Mandatory title defenses in boxing are usually forgettable events, with the sport’s biggest stars having to step back from the fights fans want to see to face a challenger who is only the No.1 contender in the eyes of a sanctioning body. Instead of coming and going without much fanfare, Unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez’s mandatory title defense against George Kambosos Jr. has become one of the most bizarre boxing stories of 2021. Lopez and Kambosos are finally ready. face off on Saturday from the Hulu Theater in New York City. City (8 p.m. ET, DAZN – Subscribe now).
After scoring arguably boxing’s biggest victory of 2020 when he upset Vasiliy Lomachenko to add the WBA and WBO lightweight titles to his collection, Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) was ordered to defend himself against the compulsory competitor IBF Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs)). After Lopez’s camp and Top Rank promoter couldn’t agree on a scholarship in defense of the title, the fight went to the stock exchange in February with Triller shocking the sport when they won the right to promote the fight with a gross of over $ 6 million, far exceeding Matchroom Boxing’s second-place bid of $ 3.5 million.
This kicked off a trip that saw the fight scheduled or rumored (in order of announcement or rumor) on June 5, June 19, August 14, September 11 , October 5, October 4 and October 16. After Triller pushed the October 4 event following CEO Ryan Kavanaugh realizing that a Monday date during the football season meant facing Monday Night Football, Kambosos refused to accept the October 16 date change. and Triller was found in default of their scholarship offer. As the second bidder, Matchroom won the fight and the date of November 27 was set with little drama.
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Triller’s reputation has remained in shambles after suffering several financial blows without winning the fight and Kambosos and Lopez were left on the sidelines for over a year, a particularly big issue for Lopez at a time when the 24-year-old years should be making a push as one of boxing’s biggest young stars.
Lopez will enter the fight as a clear frontrunner to take care of business. He’s an explosive finisher with legitimate skills. During the trip until Saturday night, things got more and more personal between the two sides and Lopez has now announced that he will appear in battle as “ITL” or “Insane Teofimo Lopez”.
Getting Lopez to be flustered before the bell even rang may have been Kambosos’ line of thought throughout the process. Lopez is an emotional being, someone who can get caught up in furious verbal exchanges. Lopez and his father, Teofimo Lopez Sr., now guarantee a first round knockout.
“Nobody believed me when I said we were going to beat Lomachenko, and I guess nobody wants to believe me now,” Lopez said of the prediction at the pre-fight press conference. “Is he a businessman? That’s cool with me. Mike Tyson once said, ‘I’m a killer, these guys are businessmen.’ There is a difference. You have to have that mentality. We are here to kill, we are not here to be businessmen. “
Here’s how you can watch Saturday night’s fight.
Lopez Vs Kambosos Viewing Info
- Dated: November 27
- Site: Hulu Theater – New York City, New York
- Start time: 8 p.m. ET (main card)
- How to watch: DAZN (subscribe now)
Lopez vs Kambosos fight card, odds
- Teofimo Lopez (c) -1000 v George Kambosos Jr. +650, IBF, WBA, WBO Lightweight Championship
- Azinga Fuzile -220 v Kenichi Ogawa +180, IBF super featherweight championship vacant
- Raymond Ford -1500 vs. Felix Caraballo +850, featherweight
- Reshat Mati -2200 against Nicolas Pablo Demario +1100, super lightweight