Lopez Title Defense Moved Again: It’s Become Meaningless

Next month it will be one year since the lightweight title had significance. Then, Teofimo Lopez said the takeover was complete in Las Vegas after dethroning Vasily Lomachencko and unifying the light weight titles. Five postponements later, Lopez’ title defense against George Kambosos Jr. is hard to find.

Backtrack a bit when Triller Fight Club competed with a lucrative purse bid to promote Lopez and his first title defense. Lopez, under contract with Top Rank, was permitted to take the bid and in boxing anything goes.

Except, there have been obstacles including Lopez testing positive for COVID-19 that canned a June 19th card in Miami at Loan Depot Park. They tried again for an August date in the same venue, but the Marlins had a scheduled date for baseball.

In the meantime, Triller has lost significant revenue and took a huge financial loss when the June date was cancelled for a fight card that was heavily promoted as part of a pay-per-view event.

Australian based Kambosos had enough of the back-and-forth trials and tribulations of getting in the ring with Lopez. The IBF sanctioning body was implementing a deadline to assure one of their mandatory titles was decided in a 90-day time frame.

Lawsuits were on the agenda and a lightweight title that was significant got more meaningless.

Of course, nothing transpired until Triller secured a Monday October 4th date at the Madison Square Garden Hulu Theatre. All settled? Of course it would not be possible because this back-and-forth fight, a major one on the calendar, has confronted so many obstacles.

Kambosos threatened to pull out of the fight, realizing there would be severe repercussions of fines and suspensions, also under his contention that the October 4th date was not ample time to prepare and travel .

Has all of this been a ploy to keep the title on Lopez? Or strip Lopez of the titles and open up the division to an array of talented fighters? Lopez has stated that his takeover would be to move on and unify the titles at 140.

The logistics are complicated. Either you do or you don’t. In the meantime, the so-called unified lightweight title has become meaningless, and more confusing because Devin Haney is the WBC title holder in residence.

So one can argue that the lightweight titles are not unified and boxing politics adds more to the confusion.

Okay, are you with me? It gets more complicated. Throw October 4th out the door because the Garden as of Monday pulled the date off their calendar. Why? Triller Fight Club, a promotional company with musical acts of a Verzuz battle, realized a Monday evening fight date was not convenient for boxing.

October 4th has a Monday night football battle between the Raiders and Chargers. And there are potential tie breakers to determine postseason spots that evening on the Major League Baseball Calendar.

So, in turn, Triller moved this on and off again Teofimo title defense to a normal Saturday boxing date, October 16th in Brooklyn at the rival Barclays Center. Those holding tickets are getting their refund. The Garden division of boxing will move on and promote a Top Rank December date with Lomachenko as the headliner.

But as all of this confusion with Teofimo Lopez has pointed to another direction of a lightweight title that has become meaningless. A takeover for Lopez has become a slap in the face to boxing fans and the sport.

Then again, as I always say, if the sport had a national commission and unity, the takeover would have been complete. The lightweight titles would continue to be a major topic of discussion.

Your guess is as good as mine. Place your bets if October 16th and the lightweight titles are up for grabs.

USYK WIN Changed Heavyweight Landscape Again: Oleksandr Usyk changed the landscape of a heavyweight title picture again Saturday with a dominant win over Anthony Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Once again, Joshua is dethroned of the WBA, IBF, and WBO crowns.

Again, Joshua has a rematch clause as was the situation when Andy Ruiz Jr pulled the upset in June of 2019 at Madison Square Garden.

It’s apparent now. Anthony Joshua is not building a legacy. Leave that to Canelo Alvarez who will attempt to continue his fame November 6th when he meets Caleb Plant for the unified super middleweight titles in Las Vegas.

Before getting into specifics, many as to what went wrong this time for Anthony Joshua, take nothing away from his good guy approach with pre fight press conferences and handling business out of the ring. He has built a legacy as the good guy as compared to the theatrics of Canelo Alvarez.

Alvarez, again, last week resorted to pushing and shoving. He used obscenities that turned ugly during an introductory press conference to announce his fight with Plant.

But Anthony Joshua is not Canelo Alvarez. The record and inability to retain the heavyweight titles twice, against the underdogs, has put a major blemish on a legacy that could have stood with an array of icons who at one time put a heavyweight division on the map.

So with a 12-round unanimous decision, and with 66,000 fans not rooting for Usyk, a new heavyweight champion was crowned. Usyk, the Ukrainian, was never a journeyman but he was not supposed to dethrone Anthony Joshua.

However, boxing was provided with an answer that reverted again to a question about a heavyweight division that always has a change in complexion. One punch, or a question about a champion that puts a dent on plans to unify the titles.

And that mega fight of Joshua vs. Tyson Fury to possibly unify the titles is also out the window, contingent of course if Fury defends his WBC title against Deontay Wilder in their trilogy scheduled October 9th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Rich Mancuso: Twitter @Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich has covered countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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