Those who are dying to see a showdown between Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa are going to have to be patient.
Bob Arum, the promoter of both undefeated young fighters, said the economics aren’t right for an immediate matchup.
“It’s a matter of arithmetic,” Arum said on a conference call to promote Lopez’s fight against Orlando Salido on April 16 in Puerto Rico on Showtime. “There’s two ways it can be done. One is on premium TV, Showtime or HBO. The other way is pay per view. Now if it’s on premium TV, they have to show me the money. One thing is for sure: When they fight, they’ll want to get paid like they haven’t been paid before. They’ll want the biggest purse for both of them. I don’t see the premium networks putting up the money in the same way they put up money for fights in other divisions, heavier divisions.
“… I’ll decide when they fight is on pay per view because it’s going to be my money. And only when I believe I can recover the money back and make a profit will it do it on pay per view. Again, let me reiterate to all the people who want the fight to happen sooner rather than later, talk to Showtime, talk to HBO. Let them show me the money. If they don’t, then it’s my money. I’ll decide, and only me, will decide when the opportunity is right to do the fight. End of discussion.”
He added later: “I really, with all due respect, don’t believe the match is ready yet for pay per view. I hope it will be at one point but it’s isn’t ready yet.”
Lopez (30-0, 27 knockouts) has become a star in his native Puerto Rico and beyond with a series of exciting knockouts over good opponents, including Daniel Ponce de Leon, Gerry Penalosa, Rogers Mtagwa and Rafael Marquez.
Gamboa (20-0, 16 KOs) is just emerging as a big attraction after a number of uneven performances. However, the Cuban defector’s spectacular fourth-round knockout of Jorge Solis on March 26 was a break-out performance.
Thus, the fans are clamoring for a matchup between the two, which certainly would create a buzz even if Arum believes he needs time to build the fight up to maximize pay-per-view profits.
Lopez said he isn’t opposed to it but he’s leaving in Arum’s hands.
“We’re just fighters,” Lopez said through a translator. “I don’t think we’re afraid of each other. I’m not afraid to fight Gamboa at any time. I never said I wouldn’t fight him. That’s why Bob Arum is the promoter, why he’s the best. He’ll tell us when the fight is ready.”
Salido (34-11-2, 22 KOs) is coming off a one-side decision loss to Gamboa, who went down once in the fight.