The Teofimo Lopez and Top Rank honeymoon could be over
Unified lightweight champion “The Takeover” Teofimo Lopez Jr. (16-0, 12ko) could be splitting with Top Rank, the promotional company that helped shape his career. In 2016, Lopez burst upon the boxing scene on fire, winning his first five fights by devastating knockout. The Brooklyn native would continue to thrive under the bright lights. He delivered sensational knockout performances in step-up fights against Mason Menard and Diego Magdaleno
Lopez struggled against the much taller Masayoshi Nakatani but was still able to win via unanimous decision. However, he turned it up a notch in his first championship fight against then IBF champion Richard Commey. The Takeover obliterated the fighter from Ghana with a second-round stoppage. Things were now in place for a showdown with top pound for pound fighter and unified champion Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko.
Keep in mind this was the one fight that team Lopez wanted from the very beginning, even before fighting for a championship. The Takeover told everyone that he was not just another opponent for Lomachenko, but his worst nightmare.
October 17, 2020, on the biggest stage under the brightest lights, Lopez had the performance of a lifetime, soundly defeating Hi-Tech to become the top dog of the division. The Takeover did just that and was an instant star in boxing. Moreover, this happened under the watchful eye of Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
IT WAS GOOD WHILE IT LASTED
All good things must come to an end. Success comes at a price, and fighters want compensation for their accolades. This is the case when it comes to the unified champion’s title defense against mandatory challenger George Kambosos. Lopez felt he deserved more money, resulting in Arum making it public that the fight was going to a purse bid due to a failure to reach a financial agreement with team Lopez.
“We haven’t been able to reach a deal for whatever reason and this is not a marquee fight. If somebody outbids us it’s fine. I don’t care, it’s fine.”
During an interview on ESPN with Mark Kriegel, The Takeover entertained the notion of possibly leaving Top Rank.
“I love the platform that I am on. ESPN and Top Rank is a hell of a platform, as you can see behind us. My whole thing now really is all about business, and that’s what it comes down to. Nothing personal. If we can’t meet the terms, I guess I am taking my talents to South Beach.”
The last part was from an old segment on NBA basketball player Lebron James leaving Cleveland for Miami.
Lopez would further elaborate on the situation.
“I can’t take it or leave it no more, it’s more so about it’s a takeover, and I earned it. It’s not something that is given, you got to earn it, and I went out there four months ago and I did it right here against all odds in Vegas.”
The unified champion pushed back when asked why he could not just take the minimum, considering the sport is recovering from a pandemic.
“Because you have the best fighter in the world on that display. It’s all paying dues, and that is what we did, we paid our dues.”
“If you can’t meet the term like I said, we taking our talents somewhere else.”
By: Garrisson Bland