This past Saturday, the UFC held their event titled UFC 249 in Florida and prior to the event taking place, one of the fighters tested positive for COVID-19.
Even with that incident occurring, the show went on and it appears that the PPV did well in regards to how many homes purchased the live event. Many were watching the event as they are fans of the UFC, however some were watching closely to see how the event was being executed so that they may be able to put an event on themselves in the near future.
The next day, boxing media and fans were voicing their opinions and looking to see when boxing will begin their attempts at putting on a show with no audience in attendance. Top Rank’s own Bob Arum recently expressed to NYF Editor in Chief Michael Woods that he is looking at the “beginning of June” while Oscar De La Hoya tweeted out on May 2nd that “…it’s time for @goldenboyboxing to take over our countries birthday 4th of July #letsgo” which leads us to believe that he is looking at the holiday weekend as a potential starting position.
It looks as though the general consensus is that June/July will be the time frame where we see live action.
As exciting as that sounds, I want to again remind everyone to maybe lower their level of expectations in the type of fights we are going to get for the rest of the year. Eddie Hearn recently told Steve Kim of ESPN.com, “I think this is the opportunity to almost re-set the market” and I do not disagree with that statement.
This is the perfect opportunity to showcase the young talent that these promotional companies have and allow the general public to determine who are the next stars of the sport based on their performances. You can make competitive fights amongst those that have anywhere between five and fifteen bouts, people who also have a back story that can be told. There are plenty of fighters that fall under that category who deserve that shot. Don’t believe me? Take a moment and browse through the “NYF Prospect Watch” articles and you can read all about those fighters. (Like George Rincon.)
With an audience ready to give 100 percent of their attention to boxing, now is the time to get those young fighters out there and make them a household name. With boxing almost guaranteed to be shown on multiple nights through the week, it’s time for those young athletes to receive some of that same energy those mid to high level fighters receive.
The million dollar question right now is whether or not we get the Loma versus Lopez fight this year. All signs are pointing that we do not get that fight in 2020 and it has the risk of not even happening if the delay will be too long. Let’s hope that it does take place and if so, I would imagine somewhere around the SuperBowl time frame. In the meantime, learn a bit more about the young gun Lopez.
In regards to the Davis versus Santa Cruz fight, I think that one does take place but will go closer to the end of the year with hopes of a small crowd at a minimum attending if possible as it is a PPV fight on Showtime.
As mentioned in my previous edition, we will get mid-level champions defending their titles against solid opposition but it won’t be the names we were anticipating. The bigger names like Canelo and Pacquiao may not even see a fight in 2020 and if they do, it will be somewhere in the Middle East where the crowd was already going to be small and made for only the wealthy to attend.
I think for a while, boxing was looking for an opportunity to do what they would call a “re-set” but couldn’t find the perfect time to do so. With all of the negative that comes along with talking about the Pandemic COVID-19, the positive in all of this has been that people were able to utilize those critical thinking skills to adapt and make something out of nothing. With that being said, I can’t wait until boxing comes back and I see those young fighters that I have been following since the club show days get their opportunity to shine with an audience that is going to be paying close attention.
In a few weeks, although the presentation will sound slightly different with no audience, the sport we love will be back for all to enjoy.