By: Hans Themistode
Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns gave boxing fans three rounds of unforgettable violent fun. Other all-time great fighters such as Roberto Duran and Ray Leonard gave us consecutive contests that resulted in back and forth action. While both matchups left fans on the edge of their seats, they came well over 35 years ago. And although they both rank as some of most memorable matches ever, they’ve been out of the vault for far too long.
For months on end, boxing fans have been forced to watch classic matchups due to COVID-19. But now, it appears that those aforementioned contests can be put back in the vault.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has approved for live boxing to return next month with two shows already on tap for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“Boxing is back,” said media relations director of Top Rank, Evan Korn on his Twitter account. “Nevada Commission approves Top Rank dates for June 9 & 11th Las Vegas.”
From the moment COVID-19 grew from a blimp on the radar to a full blown worldwide pandemic, the boxing schedule had the sort of matchups that boxing fans were begging for. From WBO Super Featherweight champion Jamel Herring taking on former titlist Carl Frampton, to Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury 3, fans had plenty to look forward too. But much like Wilders quick first round knockout of Dominic Breazeale in early 2019, COVID-19 changed everything in the blink of an eye.
Now however, nearly three months from the last live boxing match in the United States, normalcy seems to be on its way.
“I’ve been working with the executives from Top Rank,” Bob Bennett, the NSAC’s executive director, said during a meeting. “I’ve reviewed their operations plan. They’re still in the process of completing it. It’s very comprehensive. We’re moving in the right direction. I’m pleased to see that we are all working in concert with a closed-system event. I expect it to be very successful.”
First up on the June 9th card will be WBO Featherweight titlist Shakur Stevenson as he’ll be looking to turn back Felix Caraballo in a ten round non title Super Featherweight contest. Two days later on June 11th, former Super Bantamweight champion Jessie Magdaleno and Yenifel Vicente will be going head to head in a catchweight bout contested at 128 pounds.
It isn’t exactly the high profile fights that fans were looking forward to. However, boxing has to start somewhere.