Danny Flexen reflects on the Teofimo Lopez vs George Kambosos Jr purse bids being won by Triller Boxing and what it means for the sport
It’s just the latest illustration of the fast-moving nature of boxing that a year ago, the majority of the sport’s fans and pundits had never heard of Triller. The social media platform beating out established promotional entities in Matchroom and Top Rank to win the purse bids for Teofimo Lopez vs George Kambosos Jr yesterday was another statement from a powerful new player in the boxing arena. Triller, who staged the Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr ‘exhibition’ in November, which drew a purported – and hugely impressive - 1.6m buys, did not merely outbid their more well-known rivals, they blew them right out of the water. Their huge $6.1m gambit almost doubled that of the runner-up (Matchroom) and guaranteed the unified lightweight king just under $4m before deductions, including around $800,000 to his promoter of record… Top Rank.
The general consensus appears to be that Triller will add Lopez vs Kambosos Jr to their April 17 boxing card topped by superstar influencer Jake Paul vs former UFC fighter Ben Askren and to which veteran Antonio Tarver was yesterday added against MMA legend Frank Mir. It is the type of crossover, mainstream attention-grabbing line-up that has served Triller well in the past, and benefits both Lopez and his confident IBF mandatory opponent. While many believe Lopez, coming off that landmark victory over Vasyl Lomachenko should have things his own way against the Australian – and you can find the latest betting odds via m.22bet.com/allgamesentrance/ - Kambosos earned his shot with a final eliminator victory over the talented former world champion, Lee Selby, and has been pursuing Teofimo intently.
In an interview with ESPN, Ryan Kavanaugh, the founder of Proxima Media, Triller’s controlling shareholder, clarified that the winning purse bid should not be read as a broader move into traditional boxing and confirmed that Lopez vs Kambosos would likely be positioned as a joint main event with an crossover-type bout, as most observers predicted. The merits of such a move are obvious, as it exposes the two kinds of action to a pair of entirely different but similarly lucrative audiences. It also establishes a precedent, that if Triller believe a fight perceived to be in the normal boxing realm can enhance one of their events, they will not be shy to bid for it, and invest heavily in the opportunity. And while Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum was bullish in claiming he was happy his company had made not far off $1m in five minutes by losing an auction, and that his contracted star may well return to the fold more famous than before, he must feel a little shaken by Triller’s growing interest in the winder boxing world. Arum should be, as should all the other major players in the sport.
Triller boast huge wealth and a way of making more, using a fresh model that their new rivals have not been able to monetise quite as successfully thus far. With the events of yesterday, Triller won a battle but the war may well have just begun.