, which they felt would’ve cut into pay-per-view buys and ticket sales in New York.

The Yankees wound up losing to the Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston on October 5.

Not long thereafter, October 4 suddenly didn’t make sense to them, either, this time because an NFL game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers, two teams with large Hispanic fan bases, would’ve aired at the same time as Lopez-Kambosos. Why they felt that would’ve made a dramatic impact on the Lopez-Kambosos buy rate is anyone’s guess.

Nevertheless, that “Monday Night Football” game was part of the complete schedule the NFL announced May 12.

Somewhere along the way, Triller Fight Club approached Lopez about boxing Kambosos in mid-October in Sydney, Kambosos’ hometown. Lopez’s handlers understandably refused because he would’ve been required to quarantine for 14 days in Australia before their fight.

Then Kambosos balked at challenging Lopez on yet another date, October 16, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The IBF ruled soon thereafter that Triller Fight Club defaulted on its winning bid, which afforded Hearn the opportunity to promote Lopez’s first fight since he upset three-division champ Vasiliy Lomachenko by 12-round unanimous decision in October 2020 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

“I think that they were just looking forward to finding a way out,” Lopez said of Triller Fight Club. “Who knows? Maybe they did something, you know, this is just an opinion from me – you know, how can I say it … I think that what they truly did is they probably agreed to something, you know, on the side. Who knows? I don’t know, so they could throw the fight away. But I just find it shocking that somebody who’s about to get the highest payday of their whole career, the highest payday of any mandatory, which was $2 million, how you gonna ask for extra on top of that? And then once we say we agree to it, you cancel the fight? You know, I don’t get it. You know, but I’m thankful for Matchroom Boxing and for DAZN, for Eddie Hearn, and for everybody picking this fight up, man. And just looking forward to what we do this Saturday.”

The 24-year-old Lopez appropriately is listed as a 10-1 favorite to beat Kambosos.

Though undefeated (19-0, 10 KOs), Kambosos has won each of his last two fights by split decision over Mickey Bey (23-3-1, 11 KOs, 1 NC) and Lee Selby (28-3, 9 KOs), respectively. Kambosos, 28, seemingly deserved a unanimous-decision win when he fought Wales’ Selby, but he hasn’t fought anyone on Lopez’s level.

Las Vegas’ Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) beat boxing’s best lightweight in his most recent bout and is a more diverse, powerful fighter than Kambosos. For whatever it’s worth, Kambosos is an extremely confident, tough contender who feels he’ll expose Lopez in the first fight in just over a year for both boxers (DAZN; 8 p.m. ET).

Whatever happens Saturday night, this could be Lopez’s last fight at the lightweight limit. If he can’t get one of his rivals – Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia or Devin Haney – to fight him in his first appearance of 2022, Lopez expects to move up to the junior welterweight division, within which he’ll pursue a showdown with undisputed champion Josh Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs).

“I’m looking forward to just getting this fight over with,” Lopez said, “and seeing what the future holds for me.”

After all the ridiculousness related to Lopez-Kambosos over the past six months, we should all be thankful for that.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.