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Promoter Bob Arum sees COVID comeback possibilities, like Teofimo v Kambosos at Madison Square Garden

Michael Woods

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Bob Arum received a COVID vaccination on Monday, Jan. 18 in Las Vegas.

The COVID numbers are still horrible in too many places around America, but you are also seeing pockets of light, some flattening of curves in some hot spots. Could the worst of COVID be behind us? If yes, does that mean we can get to planning more fully so some of these A-tier pugilists can book their next fight, and we get out of the quagmire of uncertainty which has kept the first half of the year in boxing 2021 from coalescing?

Not to get too optimistic, but we are starting to hear talk that leaves us feeling more upbeat about the future. Like this–promoter Bob Arum got his first vaccine shot Monday, and is happy at seeing the regime change at the White House spurring competent actions from the federal government’s handling of coronavirus.

New Yorkers are hoping the worst of COVID is behind us, and new case numbers will keep trending down.

COVID new case numbers are trending down in NY–if that continues, and vaccinations ramp up, maybe Madison Square Garden could host fights in June. Maybe.

“In June, we look for Teofimo Lopez against George Kambosos, and my hope is in New York,” Arum said. “The hope is for that to be the first fight back at Madison Square Garden. We had a phone meeting with the people at Madison Square Garden, they are confident. Now, what does ‘confident’ mean? It means things depend on how vaccinations go, how the virus is being handled.”

You Teofimo fans probably know it was looking like maybe the young gunner would trek to Australia, and meet Kambosos, perhaps at a stadium, maybe in Melbourne.

George Kambosos met Teofimo Lopez in this picture. They will meet in a ring, maybe in New York in June, if promoter Bob Arum can get it done.

George Kambosos holds up the right hand he’d like to tag Teofimo Lopez (right) with when they face off.

But Arum has been monitoring the drama surrounding the Australian Open tennis tourney, and he finds it hard to picture how fighters could go to Australia, and do a lengthy quarantine, where they can only train in their room. “It’s too dicey, talking about Australia,” promoter Bob Arum continued. “They do events there, with very strict rules, they are very strict about people from other countries coming in.” He found it ludicrous to ponder tennis aces trying to stay sharp in their hotel room, unable to go to a court to whack balls. How would a boxer handle that mandatory quarantine for those coming in from another nation, it doesn’t seem feasible to plan around that stringent regulation, in Arum’s mind. Which has him thinking MSG, in the early summer, for Lopez’ first dance following his handling of Vasiliy Lomachenko Oct. 17 in Las Vegas, in the MGM Bubble without fans in attendance.

There’s a new level of planning being trafficked in, in the Top Rank office. It makes sense, what with Arum rolling up his sleeve and getting the shot of the good stuff from Moderna Monday. “I went in and there was no real line,” he said. He had the shot in Las Vegas, he’s been back there, after holing up in Cali to cocoon and avoid the virus. “Within five minutes I’d filled out paperwork and gotten the shot. I didn’t even feel it! After the shot, I went to a desk, they gave me a card, for a second shot, on Feb. 16, at the same place. Then, they have you go to a room, after the shot, and sit for 15 minutes, make sure you have no reaction. The whole thing took me 20 minutes, I had no pain in my arm, I had no reaction.”

We talked some about the state of society, and how so many adults are swimming in a headspace of conspiracy theorizing. People don’t trust persons in power, and strangely, the mistrust has cemented in how many folks look askance at “big pharma,” and think that the COVID vaccine is too iffy for them to receive. These are the same ones, often-times, who look down on wearing a face-covering. Their intuition, these Dunning-Kruger-ites, trumps the studies done by scientists, researchers, epidemiologists and the like.

Promoter Bob Arum didn’t pull any portion of a punch when he weighed in. “Anybody, once these shots become plentiful, which they will, anyone that neglects to get the vaccine is a moron, an absolute moron. Because they are completely safe! To give you that peace of mind that feeling of safety from getting vaccinated..to avoid doing it, you have to be absolutely crazy!”

We can all agree to keep fingers crossed that the COVID situation in NY improves to where we can enjoy a fight in the Garden, with fans pushing the decibel envelope, by June. And can we all agree to ditch the conspiracy theorizing, and trust in doctors and scientists, and wear a face covering and get the vaccine shot when it’s made available to you?

Feel free to follow Michael Woods on Twitter if you like. 

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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