By: Hans Themistode
Fans that were in search of a reprieve from the Coronavirus pandemic, won’t be receiving one anytime soon.
Over the past few days, boxing events all around the world have been postponed. From big name fighters such as Shakur Stevenson and Naoya Inoue, to lesser known names and shows such as Michael Conlan and his annual headlining card which was due to take place in Madison Square Garden, in New York City on St. Patrick’s Day.
Every single one of those aforementioned shows have fallen victim to this pandemic that has affected not just boxing, but every sport around the world.
Still, even with the immediate future of boxing appearing extremely bleak, fans were thrown a lifeline of sorts.
Over in Hinckley, Minnesota at the Grand Casino, a small card headlined by undefeated prospect Brandun Lee took place in front of a crowd of absolutely no one on March 13th. It wasn’t exactly the most exciting card as Lee cruised to an easy third round stoppage victory. But for fans who have been deprived of sports for what feels like forever, they gladly accepted it.
If obscure names such as Brandon Lee and Camilo Prieto could be given the chance to fight and entertain those watching at home, then it gave fans everywhere hope that the big names associated with the sport could continue to enter the ring.
That last glimmer of hope however, has officially been taken away.
Promoters from every part of the world have officially waived the white flag in regards to future shows that were set to take place. Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) has pulled the plug on their March and April events. Including a Phoenix, Arizona card headlined by WBC Super Middleweight champion David Benavidez.
“Due to the growing concerns over COVID-19, Premier Boxing Champions scheduled events for March and April have been cancelled and will be rescheduled for a later date,” said PBC through an email statement.
“At this time there’s no information regarding future shows. The health and safety of the boxers, fans and those working the events are of utmost importance to us,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions and lead promoter for the cancelled shows. “We are all disappointed and as we get more information we will address future events.”
PBC, was soon followed by other heavy hitting boxing promoters such as Bob Arum and Top Rank.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Top Rank has postponed all events scheduled for March and April. We are monitoring the situation closely. We will reschedule the shows as soon as it’s safe and reasonable to do so.”
“The health and safety of our fighters, staff and ESPN’s incredible production team is the most important thing as we plan our next steps,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “We look forward to the day when we can bring our loyal fans world-class boxing once again. But exercising caution is the most prudent thing to do at this moment.”
Even stars who seem to be bigger than life such as four division champion Canelo Alvarez have been forced to take a backseat. His upcoming May 2nd, contest against Billy Joe Saunders will now be pushed back to at least June, if not later.
Those who were looking to beat the rush and purchased their tickets early on Ticketmaster, will be issued a full refund for every event.
All ticket orders will be refunded from your original point of purchase. If you have purchased online through Ticketmaster, all orders will be refunded automatically. Orders purchased with a credit card will be refunded to the credit card used for purchase. For third party purchases, please reach out to your original point of purchase for information regarding your credit. Please allow up to 30 days for this refund to reflect with your financial institution. If you have any questions, please contact Ticketmaster’s Customer Service line at 1-800-653-8000.
As is always the case in all parts of life, there is always a rebel. One person or entity that laughs in the face of those who are following the rules. In this case, UFC President Dana White plays the role of that rebellious figure. This past weekend on March 14th, White went through with his UFC event which took place in Brazil.
It may not have been in the best interest of his fighters, but fans who were stuck inside of the house searching for something other than Spongebob to watch, were ecstatic to actually see sports on their television screens. No fans were in attendance, but the fights took place without a problem.
Hopefully fans cherished that moment, as that could be the last time they see any new sports related content for quite some time.
“We can’t do it,” said White. “We have no choice now but to postpone these fights.”
White’s new comments were a far cry from the statement he made just a few days prior. The change of heart from White came from President Trump and his recommendation to postpone his events.
“We’re not stopping,” said White when asked if he would consider postponing fights last week.
Now, just like every other sport, the UFC is at a complete standstill.
The sport of boxing and UFC are different in many ways. But they believe in the same concept. Beat your opponent up until they quit.
At this point in time, it seems as though both the UFC and boxing have been given no choice but to do just that. At least temporarily.
Boxing, UFC, basketball and every other sport across the world has waived the white flag. The Coronavirus has won.