Boxing Notebook During the Pandemic

Stop the madness about Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield returning for another fight that is all good for the nostalgia. It’s not good for boxing and for the safety of these former heavyweight champions of another era.

It comes down to fans and the networks that are hungry for some live boxing. In due time when this coronavirus pandemic is cleared, and safe for all, the anticipated boxing calendar of 2020 will resume.

Boxing fans want to see a Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder trilogy in the heavyweight division. They crave to see Anthony Joshua defend his part of the heavyweight title.  They want Teofimo Lopez and Vasiliy Lomachenko to fight for the lightweight title.  

A third fight with Tyson and Holyfield? As the late sports scribe Dick Young used to write, “What’s going on here?”

What is going on are any number of possibilities that have come to this point of a nostalgia fight that has no significance for the sport.  One scenario is that promoters and a network want to do this.

A possible and  minimal pay-per-view price, looking to make a quick dollar and taking advantage of doing something for the hunger of fight fans does not help the sport.

The other factors here are Tyson and Holyfield. They need the cash flow. It’s no secret that Tyson is serious and always in a financial hole. It’s also known, Holyfield, is no different when it comes to his finances with a promotion “Real Deal” that went bankrupt. 

The purses and numbers for both would not challenge or equal  Floyd  Mayweather- Manny Pacquiao. Not in the same category of McGregor-Mayweather, Spence and Porter or any of the PBC top welterweights.

So all of this talk is absurd.  In the meantime, Tyson continues to post his workout videos on social media.  Holyfield, if he can be understood, is quietly saying he is ready for a third challenge against Tyson.

What  we have here are two of the iconic and former heavyweight champions with names that are enshrined at the Boxing Hall of Fame. They had their time and are better at promoting the sport.

Though, Holyfield was not successful as a promoter and reportedly is in financial debt which could explain taking a quick payday with Tyson. 

But fighting again, as much as the nostalgia nuts want it, is detrimental to them and the sport. What boxing does not need are two legends over the age of 50 and taking blows to the head. Neither no longer have the skills or stamina that made them two of the top heavyweights in their heyday.

Dangerous would be the punches.  This, according to the medical experts,  is definitely headed to severe and dangerous implications when it comes to taking more blows to the head and areas of the brain.

Studies over the years have indicated a fighter in the ring over the age of 40 is more susceptible when it comes to sustaining injuries to the head and brain.

ESPN and Top Rank have reportedly been close to being cleared to stage three fight cards next month at the MGM Grand Casino In Las Vegas. No fans, testing and temperature checks, a limited number of personnel that would be at the venue.

Live boxing and the current fighters,  give or take that safety is cleared, is a matter of time. Though, it won’t be the same and not the norm before the pandemic hit. 

But Holyfield-Tyson again? Please, give us a break. I won’t watch or care and neither should you. Safety here is the issue. Boxing does not need a disaster and not during this pandemic.

THROWING THE PUNCHES:  A source with the New York State Athletic Commission informed that boxing events in New York State are still a long way from resuming at venues. That same source said that there are no events that have been filed by promoters with the commission.

The state athletic commission that has jurisdiction of pro boxing and UFC events in New York, also has a minimal office staff working remote from home and has furloughed their part time staff.

Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center, the main venues that host major boxing with promoters from Top Rank and the PBC, are also dark and possibly will stay that way during the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Regardless, a partial opening of business in New York would not include the Garden and Barclays Center. The other factor, unlikely, is opening doors and no fans would be in attendance. 

And a major source of revenue for the boxing promoter are gate receipts that pay for athletic commission fees and officials. Also, tickets sold mean revenue and assist with paying purses of the respective fighters that are scheduled to be in the ring.

Top Rank was hoping to promote a major lightweight title fight at the Garden in September that would highlight champions Teofimo Lopez and Vasiliy Lomachenko. Lopez, a popular champion from Hondorus, and residing in Brooklyn, has a huge fan base and a sell-out crowd would be expected. 

Boxing gyms, a major part of the training and the stepping stone, remain closed in the New York City and  tri-state area. That has fighters, trainers, and those who depend on the sport in a bad position.

Published here a month ago, it was stated many gyms would not survive the pandemic and outcomes of the economic crisis they face. In the past week many owners of the gyms said they likely won’t reopen with the overhead.

USA Boxing, a feeder system for the gyms does not have enough revenue to assist with financing which makes it more difficult to reopen. 

Memberships will drop as young and aspiring fighters can’t afford gym dues. The gyms that could reopen will look vastly different with social distancing, and requirements of wearing face masks along with constant sanitizing of equipment and boxing gear will be the new norm.

In the meantime, fans starving for boxing won’t expect any live boxing events in New York State anytime soon,

Comment: Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

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