Eddie Hearn hasn’t committed to bidding, but the British promoter apparently is intrigued by the idea of bringing a Teofimo Lopez-George Kambosos Jr. fight to DAZN.
If he is provided the requisite financial backing by DAZN, Hearn could submit a proposal high enough to win the Lopez-Kambosos purse bid the IBF has scheduled for February 18. The 23-year-old Lopez’s fights have been broadcast by ESPN in recent years, but the undefeated, unified lightweight champion and his promoter, Bob Arum, have yet to reach a financial agreement for his IBF-mandated match against Australia’s Kambosos.
Lopez, Arum, Kambosos and Lou DiBella, the unbeaten contender’s promoter, all could come to an agreement before February 18 and eliminate the need for a purse bid. If not, any licensed promoter could submit a winning bid that day and temporarily take Lopez away from Arum’s company and ESPN for his next fight.
If that happened, it at least would take Top Rank and ESPN off the hook financially for what Arum deemed “not a marquee fight” in an interview with BoxingScene.com on Monday.
“What happens is these governing bodies, they give you a period of time to negotiate,” Hearn stated Tuesday during his weekly appearance on “The Ak & Barak Show,” which streams weekdays on DAZN and SiriusXM. “And if you can’t come to an agreement, it goes to purse bids. So, that period of time now has expired, so there will be a purse bid for that [fight] coming up in about a week’s time. Which is really interesting because then it becomes an open marketplace. Right? So, all of a sudden, DAZN, PBC, Top Rank, of course, can bid for this fight. Right?
“So, this puts like a different spin, trying to put your mind into the marketplace, into the business, if you’re listening to this, right? Where you’ve got a guy like Teofimo Lopez, who’s aligned to ESPN, Bob Arum’s saying, ‘This is the max I’m gonna pay you.’ Teofimo Lopez is going, ‘Hmm. You know what? Let’s see what the marketplace is saying. So, let’s see what Eddie Hearn and DAZN wanna put up for this fight. Let’s see what PBC wanna put up for this fight, if you don’t give me the money that I want.’ ”
Arum’s company willingly sent one its top fighters, WBC/WBO 140-pound champ Jose Ramirez, to DAZN for a title unification fight with Maurice Hooker in July 2019 because DAZN and Hearn paid Ramirez a career-high purse in excess of $4 million. It is unclear if DAZN would be willing to pay Lopez a multimillion-dollar purse or even back any bid to bring a Lopez-Kambosos bout to that streaming service.
Though unbeaten, Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) will be a decided underdog when he opposes Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs), who also owns the WBA, WBC franchise and WBO lightweight titles.
“So, now we’re in a position where if that goes to purse bids, we can bid,” Hearn said. “You know, DAZN might win that bid. But then, all of a sudden, the arguments start with Bob Arum and Teofimo Lopez. ‘You know, you can’t fight on another network. You know, your contract says this. Your contract says that.’ So, then you’ve gotta vacate the belt. As [Lopez] said there, ‘I ain’t vacating no belt.’
“So, this is gonna be a very interesting week. It just changes the dynamic of things. You know, it puts more pressure on Top Rank and Bob Arum to make that deal with Teofimo Lopez, while Teofimo and his father right now are probably sitting back, going, ‘We’re cool with purse bids.’ You know, so this week’s gonna be interesting.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.