Hearn confident boxing returns by July
By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn says he feels confident that boxing will return by July, but he also is looking at contingency plans if that doesn’t materialize. Hearn is looking at the possible option of staging fights behind closed doors to give boxing fans entertainment while they’re isolated at home due to the coronavirus.
The Matchroom Boxing promoter Hearn points out that the UFC will be staging superstar Khabib Nurmagomedov’s next fight in April behind closed door doors, and Wrestlemania will also be staging a match behind closed doors. With those two acting as trailblazers in staging events without crowds, there’s a chance that boxing will soon follow.
Hearn understands that there’s a real need for fans to be able to watch live boxing while they’re shut-in, waiting for the government to give them the all-clear to come out.
Hearn talks behind closed doors events
“I’m hoping to see boxing back in June, and I believe and I’m confident we’ll see it back in July,” said Hearn to IFL TV. “You’re not going to see any boxing in May in the UK for anybody. We’re just waiting on one [new date] for Usyk-Chisora. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens in terms of dates.
“We’re talking about doing events behind closed doors. That’s something we’re definitely looking at. UFC is going ahead with Khabib. April 18, but I’m pretty sure that they announced that they were going ahead with it. Wrestlemania. Both events are behind closed doors. Listen, the pay-per-view numbers would be absolutely monstrous. People are saying the Khabib fight is on.
“No,” said Hearn when asked if he would consider staging the two May shows [Whyte vs. Povetkin and Usyk vs. Chisora] behind closed doors. “That [Joshua vs. Pulev] is likely to move back to the end of July as well,” said Hearn.
In looking at the past pandemics that the world has experienced, they lasted a long period of time of 16 to 35 months. They weren’t over in 3 months, as Hearn is hoping.
It’s highly speculative on Hearn’s part to be talking about boxing returning by July, in view of the fact that the rapid rise of coronavirus cases. If the numbers were showing signs of leveling off or decreasing, then that would be a reason to be optimistic. The trajectory for the UK case continues to go up. It’s over 20,000 cases now.
Behind closed doors events could happen soon
“We were very close to doing studio shows and were very close to having it go,” said Hearn. “The biggest problems are the medical supplies, and once the government said they weren’t going to support the events with the medical services, then everything changes.
“That’s something that could come back sooner for the big major events. The government wants people to stay at home, and the one thing that would help with that is live sport. Some live sport would really go down right now. Netflix is being smashed to pieces.
“Our argument is we can create that content behind closed doors in a safe environment. Make sure these guys are getting paid, and we can give you live sport at a time when you’re indoors.
Now is not the time obviously, but there will be a time where we can get these guys out, providing entertainment for you. That time will come in five or six weeks or three or four months. You may see that before the return of a big stadium shows,” said Hearn.
The British Boxing Board of Control will need to give Hearn the permission stage fights behind closed doors, and the government will need to agree to it. There will need to be a lot of pressure exerted to make this happen. If boxing is shut down for a long period of time of 1 to 3 years, it’ll force the events to be staged behind closed doors.
Andrade vs. Williams purse bid to be delayed
“There’s a purse bid on Wednesday for Demetrius Andrade and Liam Williams,” said Hearn. “So that’s going to be delayed. Right now, it’s going to be like these mandatory’s are going to be frozen until everyone knows what’s happening because the governing aren’t in the offices.
“You can’t fly to a purse bid, and you can’t give a date when you win a purse bid. You don’t what dates are going to be available and when you’ll be allowed to stage show,” said Hearn.
There’s really not a lot of interesting from boxing fans in seeing WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade defend against Liam Williams. Andrade has had too many safe fights, and fans want to see him fight Canelo Alvarez, Jermall Charlo, and Gennadiy Golovkin. For Andrade to be defending against Williams, that fight is seen as a lateral move from his last defense against Luke Keeler.
Just when the Demetrius Andrade vs. Liam Williams fight will take place is impossible to know. The fight is in the same boat as Hearn’s other scheduled fights that have now been postponed for July. There’s no way of knowing when the events will take place, and the chances are high that the fights will continued to be postponed.
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