Teofimo Lopez Jr. defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko via unanimous decision in October 2020.
The win was the highest of highs. But not too long after, however, the lowest of lows slowly crept up.
After an ugly spat with Top Rank and a series of postponements on the forthcoming George Kambosos Jr. bout -- one of which surrounded on Lopez contracting COVID-19 in June during fight week -- the fight is finally on track once again.
The IBF, WBO, WBA and WBC franchise lightweight champion’s on-again-off-again fight with George Kambosos Jr. reached another new wrinkle Wednesday when the IBF declared Triller to be in default of the $6,018,000 purse bid the company had scored in February.
Matchroom Boxing head Eddie Hearn, who came in second at $3,506,000, has now been awarded rights to promote the fight, which likely will be staged in December on DAZN.
But the journey was a tumultuous one for the Brooklyn-based 24-year-old who is also an expecting father.
"Everything happens for its reasons, so you have to have a lot of faith in it," Lopez told a group of reporters who were gathered at the MGM Grand media room in Las Vegas on Wednesday days before the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder trilogy.
"People say what's the sacrifice. People think sacrifice is killing people. But the sacrifice really is just love, and that starts with you. That's what happened with me. I took a step back and was like, man, I'm really thinking about killing myself. That's how serious it got. Not once. Not twice. Maybe like three times. I was like, that ain’t right. Why am I going to want to kill myself with the blessings that I'm receiving?
"I had to take a step back, get off the phone, because that sh!t is toxic. It really is. People can get like that with you. Negative people can really bring negative mindsets. I took care of my body and thanked Lord for his grace and mercy.
"Humbleness and awareness will always go far. I won't ever change, even after becoming undisputed [champion at 135].”
The Lopez vs. Kambosos fight was originally to take place no later than May 29. Announced dates of June 19, Aug. 14 and Oct. 4 all missed the mark. Triller tried one last time to change the date to Oct. 17, but Kambosos wouldn't oblige even after Lopez did.
Triller lost its near $1.2 million deposit, funds of which were split between both fighters. Lopez received 75% and Kambosos got 25%.
Lopez will now earn 65% of the Matchroom's $3,506,000 bid.
Lopez is a 2016 Honduran Olympian who is 16-0 professionally with 12 KOs.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com