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NOTE: This Is NOT Business As Usual….Coronavirus Is A Boxing Game Changer

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The boxing business is a “the show must go on” business, right?

But I’m here to tell you, that right now, it’s different. We the world over are not in a “business as usual” frame of mind.

Or, should I say, we shouldn’t be…

I want to communicate that, not just to “inform” you, but to clarify that for me.

I found myself on Thursday morning asking someone in the know when that next big fight would be announced. And that person told me, clued me in, kinda woke me up, when he said, “I don’t know.”

Why? Because the US is right now where China was in January, with more/most of the citizens understanding the depth of the seriousness of the viral spread. So, what you heard about this fight card or that one last week, things have changed. If something was maybe gong to be announced this week, a big fight card, that announcement won’t come today. Or tomorrow. Or early next week, I’m guessing. Best to comprehend that we are in a state of flux.

Smart people don’t know what’s what, because they can’t. They can theorize, they can use models, they can guess, some can even guess with a good degree of accuracy. But it looks and feels like to me that the decision by the federal government, those tasked with handling matters like dealing with global pandemics, to not accept test kits provided by the World Health Organization, will in retrospect be seen as a fatal blunder. (Read this Fox News story which touches on the disappointing response by the Trump administration to the coronavirus “black swan” event.)

By the end of February, the W.H.O., an agency of the United Nations, had sent functional kits to some 60 countries; but Trump and company, because of their loathing of the UN, turned down the offer of the kits. That could well result in a more severe spread of coronavirus than America might have experienced if the CDC and other pertinent agencies had been out in front of the issue. In fact, you can mark this down..I will go out on a limb and say that decision DEFINITELY made conditions in America more ripe for contagion creep, and will be a primary focus of the investigations and hearings down the line. And lest any of you now are bemoaning this “digression” into “political matters,” I have to tell or remind you, politics matters, it affects us all, and it affects the things we hold dear, whether it be our grandma in the nursing home in New Rochelle, or the sport of boxing, which so entertains us. If you choose to 24-7 separate “politics” from your safety zone of sports entertainment, then your choice might leave you at a disadvantage during a time like this.

Who you vote for, and what they hold dear, and how seriously they take their job, that matters. Sometimes more than other times…

Rep. Matt Gaetz mocked coronavirus "hysteria," then saw an irony boomerang smash his face when he self quarantined, after comprehending that he'd been potentially exposed to a carrier.

Rep. Matt Gaetz mocked coronavirus “hysteria,” then saw an irony boomerang smash his face when he self quarantined, after comprehending that he’d been potentially exposed to a carrier.

Pay attention to how different media sources handle stories and developments like the Florida rep playing into the “fake news” narrative, which sometimes paints progressives as worry-warts. (Below is excerpt from a story running on the Fox website, by Vandana Rambaran, which doesn’t put forth the possibility that Gaetz, on and before March 4, was dismissive of the breadth of the threat of coronavirus.)

So; I think it’s fair to say that we don’t know how bad this is going to get in America, because many, many folks wanting/needing to be tested to see if they have been infected, haven’t been able to get tested.

Until the nation gets to a place of clarity on that issue, on knowing more explicitly how many people are carrying the virus, where there are clusters of cases, I will try to back off, from how I usually operate. And I gently suggest you all do too.

Don’t expect a big May card in whatever city or nation to get announced now. Wouldn’t actually be prudent; why set up arrangements for a venue and ticketing now, when you know that tomorrow, or next week, or maybe in four weeks, circumstances will have changed radically?┬áMake sense?

This sort of thing has happened before, pandemics are not a new thing. But a pandemic in the age of digital media, that is a game changer, for bad and for good. And I can do my part to be helpful, and not make things worse, by communicating this: We will get through it. And while we do, let’s all do our best to focus our attention the right way, as much as possible. That means by being kind and caring as much as possible, and by thinking differently than how we are used to. This is not “business as usual” in America. In fact, it isn’t so much about “business” at all, despite what some sorts of beings will tell you. It is about living, or dying, about you worrying if your grandma in the nursing home will contract the virus…It is about my 9 and almost 13 year olds having a devil of a time trying to get a hold on their anxiety issues, and sometimes just trying hard to breathe, and not crumble into a mass of worry. It is about worrying that the tickle in your throat isn’t just a lil bug, a sore throat that’ll go away in two days…

Those big fights will happen, but we should all accept that timelines for such matters have shifted, and we should be patient.

Be patient, be kind, and also understand, elections matter, and when you choose the guy because you like his brand of macho and how he talks like you think…well, macho can be helpful in a prize fight, but not as much as you head up the effort to tamp down on a deadly pandemic. Right now, issues larger than prize fights deserve a larger portion of our attention, and respect.

About Michael Woods

Michael Woods

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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