By: Hans Themistode
Empty seats and mundane atmospheres have become the new norm in boxing venues.
Much like every other sport, boxing has been forced to place tarps over their now empty seats due to COVID-19.
But the new scene in boxing, hasn’t stopped high profile fighters from entering the ring. Just this past weekend both Jermell and Jermall Charlo headlined their own crowd less main event in Uncasville Connecticut. Roughly one month from now, more heavy hitters in Gervonta Davis, Leo Santa Cruz, Teofimo Lopez and Vasiliy Lomachenko are all set to perform with nothing more then the sound of their cornermen screaming instructions in the background.
More of boxings finest are still awaiting their dates as well. Not amongst them however, is current WBA welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao.
Unlike other fighters who acquiesced to a pay cut due to the pandemic, Pacquiao has way too much cache to even consider performing for a reduction in purse or without screaming fans.
“Logic would tell you that with the kind of money the senator is going to command for any fight he takes, there would have to be some fans in the stands,” said head of Pacquiao Promotions, Sean Gibbons to Yahoo Sports. “It’s the same with [Deontay] Wilder and [Tyson] Fury and Anthony Joshua. You need crowds to generate the kind of money it takes to put on an event like that.”
The names rattled off by Gibbons, ironically enough, are all believed to have no issue performing in front of no fans.
Joshua is set to defend his heavyweight titles sometime in July against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev without a single soul in attendance. Fury and Wilder, on the other hand, are targeting a date in December with reportedly little to no fans at all.
Still, with those aforementioned fighters still carving out their legacies, the cement on Pacquaio’s has long dried.
“The Senator is long past the point of having to prove anything. He’s in his 26th year and with what he’s done, it’s enough to get him in the Hall of Fame 10 times over. He wants to give the fans what they want.”
If by some chance fans are able to attend Pacquiao’s next foray into the ring, there are countless names that he could find himself matched up against. But while most would love to see how he stacks up against WBO titlist Terence Crawford or unified champion Errol Spence Jr., Gibbons views a victory over any of the top names in the welterweight division as icing on an already perfect cake.
“Let’s be honest, here: At this stage, there is nothing he could do to top what he’s already done. What does it mean to him now to beat the best welterweights out there? Been there, done that. At this point, Manny is on a sort of a victory lap, and he’ll let the fans speak and then make a decision.”