Bob Arum has revealed that Top Rank invested in additional security amid their fears of the difficulty involved in keeping Josh Taylor and Teofimo Lopez separate.
Taylor and Lopez fight tomorrow evening at the theatre at Madison Square Garden, and having been kept apart at the final press conference and weigh-in staged on Thursday and Friday at the same venue.
Their volatility, mutual dislike and desire to get under each other’s skin had contributed to concerns about an escalation that could jeopardise the fight for the 32-year-old Taylor’s WBO super lightweight title.
The third fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder was the last time they paid for an increased security presence. Complementing that presence, despite Top Rank’s desire to promote Saturday’s fight, on neither occasion did the champion and the 25-year-old Lopez face off.
“It would be negligent on our part [not to use extra security],” Arum told ProBox TV. “We saw how they were interacting with each other, and I didn’t want anything to happen before the fight, because it could jeopardise the fight.
“If one or the other got out of line they would be subjected to big fines by the New York State Athletic Commission. So in order to obviate that problem we hired extra security.
“I have no idea [how much extra we paid] but what difference does it make? It was necessary, and if it’s necessary a promoter has an obligation to do it.
“The third Wilder-Fury fight [in October 2021] we had a lot of extra security, because they were such big guys that you needed a lot of people for security. These guys [Taylor and Lopez] were at least a little smaller.
“Usually fighters, any animosity they have, they hold it in and they exhibit it when they do the fight. It’s a professional sport. So many act professionally. Some get on each other’s nerves and keep digging at each other, so you have to have security. Even sometimes when you don’t believe you have to have extra security, it turns out one guy shoves the other like Devin [Haney] with [Vasyl] Lomachenko.”
The typically calm Devin Haney unexpectedly shoved Vasyl Lomachenko when they weighed in for last month’s undisputed lightweight title fight. The following week he said on social media that he had been fined $400,000 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, but Arum – who is attempting to re-sign him for Top Rank – insists that that is not necessarily the final sum.
“When there’s a fine levied by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the rules say that the promoter has to deposit 10 per cent of the purse with the commission, and then the commission determines what the fine should be,” the promoter said.
“My feeling is that it’ll be pretty substantial. But a lot less than $400,000.”