Of all the big promoters, Bob Arum has been the most concerned about the logistics and financials of holding fights in 2020. He has previously said he doesn’t know to afford Shawn Porter v Terence Crawford, “how in the hell do you afford the fight? And how do you put it on?”, which is a ludicrous comment from a man whose sole job it is to do just that.
He has also said that due to the lack of fans we won’t be seeing the top fights such as Wilder v Fury until much later in the year, “Will there be a Fury – Wilder? No… I don’t anticipate, now, I don’t know, being able to do fights with any kind of crowd until the fourth quarter”. He clearly doesn’t want to sell that cash cow too early and we don’t blame him.
But Arum is apparently having a change in heart, as he recently announced that he’d be holding Vasiliy Lomachenko – Teofimo Lopez in September, which is arguably one of the biggest fights in his stable. Going against his previous statements about not holding the biggest fights without fans, Arum has confirmed that he wants to pit his prodigy El Brooklyn against his pound-for-pound star Lomachenko in September regardless of whether there are fans present or not.
Speaking in April, Arum listed the Loma-Lopez fight alongside Fury-Wilder as one that couldn’t be held without a full revenue stream. But speaking to ESPN recently Arum said, “we would plan to do that in September, with or without an audience… It certainly would be a pay-per-view… a big fight that we can do something spectacular… a big outdoor event”.
If Top Rank goes through with this it could end up being the biggest fight held this year. Lopez is a rising star and already a big PPV draw, Lomachenko has already demonstrated he’s a huge PPV and consistently sells well. Plus, with all the vitriol coming from Lopez over social media and a fight-starved fan base soaking up every morsel they can while stuck at home, the PPV could see record numbers for Arum in the absence of live-ticket sales.
Arum originally scheduled Loma-Lopez for May 30, until the Coronavirus tragically gained serious speed in the US. With that fight not happening, the fight needs to wait for the US travel ban to be lifted as Lomachenko had been stateside, but flew back home to Ukraine immediately after the outbreak.
Lopez and Lomachenko were both offered interim fights by Top Rank, but elected to forego those in favor of just waiting out the main event. Lopez’s father told ESPN, “We don’t need no tune-ups. We are focused with Lomachenko”, similarly Lomachenko’s manager said, “Nothing matters, as long as Lopez is coming in the ring with Lomachenko.”
This is one of our most highly-anticipated fights of 2020 here at Nosmokeboxing, eager to see how this will play out, we’ve been watching some of Lopez and Loma’s best performances. Be sure to rewatch Lomachenko v Nicholas Walters, Linares, and Gary Russel Jr. Watch Lopez v Diego Magdaleno, Richard Commey, and Edis Tatli.