The saga to put unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez Jr. and mandatory title challenger George Kambosos Jr. in the ring together has contained more twists and turns than any writer in Hollywood would dare include in a film script. Now, after being asked to push the date of the fight yet again, Kambosos has taken a complaint to the IBF asking to remove Triller as the event's promoter.
Kambosos' complaint stems from Triller's most recent attempt to move the fight from Oct. 4 to Oct. 16. After initially resisting the idea, Lopez reportedly agreed to the date swap, which was driven by Triller's CEO Ryan Kavanaugh claiming that he "just realized" the Oct. 4 date would mean going head-to-head with the Monday Night Football game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers.
Kambosos has not agreed to the date swap, but Triller has removed the fight from New York's Hulu Theater, so it will not be taking place on Oct. 4. Kambosos' attorney subsequently sent a letter to the IBF demanding action be taken to remove Triller from promoting the fight with Lopez or participating in any future purse bids.
"Triller has breached the contract, lied to the IBF about Mr. Kambosos' agreement to move the bout and attempted to coerce Mr. Kambosos into executing an amendment that does not comply with IBF [rules] in that it does not specify a venue," the letter read. "Triller should be declared in default ... and should be barred from future purse bids for its egregious behavior."
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Here is a brief timeline of notable dates and the difficulties faced in putting together the fight:
- Feb. 25: Triller surprised the boxing world by winning a purse bid for the fight, bidding slightly more than $6 million, far more than Matchroom Boxing's $3.5 million second-place bid.
- June 5: The original "official" date for the fight, which was then pushed to avoid having to share the weekend with the June 6 exhibition between Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul.
- June 19: The second "official" date. Postponed after Lopez tested positive for COVID-19.
- Aug. 14: The third "official" date was confirmed by Triller only to be changed later at the discretion of the promoters.
- Sept. 11: While never officially booked, Lopez vs. Kambosos was briefly discussed as being held on the undercard of the Triller pay-per-view headlined by Vitor Belfort vs. Oscar De La Hoya, a fight that didn't happen when De La Hoya had to be replaced by 58-year-old Evander Holyfield after testing positive for COVID-19.
- October: Various dates and locations were pitched for the month of October, including Triller attempting to hold the event in Kambosos' native Australia as a sort of punishment for Lopez costing the promotion money because of his June COVID-19 diagnosis. The IBF stepped in to prevent this move.
- Oct. 4: The fourth "official" date was locked down after an attempt to set the fight for Oct. 5, only for Triller to realize that date would conflict with a potential Yankees vs. Red Sox playoff game. After moving the fight to a Monday during the NFL season, Kavanaugh was surprised to learn the event would go head-to-head with Monday Night Football.
- Oct. 16: Triller's latest attempt at a date change was made without Kambosos agreeing, leading to the current situation with Kambosos attempting to have Triller held in default.
Triller being removed as promoter would mean Kambosos and Lopez would share the $1.2 million purse bid deposit put down by Triller. The fight would then move into the hands of Matchroom Boxing, who placed the second-highest bid. Both Lopez and Kambosos would ultimately lose out on money in this situation, even with the shared portions of the Triller deposit. That may be worth it to Kambosos on moral grounds, however.
Speaking with ESPN, Kavanaugh offered a scathing rebuttal to Kambosos's actions, including stating that Kambosos' demanded $380,000 in financial compensation for yet another date change and was engaging in a shakedown that would set a bad precedent when they are dealing with "a fighter who actually matters."
"This is nothing more than Kambosos attempting to extort Triller," Kavanaugh said. "This is a sad day for boxing. We are paying him nearly 10 times his next highest payday, almost $2.5 million. We have secured Barclays [Center], made our deposits, signed with Lopez, and Kambosos is making financial and other demands after confirming this date is in fact better than the 4th.
"We have signed and paid an advance to Lopez and put the very same offer forward to Kambosos," Kavanaugh added. "This is a pure and simple shakedown and speaks a lot to his character. If we give into this, imagine what every future event would hold for Triller when it's a fighter who actually matters."