The coronavirus in the United States is the first word mentioned when it comes to postponed sporting events, and that, of course, hit the annual St. Patrick’s Day bout headlined by Michael “Mick” Conlan. Conlan was slated to headline at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theather Tuesday evening against Belmar Preciado in what has been a yearly tradition on St. Patrick’s Day since 2017.
Despite even an attempt to have the show air with no fans amid the coronavirus pandemic, the New York State Athletic Commission scrapped the event last Thursday. Conlan, like many others, is left now waiting to see what is next time they can get into the ring.
Might set up a boxing ring in my garden and throw some community fights with random people off the street fighting each other, how much would people pay for me to stream that? ? no crowds aloud due to corona, stream only ?
— Michael Conlan (@mickconlan11) March 17, 2020
Top Rank issued a press release statement Monday evening that continues the wave of calling fights off during this unprecedented time until the end of April.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Top Rank has postponed all events scheduled for March and April. We are monitoring the situation closely and will reschedule the shows as soon as it’s safe and reasonable to do so.”
“The health and safety of our fighters, staff and ESPN’s incredible production team is the most important thing as we plan our next steps,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “We look forward to the day when we can bring our loyal fans world-class boxing once again, but exercising caution is the most prudent thing to do at this moment.”
This statement from Arum comes days before he was purposing an idea of hosting “studio show” type boxing as a means to add new content with their network partner ESPN, without any fans present. Of course, that was also before the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended all combat sport activities over the weekend.
— Joshua Greer Jr (@JoshuaGreerJr) March 16, 2020
Amongst the fights listed to take place during this time was the mandatory defense of Unified Light Heavyweight champion Artur Betrbiev taking on Meng Fanlong on March 28 at Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada.
Another bout slated for the Top Rank schedule was the Top Rank debut of “The Monster” Naoya Inoue taking on Johnriel Casimero in a Unification bout at Bantamweight for April 25. Fighting in the co-main of that card that was supposed to be in action in Las Vegas was Joshua Greer taking on Jason Moloney.
We all will sit and wait, as the world, both in and out of boxing, tries to figure this out, but this announcement from Top Rank falls in line with the other boxing promotions (big and small) stepping aside in the United States until everything sorts itself out.