By: Hans Themistode
Things are getting grim at this point.
We’ve just reached over one month without sports, and fans all around the world are stuck inside of their homes constantly refreshing their web browsers in the hopes of a positive update. But none has arrived as of yet. At least in terms of sports returning.
Basketball doesn’t seem to be on it’s way back anytime soon, the tennis schedule has already canceled tournaments for the next several months, and even the NFL season seems to be in doubt at this point.
But even with the chaos created by COVID-19, the WWE has continued their operations in the safety of their performance center in Florida. Whether you consider professional wrestling an actual sport or not, it could actually become the bridge that the boxing world needs in order to return to some sort of normalcy.
In a recent memo from the Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis, sports workers and media production employees were deemed as important as other workers such as Healthcare personnel and police officers. Now while that seems like a bit of an exaggeration, over the past few weeks everyone has noticed how much the world has changed with sports out of the picture.
“Employees at a professional sports and media production with a national audience — including any athletes, entertainers, production team, executive team, media team and any others necessary to facilitate including services supporting such production. Only if the location is closed to the general public.”
Sports considered “essential” would seem a bit far fetched, considering Florida is the only state in the world who believes so. But their reasoning is simple.
“They are critical to Florida’s economy,” said a worker from the Florida office.
With Florida and most notably the WWE, seemingly a lifeline for boxing, promoter Bob Arum wants to explore that option.
“It’s very, very interesting, and we’re going to be in touch with them. There’s a possibility to use their facility to maybe do events without a crowd.”
While fights such as Naoya Inoue vs John Riel Casimero and Shakur Stevenson vs Miguel Marriaga would be possible due to the lack of a high price tag, the fights that fans truly want to see such as Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury 3, would be almost impossible without any fans.
“Fury and Wilder, the gate was close to $17 million, and that’s from the public buying tickets to the fight. How do you replace that? Well, if you don’t replace it — then somebody has to eat that.”
Arum has never been the type to whine about money, would even Oprah have an issue with eating $17 million? Most likely.
While the chances of Arum pulling off contests in Florida could very well be infinitesimal, he does believe that boxing will not only return with fans in the arena, but much sooner than health experts have predicted.
“I’m very optimistic that we’ll be doing events for audiences in the last three months of the year. Do I know for sure? No. But that’s in my mind how I’m calculating it.”