ATLANTIC CITY – Bob Arum would like to bring the highly anticipated Vasiliy Lomachenko-Teofimo Lopez fight to Madison Square Garden.
Like most things in boxing, though, the Lomachenko-Lopez site will be chosen based on where they can make the most money. Arum also has received a substantial financial offer from a group in Saudi Arabia, where Anthony Joshua beat Andy Ruiz Jr. in their heavyweight championship rematch last month.
“The Lomachenko-Lopez fight is done,” Arum, whose company promotes Lomachenko and Lopez, told BoxingScene.com. “Both guys agreed. So now, the question is where we do it and the circumstances of where we do it. We have offers from overseas. Madison Square Garden has made a big offer to do the fight. But that fight definitely will happen before the end of May.”
If Ukraine’s Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) and Brooklyn’s Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) meet at The Garden, their lightweight title unification fight likely will take place at some point in April. If it is held in Saudi Arabia, Arum thinks Lomachenko-Lopez is more likely to be scheduled for a date late in May.
“It belongs in The Garden,” Arum said. “The Garden has offered to put up a substantial guarantee. But the gate guarantee is only a small part of it.”
Lomachenko has headlined one show at Madison Square Garden’s main arena since he turned pro in October 2013. He also has boxed in three main events at The Garden’s Hulu Theater.
The emerging Lopez has fought four times in undercard bouts at The Garden and twice at The Theater.
Arum added that his company, Top Rank Inc., and ESPN executives haven’t determined whether Lomachenko-Lopez will be streamed on ESPN+ or as the main event of a pay-per-view show. The difference in price for consumers would be approximately $70 if Lomachenko-Lopez were to headline a pay-per-view card.
“There are a number of ways it could be done,” Arum explained. “One, if ESPN+ puts more money in, we can do it as a regular ESPN+ fight. Or ESPN+ can underwrite it, and do the pay-per-view on ESPN+, like they do with UFC. Or third, we could do it on regular pay-per-view and they would do the production. All of those are being considered.”
Regardless, Lomachenko-Lopez is one of the most intriguing fights of 2020. It’ll match a soon-to-be-32-year-old Lomachenko – one of the top three boxers, pound-for-pound, in the sport – against a younger, stronger knockout artist in the 22-year-old Lopez.
They’ll fight for Lomachenko’s WBA and WBO lightweight titles. The IBF belt Lopez won by stopping Richard Commey in the second round December 14 at The Garden also will be at stake.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.