By Lem Satterfield
Only one thing separates southpaw WBO king Juan Manuel Lopez and WBA and IBF titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa from engaging in a higly-ancitipated and highly-touted clash of unbeaten featherweights: Money.
"Everybody can get impatient, but the problem is money. Once you get money, people will become less impatient. Because I would do that fight in two seconds if a network stepped up to the plate and paid the right amount of money, like $3 million," said Top Rank Promotions CEO, Bob Arum, to BoxingScene.com.
"What these two fighters need is to get paid the same money that would get paid for the guys who weighed more, like [WBC lightheavyweight champion] Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins, or, like [WBO and WBC junior welterweight king] Tim Bradley and Devon Alexander," said Arum. "If a network would pay that kind of money for Gamboa-Lopez, then I would do it in two minutes. But they won't, because there is a prejudice against smaller weighing fighters. They believe that they should fight for less money."
A Cuban-born, former Olympic gold medalist who lives in Miami, the 29-year-old Gamboa rose to 20-0, with 16 knockouts thanks to last Saturday night's HBO televised, fourth-round knockout of 31-year-old, Jorge Solis (40-3-2, 29 KOs), whom he floored five times at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
"I think that Yuriorkis Gamboa is a huge star in boxing, and I look at Gamboa as being one of the elite fighters in the sport. They want him back in the ring in August in Atlantic City, and we will do that," said Arum.
"There are some signature fights awaiting Gamboa down the road," said Arum. "And he's blessed with one of the things that will help him, which is having Juan Manuel Lopez in the same weight class."
The 27-year-old Lopez (30-0, 27 KOs) has an April 16 defense against former IBF titlist Orlando Salido (34-11-2, 22 KOs), whom Gamboa dethroned by unanimous decision in September.
Lopez is coming off of consecutive stoppages of Bernabe Concepcion (28-4-1, 15 KOs), and, aging former world champion Rafael Marquez (39-6, 35 KOs), respectively, in the second, and, eighth rounds in July and November.
"I look at that as a big fight between Gamboa and Lopez. I look at their fight as a classic. I'm sure that they will fight more than once, I mean, you know, they could both move up in weight at the same time," said Arum.
"So my other alternative is to do it myself, and to build them so that I can put them on pay per view," said Arum. "But as a pay per view attraction, they're not ready. That's it in a nutshell. It's simply about money."