Unified lightweight titleholder Teofimo Lopez isn't shying away from the business of boxing.
In an interview Saturday night on ESPN, Lopez addressed a report about a contract dispute between himself and Top Rank Promotions for a future fight against mandatory challenger George Kambosos.
Lopez is looking for more than the guaranteed purse of $1.25 million to defend his IBF belt in the 135-pound division. He said he is prepared to face Kambosos in a fight not promoted by Top Rank, if the price is right.
"I'm looking forward, and I'm moving forward," Lopez told ESPN's Mark Kriegel. "If you can't meet the terms, then like I said, I'm taking my talents somewhere else."
According to a report by The Athletic, Top Rank is not willing to pay more than $1.25 million for a fight against Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs). The IBF has scheduled a purse bid on Thursday that gives the bid's winner the right to promote the fight. It puts the onus on ESPN to produce the rest of the money for Lopez's purse. In 2018, Top Rank signed a seven-year contract with ESPN to produce fights for the network.
Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) is four months removed from defeating Vasiliy Lomachenko in October to win the WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight titles.
Before the Lopez-Lomachenko bout, Top Rank founder Bob Arum praised ESPN's efforts to make that fight financially viable during the COVID-19 pandemic. The match was staged in Las Vegas without any paid fans.
In his interview on Saturday, Lopez explained why his financial situation is different than it was four months ago.
"Because you got the best fighter in the world on that display," Lopez said. "It's all paid dues. And that's what we did. We paid our dues. I am your favorite fighter's favorite fighter. That sets the tone, and I think that everybody needs to realize that. I am the truth. I am the best in the division."
Lopez said he is currently planning on staying at 135 pounds as he waits for the winner of the junior welterweight bout between Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor. Ramirez and Taylor each have two of the major four titles in the 140-pound division; their fight has yet to be announced.
Ramirez and Taylor also fight on ESPN and are promoted by Top Rank. Lopez said he hopes his next fight is on the network. However, he said he believes he is worth more than what is currently being offered, which puts his immediate future in jeopardy.
"I can't take it or leave it no more," Lopez told ESPN on Saturday. "It's more so about it's a takeover. I earned it. It's not something that's given. You've gotta earn it."