AS more and more plans are hatched, more and more dates for boxing cards later in the year are gobbled up. BoxingScene.com report that Vasyl Lomachenko’s mouth-watering lightweight clash with Teofimo Lopez is being targeted for September 12. Canelo Alvarez will apparently fight someone (please, please don’t let the rumours of Anthony Dirrell or Willie Monroe Jnr be true) on September 19. Eddie Hearn hinted that Oleksandr Usyk’s heavyweight fight with Dereck Chisora could take place in October.
That’s not to mention all of the shows previously scrapped because of Covid-19 that will likely be rescheduled, such as Jose Ramirez’ title defence against Viktor Postol, or the clash between bantamweights Naoya Inoue and John Riel Casimero.
Add to that star names like Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and Gennady Golovkin, who will all want to box this year no doubt, then we could be looking at a potential logjam at the back end of what has already been a dreadful calendar year.
There will be broadcast clashes – we couldn’t even avoid those without a worldwide pandemic – but there will also be boxing shows on a weekly basis, it seems. Significant shows, at that. Such a schedule comes with obvious benefits; a deluge of live boxing – however it could come at a higher cost for fans. Pay-per-view shows, on a variety of platforms, could come thick and fast. This is speculation, but could subscription prices rise as a result of financial losses during lockdown combined with the sudden sharp increase in live content available later in the year?
For now, I’m thankful for the roadmap back to regular boxing we’ve so far gotten. That being said, this past week’s Top Rank show in America proved how main events are now even more precarious than they were before. Jose Pedraza’s fight with Mikkel LesPierre was scrapped after LesPierre’s manager – who had obviously had contact with his fighter – tested positive for coronavirus. It was absolutely the right call, but it highlights yet another very real curveball that can destroy a fight at the very last minute.
For all the talk of Matchroom Fight Camp, it’ll be Frank Warren leading the return of British boxing after he announced a slew of shows starting in July. Only one has a date at the time of writing (July 10), and all will take place behind closed doors at the BT Sport studio in London. The cards will be British title level, which provides an exciting opportunity for the fighters involved – they’ll have a lot of eyes on them.
It also looks like a Matchroom Fight Camp announcement is imminent, which is exciting.
Dillian Whyte’s mandatory situation with the WBC is becoming even more complicated. After Fury’s promoter Arum told Sky Sports that he would be speaking with the organisation about delaying or even “eliminating” mandatory challenges, Whyte began legal action against the WBC in a bid to force through the February 2021 deadline for his title shot.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman responded with confusion, telling Pro Boxing Fans that he’s unsure what Whyte’s stance is, claiming that any delays to mandatory title shots would be a result of the coronavirus. It’s an ugly situation made even worse by the growing rumours that Fury could be made ‘Franchise’ champion, leaving Whyte to either fight for a vacant belt or just be elevated to full champion in an email. That’s the last thing we need.
After Ryan Garcia’s recent spat with his promoter Golden Boy over purses, we’ve now had a dominant world champion walk away from a genuine superfight through concerns of being underpaid.
Amanda Serrano’s manager, Jordan Maldonado, released a statement claiming that his charge will no longer be fighting Katie Taylor since “[Matchroom, Taylor’s promoters] are offering us the fight for August but removing almost 50% of Amanda’s purse. However, they are taking less from Taylor.”
The fight had been agreed for earlier in the year but was scuppered by coronavirus. Obviously, purses will be lowered because of the impacts of the pandemic, but if Maldonado’s claims are true then it highlights worrying discrepancies. If purses for a previously agreed fight are to be lowered, it should be done in equal proportion.
We also know that Canelo is shopping around for cheaper opponents, but will he be taking a significant paycut? I doubt it.
Whatever the case, it would be a shame to lose Taylor-Serrano, as it would do wonders for the profile of women’s boxing.
A true trail-blazer for women’s boxing – Christy Martin – laid bare her tumultuous life story to ESPN’s Allison Glock. It is a long and harrowing read, and one that ultimately pays tribute to Martin’s superhuman levels of bravery and perseverance.
I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t know much about Martin’s life outside of the ring prior to reading this, and was shocked at how close she came to dying at the hands of her ex-husband, who stabbed Christy multiple times, slammed her head against the floor and then shot her in the chest. He took a shower, leaving her to die on the floor. Somehow, she escaped and survived.
In the piece, Martin looks back on her fighting career but also her struggles with addiction and her sexuality. It’s a terrific piece of writing, worthy of the story it tells.
Hearn, in one of his lengthy interviews with IFL TV, spoke to the rumours of a potential Fury-Joshua fight coming with a £49.95 pay-per-view price tag in the UK.
While making it clear he isn’t responsible for setting the price points of PPV shows – Sky decide that themselves – he did intimate that the cost could rise to £29.95. For reference, Joshua’s rematch with Andy Ruiz last year cost £24.95 on PPV, so it wouldn’t mark a huge increase in price, particularly when considering the magnitude of a Fury-Joshua fight. That being said, it would still mean even higher costs for fans and with many left financially worse off because of coronavirus, that’s a difficult situation.