By Paul Magno | August 11, 2020

When news of Teofimo Lopez turning down a take-it-or-leave-it final offer of $1.2 million for his much-talked about challenge of Vasiliy Lomachenko hit the media, the 23-year-old from Brooklyn took plenty of flak.

There had been so much time spent pre-selling this fight. There was a postponement due to the Covid outbreak. Then, a rescheduling for October 3. Lomachenko had reportedly agreed to take less than his contractual minimum guarantee to get the fight done in the "new normal." But then Lopez turned down a purse offer that was more than double his previous highest purse. 

Fans freaked the fuck out in exasperation. 

The backlash prompted Lopez to defend himself on social media.

“How you mad at me and I’m just tryna feed my family,” he asked via Twitter.

“The fight is going to happen,” he would follow up a few days later. “Stuff like this sometimes takes a little longer to happen and that’s why it’s called 'negotiating' for a reason. Dumb asses!”

But the criticism continued. Fueled on by frustration over the pandemic shutdown and the general inability of boxing to get its shit together, Lopez was flayed and fricasseed in the court of public opinion. 

Bob Arum, who promotes both fighters, went to media, saying that he was willing to just "move on to the next" for Lomachenko if Lopez wouldn't accept the terms of the offer. 

A few days later, Arum told media that Lomachenko was willing to sacrifice some more of his purse to free up additional money for Lopez. 

True or not, the idea of Lomachenko tossing his own money into the pot makes Lopez look even worse. 

Lomachenko recently said that contracts will be signed soon for this fight. He's clearly under the impression that a deal has been reached. Maybe it has...or maybe Vasiliy is just being told that the fight is close to being made. 

Whatever the case, all of this is murdering Teofimo's well-crafted public image as a young, hungry killer.

If the fight IS close to being made, Lopez either got a sweeter deal to sign or was shamed into signing. Maybe a bit of both. 

But this really didn't have to be such a drama. This was a no-lose proposition for Lopez from the very beginning and he would've been smart to jump on the $1.2 million offer without dragging himself through the mud for a few extra bucks.

Nobody would hold it against him if he lost to Lomachenko at this young stage of his career. It wouldn't hold his career back one bit. He'd up his clout with a spirited effort, get some main stage exposure, more than double his highest previous payday, and get some valuable experience at 23 years of age. And if he won, man, he'd be an instant star. 

Lopez should take some wisdom offered by Saul Alvarez in a story posted last week. The young Canelo was in a similar situation when the Floyd Mayweather fight was offered to him. He took the money, as is, and took his own "no-lose" showcase. And we can see how well that turned out from both a business standpoint and for his development as a fighter. Canelo, himself, acknowledges that it was the Mayweather loss that made him the star he is today.

A Lomachenko fight would do the same for Lopez, albeit to a lesser extent. It's a brilliant showcase business opportunity and would open the door to bigger and bigger paydays in a young, packed lightweight division. 

Lopez needs to step up, sign up, and gamble on his future rather than negotiating this bout like it's a one-time cash-out opportunity.

SEPTEMBER 18, 2020
SEPTEMBER 17, 2020
SEPTEMBER 16, 2020