Undefeated IBF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez was lined up to fight pound for pound king and WBA/WBO/WBC lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko before the coronavirus outbreak hit the world.
After Lopez knocked out Richard Commey on December 14, 2019 to claim the IBF 135-pound belt, Lomachenko was ringside and came into the ring after the fight to congratulate the young 22-year-old newly crowned champion.
Lopez called out Lomachenko multiple times in the media and has boasted and bragged that he could defeat him and sees nothing special in the 32-year-old, two-time Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine.
Boxing Scene reported that Lopez was a guest on the The Ak and Barak Show on SiriusXM and told the hosts that he wouldn’t fight Lomachenko unless they had an audience present. He said he does this for the fans and if they can’t be in the audience he won’t take the fight.
Lopez who previously said in an interview with Top Rank’s Crystina Poncher that he is staying indoors because he has asthma and doesn’t want to take any chances with the COVID-19 outbreak, all of a sudden wants an arena filled with fans when he fights Lomachenko?
This sounds like a duck move to me.
Unless you have been hiding in a cave with no contact with the outside world, you would know that large gatherings in the United States are highly unlikely for the foreseeable future due to the virus and until they find a vaccine. Even when they reopen the states, most of the Governor’s will have restrictions and guidelines in place, such as mandatory face masks, social distancing of at least 6 feet and no large gatherings such as concerts and sporting events.
If Lopez is serious about challenging Lomachenko for his legacy and cared about the fans, he would realize the fans can watch him on TV or online from the safety of their homes and still enjoy the fight without being at risk or putting others at risk in a crowded space.
This is clearly a case of a young fighter who talked a big game, but got cold feet. If you want to fight you must follow the commission guidelines and it will likely mean fighting with no crowd present.
If you claim to be great, you should be willing to fight the best with or without an audience, otherwise you are bluffing.