Fighting Words — Teofimo Lopez and Tyson Fury: Positives Tests and Snowball Effects

Teofimo Lopez (proper) vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko. Photograph by Mikey Williams/Prime Rank

This was speculated to be an enormous yr for Teofimo Lopez and Tyson Fury.

The light-weight champion and the heavyweight champion have been every anticipating to comply with up their huge 2020 — after they scored the 2 most monumental victories of their careers — by cashing in with huge paychecks in 2021.

As a substitute, they each have wanted to postpone their fights after testing optimistic for COVID-19. And people postponements have had repercussions on their careers, on their foes, on their undercard fights, or on their enterprise relationships.

Lopez’s group is at odds together with his present’s promoter and is threatening to tug out of his match with George Kambosos Jr. In the meantime, Fury’s optimistic take a look at — mixed with the upcoming pay-per-view schedule — means his trilogy with Deontay Wilder might have to attend till this fall to renew.

Lopez vs. Kambosos was initially speculated to happen final month. It was first delayed from June 5 to June 19 to get out of the best way of the Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Logan Paul pay-per-view. Then, days earlier than the rescheduled bout, it was introduced that Lopez had gotten in poor health and that the present would as a substitute happen on August 14.

“I’m devastated to disappoint so many individuals,” Lopez tweeted at the time. “I do know the sacrifices now we have all made to get right here.”

In an interview on Could 25 with sports activities reporter Amber Dixon, Lopez mentioned he had not but been vaccinated.

“In the meanwhile, no, me being with bronchial asthma and every little thing, I nonetheless have these precautions that, you understand, uncertainty,” Lopez said at the time. “Nonetheless, I do know that they’re getting higher little by little with the COVID and every little thing, and the way they’re doing the vaccinations, and ultimately there will likely be a cut-off date the place we must do it. However for the time being we’re simply attempting to steer clear of teams and simply attempting to remain targeted in camp.”

Kambosos, who had earned this combat by turning into necessary challenger to considered one of Lopez’s many world titles, mentioned he was “completely devastated” and directed his disappointment at his opponent.

“I’ve been away from my youngsters for 13 weeks. I flew my pregnant spouse over to be by my aspect,” tweeted Kambosos, who hails from Australia. “I put each little bit of my life into this camp with my group. I might have been undisputed champion this weekend. I do know it and you understand it. Your actions and choices have affected not solely our combat, however everybody concerned in our combat. Pure irresponsibility in your entire aspect.”

There have been a number of matches scheduled for the Lopez-Kambosos undercard, together with a bout between Franchón Crews-Dezurn and Elin Cederroos for the undisputed middleweight championship, plus separate clashes that includes heavyweight contender Michael Hunter, extremely touted junior middleweight prospect Charles Conwell, and hyped junior welterweight prospect Keyshawn Davis.

As with different occasions placed on by nascent promoter Triller, just a few musical acts have been additionally slated to carry out, including Meek Mill, Myke Towers and Lunay.

The pay-per-view would’ve taken place on an extremely packed night time of boxing. There have been 4 different notable reveals that day, together with a mid-day card on DAZN headlined by Jaime Munguia vs. Kamil Szeremeta, and nighttime playing cards on Showtime (with Jermall Charlo vs. Juan Macias Montiel in the principle occasion), ESPN (Naoya Inoue vs. Michael Dasmarinas) and pay-per-view (Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Anderson Silva, plus Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. in an exhibition with Hector Camacho Jr.).

Even when the delay took Lopez-Kambosos out of a packed market, it didn’t save the promoter cash.

“The combat postponement price Triller almost $5 million … cash that included journey bills and different logistical and advertising prices that may’t be recouped since occasion insurance coverage isn’t protected towards COVID,” reported Mike Coppinger of ESPN.com, citing nameless sources.

Triller has been spending important sums on its reveals, placing extra into manufacturing than boxing promoters sometimes do. It additionally simply outbid two different promoters for the rights to this combat. Lopez vs. Kambosos had gone to purse bid as a result of the light-weight champ wished greater than his promoter, Prime Rank, was providing and felt that the market would help him. (Lopez and Prime Rank have since reached an agreement to extend his paydays for future fights.)

Virtually everybody in boxing, in any case, is within the enterprise to become profitable. That’s why Triller is rescheduling the combat as soon as once more — and relocating it as properly.

“Lopez must go to Australia and ought to be bending over backwards to make this proper for Kambosos, for us and for all others who misplaced out as a consequence of their irresponsibility,” mentioned firm govt Ryan Kavanaugh, talking with Coppinger. “We now have set the combat for October in Australia, which will likely be a fair greater draw. We now have the stadium set and the PPV will likely be Saturday primetime. We really hope Lopez and his camp do the proper factor.”

However Lopez’s group has objected to the thought. They don’t wish to make the lengthy journey to Australia, be required to quarantine for 2 weeks and have Lopez try to chop weight within the course of, in keeping with what Lopez’s supervisor, David McWater, instructed ESPN. McWater mentioned they may simply drop considered one of Lopez’s world titles and go away Kambosos to presumably combat the subsequent out there contender for a lot much less cash.

Lopez hasn’t fought since October 2020, when he scored an enormous unanimous determination victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko. If the Kambosos bout stays on the schedule for this August, he could have gone almost 10 months between fights. If Lopez agrees to the brand new date on Oct. 17, he could have spent precisely a yr out of the ring. And that’s if he takes the combat.

In any other case, he’ll have made a stand with Prime Rank, held out for extra money, after which price himself the payday.

That’s a big gamble that Lopez and his group could also be keen to take. Simply as fighters and their groups search the most important paydays, in addition they wish to give themselves the perfect likelihood to win. McWater is staking their place within the press. The negotiations will in any other case proceed behind the scenes.

Photograph by Mikey Williams/Prime Rank

Lopez’s layoff continues to be considerably shorter than the period of time Tyson Fury could have spent on the sidelines between his second and third clashes towards Deontay Wilder.

Fury’s momentous technical knockout of Wilder of their rematch came about in February 2020, weeks earlier than the pandemic shut down the world, and all of sports activities with it. That was almost 17 months in the past.

Talks for his or her third combat broke down towards the top of 2020. Fury quickly lamented his inactivity.

“I’ve been out for over a yr,” Fury said this past February. “By the point I combat once more, perhaps June if this [Anthony Joshua] combat occurs, that will likely be a yr and 6 months out of the ring, which isn’t very best preparation for any superfight.”

As has been well-chronicled, Fury and Joshua went from extended negotiations to lastly saying in Could that they might meet in an enormous heavyweight collision this August. There was only one large downside. Fury and Wilder have been in arbitration over their incapacity to achieve a deal for a 3rd combat. Arbitration was one thing that they had agreed to of their contract for his or her second combat.

The Fury-Joshua information had barely sunk in when the arbitrator dominated that Fury needed to reside as much as his settlement and face Wilder subsequent as a substitute. Fury vs. Wilder 3 was shortly set for July 24 in Las Vegas, one other large heavyweight conflict with loads of drama and storylines concerned. Would Fury be capable to knock Wilder out once more? Or would Wilder land together with his personal energy and do what he’d come half a second away from doing of their first combat — put Fury down for good?

We’ll want to attend longer to seek out out.

Final week, information broke that there had been a COVID-19 outbreak in Fury’s camp. The heavyweight champion himself was mentioned to be optimistic, in addition to an assistant coach (Andy Lee) and two different fighters (heavyweight Joseph Parker and featherweight Isaac Lowe), according to boxing reporter Dan Rafael.

Rafael, citing nameless sources, reported that Fury had solely acquired one dose of the Pfizer vaccine and had not returned for his second dose, contrary to what Top Rank’s Bob Arum had believed to be the case.

“If Tyson Fury and his group did what they need to have completed and mentioned that they had completed, this combat could be on and never off,” mentioned Wilder’s supervisor, Shelly Finkel, talking with Rafael. “Deontay did what he was speculated to. He obtained his two Pfizer vaccines, and so did the members of his group. He’s able to go, and it is because Fury didn’t do what he was speculated to.”

Wilder’s group has as a lot proper to be as upset with Fury as George Kambosos was with Teofimo Lopez. Coaching camps are bodily and mentally arduous for boxers, even those that don’t want to chop weight. And this isn’t the primary time that Wilder has skilled for an enormous combat after which had it collapse on the final second, at no fault of his personal. He was en path to Russia to face Alexander Povetkin in 2016 when it was revealed that Povetkin had examined optimistic for performance-enhancing medicine.

The Fury-Wilder 3 pay-per-view was speculated to have three different heavyweight fights on the printed: the rematch between Robert Helenius and Adam Kownacki, a bout between unbeaten prospects Efe Ajagba and Frank Sanchez, plus prospect Jared Anderson stepping up towards the also-undefeated Vladimir Tereshkin.

Fury and his camp members will want time to get well after which start coaching camp anew. And they’re additionally on the mercy of the pay-per-view calendar.

Fury-Wilder 3 will likely be a twin pay-per-view involving ESPN (which works with Fury’s promoter) and Fox (which works with Wilder’s). Fox can be distributing the August 21 pay-per-view that includes Errol Spence vs. Manny Pacquiao. September will presumably have a present that includes Canelo Alvarez, although no opponent, date, venue or community — you understand, all of the vital stuff — has been introduced but.

The earliest we may see a rescheduled combat between Fury and Wilder is October 9, per ESPN’s Coppinger.

Lopez-Kambosos and Fury-Wilder 3 are removed from the primary fights to be postponed through the pandemic as a consequence of somebody testing optimistic for the virus. And there are many folks all through the world who’ve sought to remain protected and wholesome however have nonetheless contracted COVID-19.

These two tales do stand out given how rather more is thought in regards to the novel coronavirus now when in comparison with final yr — and the way rather more may be completed to forestall it.

The vaccines have been out there for Lopez and Fury. And in the event that they have been selecting to not be vaccinated, or within the case of Fury to not be fully vaccinated, then they wanted to be moreover cautious about who was of their coaching camp — and what precautions these folks have been taking themselves.

As maddening as this case is, although, an important factor isn’t the fights which were postponed as a consequence of sickness. Fairly, an important factor is the well being of the fighters themselves (and anybody else on their groups who was contaminated).

It sucks that these occasions had such a snowball impact. However undercard fighters will discover new slots. Occasions will get rescheduled. It’s removed from very best, however boxing all the time recovers. Our hope is that Lopez and Fury will do the identical.

1 – I’m excited for what would be the greatest combat of this coming weekend, by far — Jermell Charlo vs. Brian Castaño for the undisputed junior middleweight championship. The combat would be the primary occasion of a Showtime broadcast.

Charlo is coming in with three world titles — the WBC title he regained in his 2019 rematch with Tony Harrison, plus the IBF and WBA belts he seized from Jeison Rosario final September. He’ll be dealing with an entertaining problem in Castaño, who doesn’t have the identify recognition however completely shouldn’t be counted out. Charlo, who can be The Ring Journal champion, feels the identical manner.

“Castaño is a superb fighter who places on a whole lot of stress,” Charlo, 34-1 with 18 KOs, mentioned not too long ago in a digital press convention. “However I do know my talents and I do know my energy. Each punch I throw is dominant and each shot I throw is painful for my opponent. I’ve a whole lot of distinctive talents in me and I’m going to convey some tips into this combat.”

Castaño impressed with the best way he took the WBO title from Patrick Teixeira by way of unanimous determination earlier this yr. He acknowledges the problem in who he’ll be dealing with in San Antonio.

“I’ve seen Charlo knock down a whole lot of fighters with only one punch,” Castaño mentioned. “That’s one thing to look out for. Nonetheless, I’ve extra of a spread in my arsenal than anyone he has fought earlier than. If I’ve to be extra aggressive and go for extra energy as a substitute of finesse, relaxation assured that I can knock him down as properly.”

The tripleheader additionally options lightweights Rolly Romero vs. Anthony Yigit and middleweight prospect Amilcar Vidal vs. Immanuwel Aleem.

Haney (left) final trip towards Jorge Linares. Photograph courtesy of @DAZNBoxing

2 – Boxers Behaving Goodly: Devin Haney donated meals final week to residents of Covenant Home Texas, in keeping with a press launch. The group shelters and offers different companies for homeless, abused and deserted folks between the ages of 18 and 24 in Houston, per its website.

“It’s vital to offer again. The pandemic has affected everybody,” Haney was quoted as saying in a press release. “We frolicked and fed the CHT residents with a catered dinner from my must-go-to restaurant after I’m in Houston, The Turkey Hut. That is my technology at CHT, and I like to try to help and encourage them each likelihood I get.”

Haney is 22 years previous. The light-weight titleholder moved to 26-0 (15 KOs) this previous Could with a unanimous determination over Jorge Linares.

3 – The WBA’s determination to droop Jean Pascal for simply six months is a joke in relation to punishment for testing optimistic for as many performance-enhancing medicine as he did.

Pascal hasn’t fought since his December 2019 victory over Badou Jack. Their rematch was scheduled for final month till Pascal popped optimistic for banned substances. However there must be higher accountability. And, frankly, it isn’t the only real accountability of the sanctioning our bodies.

Droop a fighter from one sanctioning physique and he may both respect that call or select to compete for the remainder of his profession with the three others. Droop a fighter in a single nation they usually can nonetheless journey. Heck, there have even been instances in the USA the place one athletic fee has put the kibosh on a fighter (usually as a consequence of damage) and one other one received’t respect that call.

There must be accountability. There must be reciprocity. There received’t be both. The sanctioning our bodies are right here to become profitable. The athletic commissions — who ostensibly exist to offer construction and security for an exercise that might in any other case be unlawful — want to herald income for his or her states as properly.

It continues to be no surprise that boxers are doping to get a bonus. There’s too little being completed to catch them. And there’s too little completed to them as soon as they’re caught.

4 – Jean Pascal issued an open letter to boxing fans earlier this week. He mentioned he “didn’t knowingly take any unlawful substances.”

Nonetheless, he additionally rightly acknowledged that he’s “chargeable for what’s in my physique, in order that blame is on me. I take the blame. I maintain myself accountable, and that is by no means going to occur once more.”

It’s arduous to think about a fighter on this period utilizing a substance — whether or not as tablets, gummies, balms or injections — and never doing his due diligence on what they’re.

Amongst what I’d wish to know: What did Pascal suppose he was taking, and the way did he take them? Who offered the substances to him? The place have been the substances acquired from? Who paid for them?

There are many different questions. However the greatest one that may linger over Pascal’s head going ahead is whether or not he’s a clear fighter.

Pascal says he’ll enroll within the year-round drug testing by way of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Affiliation. That’s a great begin. That shouldn’t be the place it ends.

Fighters in Jean Pascal’s scenario must do greater than be clear. In addition they want to return clear.

5 – Gilberto Ramirez’s fourth-round knockout of Sullivan Barrera this previous weekend was a great first step again towards relevancy, a much-needed transfer after his previous couple of years.

Ramirez received a brilliant middleweight title in 2016 and defended it 5 occasions, together with in a pair of shut battles with Jesse Hart. However he hadn’t completed a lot of something after transferring as much as mild heavyweight. Ramirez made brief work of Tommy Karpency in 2019 after which sat on the sidelines. He and promoter Prime Rank reached an settlement on a launch in 2020.

The fighter grew to become his personal promoter and placed on a present final December in Mexico, stepping again into the ring for the primary time in 20 months.

“There’s a chance for us to be a free agent and work with totally different fighters, totally different promoters. You are able to do no matter you need,” Ramirez instructed me in February. “On the finish of the day, you must work with totally different promoters to make good fights.”

Ramirez signed with Golden Boy Promotions two weeks after our interview.

It stays to be seen whether or not the deal will work out the best way he desires. Golden Boy has been airing its fights on DAZN. As famous by Chris Mannix — a boxing author who additionally does commentary for the streaming service — there are potential fights out there with former titleholder Sergey Kovalev and present titleholder Dmitry Bivol.

After all, Kovalev upset DAZN when he illegally broadcast a stream of Canelo Alvarez vs. Callum Smith, continuing his long run of terrible behavior. After which he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Bivol fought on DAZN simply this previous Could.

We’ll see if Ramirez is ready to work with different promoters and networks. There are 175-pounders who’re with Prime Rank and proven on ESPN (Artur Beterbiev, Joe Smith) and people with Premier Boxing Champions and often proven on Showtime or FOX (Marcus Browne, Badou Jack).

Vergil Ortiz scored his seventeenth consecutive stoppage vs. Maurice Hooker. Photograph from DAZN

6 – I actually just like the combat that was simply introduced placing Vergil Ortiz Jr. in with Egidijus Kavaliauskas on August 14.

Ortiz is coming off a victory over Maurice Hooker and used his post-fight interview to prematurely name out Terence Crawford. Kavaliauskas stopped Mikael Zewski final September, bouncing again from his loss to Crawford.

It was a surprisingly good efficiency in defeat for the Kavaliauskas, particularly given how a lot he’d struggled in a draw with Ray Robinson earlier in 2019. He’ll be a great take a look at for the place Ortiz is at in his improvement.

7 – In the meantime, I’m additionally ready to see if one other promoter is courageous sufficient — or silly sufficient, relying in your perspective — to place their welterweight in with David Avanesyan.

Avanesyan, who misplaced to Kavaliauskas by TKO in 2018, surprised the unbeaten Josh Kelly earlier this yr. He deserves one other notable identify.

8 – Some persons are actually into boxing memorabilia. However how about shopping for a house that when belonged to a fighter or one other well-known determine?

There’s a two-bed, two-bath rental on Lengthy Island where referee Arthur Mercante Sr. used to live.

That’ll run you simply $799,000, so begin up your individual world title belt and start amassing these sanctioning charges.

Or you would reside in luxurious at longtime HBO broadcaster Larry Merchant’s house in Santa Monica, California, having fun with the 5 beds and four-and-a-half bogs.

That’ll run you solely $5.7 million, so be sure that to develop into an obnoxious social media influencer after which steal a hat off Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s head.

And film your self residing within the Atlanta space at former middleweight titleholder Daniel Jacobs’ home, with seven bedrooms, five-and-a-half bogs and loads of house, plus a location proper by a golf course.

It’s available on the market for $1.95 million, so select a career that’ll provide help to rake within the huge bucks. Trace: It’s not boxing writing.

9 – Sadly, none of these listings is represented by boxing’s most notable mixture referee and Realtor, Jack Reiss. (A hat tip to boxing publicist Gayle Lynn Falkenthal for that one.)

After all, that sort of factor may current a possible battle of curiosity. And we don’t need that in boxing. We’re too honorable and respectable a sport.

In any case, it’s not like we’ve ever had a outstanding boxing referee promoting insurance coverage for the exact same reveals he was working.

Oh, wait… that was Laurence Cole.

10 – I’m simply ready for Max Kellerman to purchase Larry Service provider’s home after which spend each day evaluating it to different historic homes…

 

Observe David Greisman on Twitter @FightingWords2. His e book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” is accessible on Amazon.

 

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