Thursday, June 4, 2020
The Return Of Boxing
The main story that has dominated much of the world’s news and information in 2020 has been the Coronavirus epidemic also known as Covod-19. A global crisis that has thus far resulted in the deaths of thousands around the world including over 100,000 confirmed deaths here in the United States. While the epidemic continues, some throughout various facets of everyday life have begun the process of trying to resume activities albeit under strict guidelines. In regard to the sports world, we have seen this process begin first with the UFC staging closed door events in the state of Florida following Governor Ron DeSantis declaring sports to be essential services in the state. This allowed the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to resume its schedule in a similar way to what World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has done in being one of the few sports and entertainment forms to remain active throughout the Covid-19 crisis by taping its weekly television and monthly pay-per-view events behind closed doors from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, FL.
The UFC staging three closed door events from the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL during the month of May, has provided a blueprint of sorts that the sport of Boxing will now attempt to follow as three scheduled Boxing cards will take place beginning on Saturday, June 6th in Mexico to be followed by two cards to be held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV on June 9th and June 11th. In the nearly three months since the Covid-19 crisis began to severely impact the United States and subsequently resulted in many aspects of everyday life being brought to a halt, like many others, this observer has sat in his home wondering if, how, and when Boxing might be able to resume.
Readers have seen content here at The Boxing Truth®️ become condensed in recent months to information concerning cancellations and postponements related to the Covid-19 crisis as well as additional content sent in to us from promoters, networks, as well as others involved in the sport. The primary reason for that decision by yours truly was both a clear uncertainty as to when Boxing would be able to resume as well as an awareness that Boxing content as well as all of sports would be few and far between while the world focused on an unprecedented situation regarding this virus. For those who have followed yours truly on social media platforms however, in addition to sharing my concerns regarding the virus and my view that I realistically could not see things resuming akin to normal at least for the remainder of 2020, I have also said that the content that readers have come to expect from The Boxing Truth®️ would resume at a more appropriate time.
Although the threat of Covid-19 still very much exists and numbers in terms of both diagnosed cases and unfortunately deaths have not yet declined, with the sport at least attempting to resume, the appropriate time appears to have arrived. The primary question that most are probably asking is what are we likely to see with Boxing taking place behind closed doors with no spectators?
In order to get a sense of that, I tuned into some of the UFC’s recent closed door events. Even though it admittedly did take some getting used to, the atmosphere of these events was similar in my mind to what one would see if they went to a Boxing or MMA gym and watched sparring sessions. The obvious difference being instead of sparring, the fighters participated in actual competition. It does however, have to be an adjustment for fighters who are used to competing in front of crowds to competing under circumstances that they would usually find in a gym environment where the only observers are their respective camps with the addition of necessary athletic commission personnel.
While this observer could dive into various aspects of what I could see as potential challenges for the sport in attempting to resume under circumstances of an ongoing epidemic, until we know how things will look going forward where those challenges or lack thereof become more clear, this column will focus on what has been announced as taking place in the coming days. The first event, which will take place on June 6th in Patzcuaro, Mexico, will feature a five bout card and be streamed worldwide on digital combat sports network FightNightLive’s Facebook page in the network’s first foray into digital pay-per-view. In the main event of the $4.99 pay-per-view card, former IBF Jr. Middleweight world champion Carlios Molina, who is also one of the event’s promoters will face veteran Michi Munoz in a scheduled ten round Jr, Middleweight bout.
On June 9th, the action will move to Las Vegas for the first of two scheduled events at the MGM Grand. The first of the two events, which will be televised in the United States by ESPN and it’s digital subscription streaming network ESPN+, will be headlined by undefeated WBO Featherweight world champion Shakur Stevenson, who will be moving up in weight to the Jr. Lightweight division to face Felix Caraballo in a bout scheduled for ten rounds. This will be followed by the second scheduled event on June 11th where former WBO Jr. Featherweight world champion Jessie Magdaleno will headline the card in a ten round Jr. Lightweight bout against veteran contender Yenifel Vincente
Although readers are used to seeing yours truly break down fights one by one in a preview such as this column, it is important to keep in mind that these events are scheduled to be held under circumstances that are far from the norm for Boxing when it is in its normal active state. While it is unclear as of now as to how long the Covid-19 crisis will last, some may believe an environment of closed door sporting events could well be a new normal at least for the foreseeable future. As these are unchartered waters to a big extent, the logical question to ask is what kind of preparation have the fighters who are scheduled to compete been able to do when there has been such uncertainty and questions as to when they will be able to compete. Of course, yours truly is viewing things from a far and is unaware of what preparations the fighters themselves have been able to do under the circumstances. One could assume that at minimum, there may have been difficulties in being able to spar due to various lockdowns that have been in effect globally that has resulted in gyms being closed as well as the various travel restrictions that have been put in place around the world that obviously would create obstacles for fighters who travel both internationally as well as domestically by plane both for training as well as competition.
Based on these factors, there is a bit of the unknown as to what these fights could look like once the fighters are able to enter the ring to compete. This all will obviously also depend on whatever testing protocols are put in place, whether there is risk of exposure for the fighters, their camps, and others involved as well as what might happen if there is confirmed positive tests for Covid-19, which would obviously impact not only these three scheduled cards, but also those that might be in the works to follow in the coming weeks and months ahead.
What I can assure the reader as things remain uncertain is, if there are Boxing events taking place in the days, weeks, and months ahead, this observer and The Boxing Truth®️ will be here to cover them as they occur. One can only hope not only will all those who will be participating in these events remain healthy and safe, but once we as a sport can get a better idea of how Boxing can operate under circumstances like the Covid-19 crisis, we can then focus on other challenges the sport has to contend with including, but not limited to the severity of the economic impact due to this crisis.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
FightNightLive: King Carlos Promotions: Molina vs. Munoz takes place Saturday, June 6th in Patzcuaro, Mexico. The card can be seen globally on FightNightLive’s Facebook page on a pay-per-view basis for $4.99 beginning at 8PM ET/5PM PT U.S. Time.. To order and watch the event on Facebook please visit: https://facebook.com/events/s/fightnight-live-ppv-king-carlo/315090626151353/?ti=icl
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN and ESPN+: Stevenson vs. Caraballo takes place on Tuesday, June 9th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV. The card can be seen in the United States on ESPN on cable/satellite providers as well as through the ESPN app featuring ESPN+ on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices beginning at 7PM ET/4PM PT.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN and ESPN+: Magdaleno vs. Vincente takes place on Thursday, June 11th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV. The card can be seen in the United States on ESPN on cable/satellite providers as well as through the ESPN app featuring ESPN+ on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices beginning at 7PM ET/4PM PT.
For more information about Top Rank Boxing on ESPN, ESPN, and to subscribe to ESPN+ please visit:
www.toprank.com www.ESPN.com plus.espn.com.
*All three cards are closed to the public
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