Teofimo Lopez doesn’t know how long it’ll take for him to get in the ring with Vasiliy Lomachenko.
The unbeaten IBF lightweight champion is sure, though, that their fight won’t happen as planned May 30 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Lopez expected to start training camp this Monday for his biggest fight thus far, but his career is on hold, like every other boxer in the sport.
Neither Lopez nor Lomachenko have signed contracts for their lightweight title unification fight, but Brooklyn’s Lopez anticipates that they’ll quickly complete paperwork once the COVID-19 pandemic ends and boxing business resumes.
“It’s not gonna be May 30th no more,” Lopez told BoxingScene.com on Friday. “It’ll be a whole new date. You’ve gotta think about it. They sent Lomachenko back home to Ukraine. And usually, us as fighters, we get ready within a two-month span, which would be right now. They don’t know when this thing is gonna be over. It could be over in April, and then you’ve gotta think it would be pushed back to June.
“No matter what, put two, maybe 2½ months [after] that time. Some people expect September or October, maybe even November. They expect Wilder-Fury to happen in October, November. Same thing with Loma-Lopez. We’ve just gotta wait and see, honestly.”
The third WBC heavyweight title bout between Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) and Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) tentatively is scheduled for July 18 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Lomachenko-Lopez, meanwhile, is one of the most fascinating fights that’s supposed to take place in 2020. The 22-year-old Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) remains confident that it’ll still happen this year, without either fighter taking another bout beforehand.
“I believe the fight will be made,” Lopez said. “It’s just when now. We had May 30th. That was gonna be the date, but now it’s been postponed. Now we’re really just sitting, waiting for this to go away or slow down. Let’s everyone stay indoors. Let’s not make it worse and try to prevent this from growing to what it already is. But it’ll eventually happen sometime this year. Who knows? During the fall, maybe during winter again. That’s the only thing now.”
The 32-year-old Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs), the WBA and WBO lightweight champion, traveled from Ukraine to California earlier this month to get prepared to start training camp for a May 30 showdown with Lopez. The three-division champion returned to his native country Wednesday because he was concerned that travel restrictions would prevent him from being with his family during this tumultuous time.
“We were getting close to camp,” Lopez said. “But obviously this happened, and they sent Lomachenko back to be with his family, which I totally understand. At times like these, you wanna be as close to your family as much as possible. But once this goes away, we can get the ball rolling again and make the fight happen. Obviously, the fans win when they get to see this fight in action.
“Even the media, you guys will love this. That’s the thing that gets me most excited, that I know so many people are gonna be watching this fight when it happens. The only thing now is for everyone to agree with each other and make the fight happen.”
The availability of ESPN dates and viewership competition from major sports leagues that have postponed seasons indefinitely figure to factor into selecting a new date for Lomachenko-Lopez. ESPN executives and promoter Bob Arum hadn’t determined before this pandemic essentially shut down the sport whether Lomachenko-Lopez will air live on ESPN, be streamed by ESPN+ or headline an ESPN Pay-Per-View show.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.