Image Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank
Yesterday, championship boxing got a lot more interesting when Triller outbid major boxing promoters for a Teofimo Lopez fight.
Lopez, the current unified WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight champion, will make his first title defense against George Kambosos but not on his promoter Top Rank’s network of ESPN.
— Teofimo Lopez (@TeofimoLopez) February 25, 2021
Instead, the Honduran from Brooklyn will perform on the same streaming platform that hosted the now legendary Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones, Jr. fight.
Triller started as a video sharing app to rival TikTok but has since sunk its teeth into the red light district of sports.
Lopez won his titles originally on ESPN from “The Matrix” Vasiliy Lomachenko back in October 2020 and since then was waiting for the best deal.
Ryan Kavanaugh, owner of Triller ultimately won the purse bid via Zoom call to the tune of $6,180,000.
For those counting at home, Teofimo Lopez must pay 20% of his $3,911,700 purse for the George Kambosos fight to Top Rank ($782,340) & probably a combined 12% of it to the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO ($469,404). Still a career-high purse and a huge win for Lopez, of course.
— Keith Idec (@Idecboxing) February 25, 2021
“I love ESPN and the platform and everything they have done for Team Lopez and ‘The Takeover.’ However, I am very thankful that my team and I stuck to our guns,” Lopez said in a statement to ESPN.
“We knew what we were being offered was disrespectful, and we expected the open market would value us differently. And it showed today. The $6 million from Triller, right there, says that Top Rank doesn’t value the best fighter on their roster. I look forward to my title defense against George Kambosos.”
Triller’s Ryan Kavanaugh tells me that he sees Teofimo Lopez vs. George Kambosos as “probably a co-main event” on a May card that would be paired with "an influencer-celebrity-type."
— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) February 25, 2021
The sum Jumpman leaped over the bids of Matchroom Boxing, bidding in conjunction with DAZN and DiBella Entertainment, Kambosos promoter, and Top Rank, which came in at roughly $3.5 million and $2.3 million, respectively.
Lopez will receive 65 percent of the successful purse bid or $3,911,700. However, that doesn’t leave Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum in the cold as 20 percent of his purse ($782,340) goes to Top Rank since it did not win the auction.
Did somebody say free bag alert?
In addition, Kambosos is entitled to the remaining 35 percent or $2,106,300. About 25 percent of $500,000 goes to DiBella Entertainment.
There is no official date set for the fight.
Triller believes Teofimo Lopez fight can be a win-win situation for all involved.
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) February 26, 2021
Currently, Triller is promoting their Triller Fight Club pay-per-view card on April 17 featuring YouTuber turned boxer Jake Paul (2-0, 2 KOs) against former MMA fighter Ben Askren.
The fight has a lot of traction on social media for the former UFC, Bellator and ONE Fighting Championship champion against the social media star turned fight game renegade.
The New Trill Elephant In The Room
The move is a major disruption for the traditional boxing business. Triller set a new standard with the Tyson vs. Jones exhibition bout which did 1.6 million pay-per-view buys.
It hosted the KO heard around the world by Jake Paul over former NBA great Nate Robinson and cemented Snoop Dogg, a Triller partner, as a funny legitimate sports commentator.
— Teofimo Lopez (@TeofimoLopez) February 20, 2021
“It is the latest major step in how the disruptive property is reimagining the sport of boxing for a new, engaged generation,” Triller said.
“This fight will certainly go down as iconic and TFC will make sure it is presented with entertainment for every audience, from the diehard to the casual fan,” said Kavanaugh. “These two undefeated stars transcend their sport not just in the U.S. but around the world, and we are working to reshape the vision of excitement and storytelling in a sport we love.”
George Kambosos is Lopez’s mandatory challenger according to the IBF. Mandatory fights only hit the auction block when each fighter’s promoter fails to make a deal. The. the promotional rights go to the highest bidder.
However, in this situation the difference was a serious disagreement between Top Rank and Lopez over his desired purse amount. Top Rank’s first offer was his contractual minimum of $1.25 million.
However, Lopez believes his value is much higher and asked for $5.5 million. With no real negotiations after disagreeing, it opened up the ability for Triller to swoop in and make a deal.