By Robert Brizel, Brick City Boxing Correspondent
The UFC will restart its MMA competitions on May 9, 2020. Should boxing as well soon?
Prioritizing money over human lives by hosting large scale sporting events with spectators in attendance too soon could lead to loss of human life. If economics prevails, boxing and other sports could pay an unprecedented price. Two boxing cards took place this past weekend under restricted public access protocols and social isolation disinfecting and social distancing procedures. However, both professional boxing cards were still conducted under circumstances of great risk to the spectators, boxers, referees, corner personnel, ring officials and medical personnel in attendance. The cards took place at Gimnasio Alexis Arguello in Managua, Nicaragua, on Saturday, April 25, 2020, on ESPN Deportes. and at the Legend Boxing Gym in Gimpo, South Korea, Sunday, April 26, 2020. As the photo with this editorial taken at the boxing card in Nicaragua indicates, the Nicaraguan boxing card maintained precautions and social distancing protocols. The photo still highlights the risks to spectators and others in existence when staging such a professional boxing event during the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus pandemic. It is not practical to do this large scale.
Promoter Bob Arum recently announced a plan to restart televised boxing without spectators in: Las Vegas, Nevada; California; or Texas. The edge is to Las Vegas, where a temporary ring could be constructed in a casino ballroom. Top Rank Gym in Las Vegas is being disinfected. The plan is to stage four minor boxing cards of four bouts each on ESPN with no spectators. Fighters, corner personnel, officials, reporters and photographers would be placed in isolation for a time, and would train with provided sparring partners at Top Rank Gym. Arum is looking at ways to restart boxing cautiously. Whether or not major boxing cards can be restarted at the facemask level remains to be seen. Only the boxers in the ring would be without a mask. Everyone else would remain with face masks on, at a considerable distance from the ring. Even the referee would be wearing a mask.
Experts state Coronavirus projection models show reopening the United States too early could bring deadlier outcomes. Seven coronavirus models show deaths from the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus continue to rise in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), how sharply the death toll rises depends on how much contact reduction Americans practice. The models estimate the theoretical numbers of cases and deaths on the state and national levels. An additional model makes metro-area projections. According to the CDC, “State-level forecasts vary widely, reflecting differences in early epidemic phases, timing of interventions, and model-specific assumptions.” The variable in question is the ongoing statistic of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus infection and fatality. Sporting events with spectators remain unsafe at present. Economic necessity is not sufficient reason for boxing to resume at the cost of human lives.