It’s been several weeks since the country began to go on lockdown state by state and this has led to people all over, whether a musician or a member of the media, to come up with creative ways to keep content flowing to anyone who wants to absorb it.
The boxing world has participated in things like web conferences and fight parties with an application that Editor in Chief, Michael Woods, would refer to as “everyone’s new bestie,” which is Zoom. These interviews and fight parties came in hot and heavy while also seeing the birth of even more podcasts and websites.
If you're like me, the “newlywed” feeling of all of this is starting to wear off as we are approaching the month of May and are still with no clear direction on how we move forward with boxing or any sport.
Recently, it looks as though the country will be utilizing a phase line approach in regards to getting things in somewhat of a “normal” way but for boxing, this is going to be a lot more difficult than what it may seem on the surface.
There are reports out there that Bob Arum and Top Rank are looking at discussing options with the WWE and their performance center down in Florida since their governor has deemed the WWE as “essential.” This could possibly lead to some studio boxing shows happening within the next two months. That is going to be the first major hurdle for boxing but then the next question will be how to get these fighters the opportunity to properly prepare for these fights if the gyms are still closed within the next few weeks.
Looking at how things are going, I think we get our first boxing show in a studio setting by the middle of July. Before you get too excited, these first few fights will more than likely feature fighters that have a name but aren’t necessarily blowing box office numbers domestically, like a Shakur Stevenson (below), Miguel Berchelt, Devin Haney and others who are either champions or contenders.
This is not a slight at them as they are super-talented fighters but their value comes more so on television than the 2-5k attendance they bring in at one of their fights.
Once we move past the first month of fights and things are getting adjusted and figured out, we will maybe then see the Joshua vs Pulev face-off in late August. We may even see the return of Errol Spence Jr. against Danny Garcia within that very same month.
September will roll around and we will end up seeing Canelo fight but I don’t think it’ll be against GGG. That fight should get the proper promotion to make it a mega event and September is way too close to try to pull something off like that, which means we get that Billy Joe fight after all.
I have seen Jamel Herring recently speaking about getting in the ring with Carl Frampton and not caring about whether in an arena or a studio. I believe him when he says that but I don’t think Top Rank is going to want to do that fight in a studio knowing how big that fight is in Belfast. Even if they don’t do that fight in Belfast, maybe they have it as a co-feature with Terrence Crawford against Kell Brook being the main event. That would certainly make the event a PPV selection and provide the type of earnings each of those four fighters would be anticipating.
So, what about Teofimo versus Loma? I think we get that one in either September or November and it happens in Las Vegas or at the Staples Center in L.A. That fight is extremely important to not only the fighters but to Top Rank so they cannot afford to showcase that fight in a setting other than at an arena.
On the PBC and DAZN side of things, we probably see Ryan Garcia fighting against Jorge Linares or someone of that caliber towards the end of the year while we get the Gervonta Davis (below) versus Leo Santa Cruz fight in December.
Somewhere mixed in there we will get the Charlo brothers making voluntary defenses and we get the Fury versus Wilder III fight which will more than likely be the biggest fight after we slowly move past this pandemic.
I say all of that to say this, boxing will return but don’t expect those mega fights that have been talked about during this lockdown as that was mostly used to keep the content flowing and the media having something to write about.
What we all need to do is start looking at 2021 as I don’t anticipate any of those mouth-watering fights being put together with the few months we have until the remainder of the year. In 2021, I do believe we get the Spence versus Crawford, Garcia versus Tank and Joshua versus Fury or Wilder.
As much as I have enjoyed watching these old fights and appreciating the history of the sweet science, I’m ready to see some live action regardless of what type of setting they choose to show it in. Let’s hope that the focus can be on that within the next couple of weeks and not on fights that we all know won’t happen this year, but next.