Thursday, May 26, 2022

Teofimo Lopez believes Triller is trying to ‘get out’ of mandatory bout with George Kambosos

Social media company Triller’s attempt to become a major player in the boxing space has been nothing if not interesting. Their first major move to go beyond celebrity fights or exhibitions starring retired boxers was to win the purse bid for Teofimo Lopez’s title defense against George Kambosos Jr. Since winning the bid, the fight has moved dates several times before Triller seemed to finally cement the date as Monday, Oct. 4, only to then claim they wanted to shift to Oct. 16 to avoid competing with the Monday Night Football game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers.

Both Lopez and Kambosos were quick to push back on the idea of yet another date change. Lopez, who holds the WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight titles, appeared on “Morning Kombat” with Brian Campbell and Luke Thomas to address the situation.

“We’re standing firm on it,” Lopez said. “I feel like this is too many times they’ve changed it. This is something I’ve never experienced in my career of boxing. I’ve always dealt with ESPN and Top Rank. I understand this is something Triller is new to this platform, but this is not the way to do certain things especially with an athlete like myself who is undisputed. A lot of people just miss me in the sport. They miss seeing Teofimo in the ring. My whole thing is just staying focused.

“…There are certain things that I have on my mind, however, I try to stay away from the negativity in that. I think it’s, honestly, something where they’re trying to find a way out. For whatever reason, that’s on them. My whole thing is, I’m an athlete who brings a lot of entertainment in the sport and that’s why they brought me into their platform. The whole thing now is just trying to figure out these things. Oct. 4, Madison Square Garden is where we’re staying at and if this is something that they try to forfeit, then we have the people of DAZN or ESPN to come back on board. I’m not worried about it. You guys will see me fight this year. My goal is to fight twice this year before my son is born and just move on from there.”

Triller paid nearly twice as much as the next highest bidder for the fight on Feb. 25. The fight was then announced as taking place June 5 only to be moved to avoid going head-to-head on the weekend with Floyd Mayweather vs. Logan Paul. The fight was moved to June 19 only to be delayed again when Lopez tested positive for COVID-19. It has since been scheduled for Aug. 14 and Sept. 11 along with one vague October date that never materialized when Triller attempted to force the fight to be held in Australia, only to be shot down by Lopez and the IBF.

With the fight finally placed on Oct. 4, Triller Fight Club president Ryan Kavanaugh claimed on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani that he “just realized” that the fight — scheduled for a Monday night during the NFL season — would conflict with the Raiders vs. Chargers Monday Night Football game.

While Lopez isn’t willing to go along with another date change, he is more than happy to finally get the fight done, both for the pay and to inspire young fans.

“Rich is just a state of mind,” Lopez said. “I’m already wealthy as it is and I’m very grateful for that. To be honest, I just want to go out there and go on different platforms and just show everybody who Teofimo really is. This is the takeover, the truth. There’s no lies in that. Rich, not rich? That’s just something extra. What really brings the wealth out of me is the amount of dreams I can create for kids out there. They need that, the new generation.”

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