Top Rank Boxing has already been at the forefront of bringing the sport back in the United States holding cards in Las Vegas without fans for the last two weeks. And now, they may become the first promotion hold a prominent championship fight with at least some fans later in September.
That’s when Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is planning to have the rescheduled World Lightweight Unification title fight between WBA/WBO champ, Vasiliy Lomachenko and IBF belt holder, Teofimo Lopez,
— BoxingScene.com (@boxingscene) June 19, 2020
In an item published Friday morning, Boxingscene.com got comments from Arum spelling out that he would like to hold Lomachenko – Lopez for Saturday night September 19th at one of several Vegas venues and potentially, with some fans socially distant in attendance,
“Our tentative date for that fight is the 19th of September. That’s when we’re hoping to do it.”
“Right now, we are targeting Vegas for most of our events,” Arum continued. “One, because when we open them up to spectators, the town really needs events with spectators to get up and rolling again.
And they’ve been so cooperative with us with this ‘Bubble’ thing that we owe an obligation to the state of Nevada and Las Vegas to do as many events as we can, once we get up and running with spectators.”
Lomachenko 14-1, 10 KOs and Lopez 15-0, 12 KOs were originally supposed to fight on May 30th at Madison Square Garden before the Coronavirus outbreak shut down the sport in mid-March.
Unquestionably, it is one of the most anticipated fights for the rest of this year under the Top Rank “promotional umbrella.” And, it only makes sense that Arum would wait as long as possible through the Summer to at least potentially have some fans in attendance and help with live gate revenue.
Currently, Top Ranks deal with the state of Nevada is to hold fights with in their “bubble” at the MGM Grand Resort/Convention center without fans present. And, they intend to continue doing that through likely into August.
Further, Arum told Boxingscene that they are considering several venues for the possibility of Lomachenko -Lopez,
“We’re working very closely with the MGM,” Arum said. “It could be at the MGM Grand. It could be at the Mandalay Bay, which is re-opening soon. It could be at T-Mobile [Arena]. It would really be up to them.”
Although he did not mention it, they might be able to use the new 70,000 seat Allegiant Stadium to easily socially distance 10,000 or so fans. That stadium is nearly complete now, and will be the home to the Las Vegas Raiders and the NFL for the first time this fall.
As it stands right now, the weekend of September 19th – 20 is slated to be the second in the NFL season and the Raiders are playing their first regular season game at home on Monday night September 21st against the New Orleans Saints.
So, it’s unlikely that Top Rank, the State of Nevada, but more importantly, the team and the NFL would go along with having a major prize fight, so close to that historic debut night.
And, Top Rank could theoretically could still have 5,000 or more fans socially distanced in September for Lomachenko-Lopez in the large T-Mobile Arena or MGM Grand Garden Arena.