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Will Top Rank and PBC shows be halted by Coronavirus?

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Will Top Rank and PBC shows be halted by Coronavirus?

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Will Top Rank and PBC shows be halted by Coronavirus?

With the Coronavirus or “Covid 19” spreading and affecting almost everyone and everything in the United States, questions abound on all subjects, including sporting events. And, for boxing, there are three upcoming fight cards this weekend and Tuesday from the two premiere promotions in the United States that we wonder about the statuses of, currently?

Top Rank Boxing and Premier Boxing Champions  (PBC) appear to still be moving forward, as scheduled, and for now, (subject to change) with fight fans will still being allowed to attend the shows in New York and Maryland. Sr. Writer, Keith Idec, had more on the story with comments from both promotions late Wednesday night:

First, the the National Basketball Association (NBA) became the first major professional league in the USA Thursday night to suspend its season. This after one of his players, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, tested positive for the Covid 19 virus. That forced the short notice cancellation of Utah’s game Wednesday night in Oklahoma City and led NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, to make the decision to put the entire NBA season on hold, pending being able to get a better handle on controlling the virus and when it would be safe/smart to resume playing hoops?

It is anticipated that the National Hockey League (NHL) may do the same thing at some point Thursday or at the very minimum, be playing games with no fans in the arenas. This, as health officials and authorities in many states have decided that no large gatherings needs to take place for sporting events.

For now, there still is not a federal edict from President Donald Trump’s administration or the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA about sporting events, but that could also be coming later Thursday or soon.

On Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA (college) which is about to hold its most prized, watched and lucrative sporting event, the men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, took the unprecedented step of saying there would be virtually no fans allowed (except for immediate family) at any of the sites where the games will be played starting next week. This would be including the massively popular and prominent “Final Four” to crown the tournament champion, still scheduled for Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta the first week in April.

So, what does this mean for the prominent fights this weekend?

As for the writing of this article the two Top Rank cards scheduled for New York City’s Madison Square Garden, Hulu Theater on Saturday and Tuesday night will still apparently be held. The Saturday night main event has WBO featherweight Champion, Shakur Stevenson, taking on Miguel Marriaga.

The Tuesday Night showcase features unbeaten Irish featherweight Michael Conlan fighting, again, in NYC on St. Patrick’s Day, in a 10 round non-title fight against Belmar Preciado.

Now, Health officials and the New York State athletic commission could rule at some point, and maybe, as soon as Thursday afternoon, that fans will not be allowed to attend those fights much the same way that the sports leagues are barring fans and large gatherings.

It should be noted, that as of this writing, those officials and officials from the Big East college conference, are allowing fans to attend the massively popular Big East Men’s basketball tournament inside Madison Square Garden’s main arena.

Again, that could change.

New York may also leave the decision up to the promotion and the fighters as to what they want to do? ESPN and the ESPN+ app are schedule to televise both shows and will obviously have some say so as to whether they are going to be postponed or cancelled all together.

As for PBC, they have a Saturday night fight card scheduled as well, for the MGM National Harbor Arena in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Their main event fight is a middleweight non title showdown between veterans Marcos Hernandez and James Kirkland.

Again, as of Thursday morning there has been no announcement from Maryland officials or PBC regarding whether fans will be allowed to attend? Or if the PBC show might be postponed or cancelled altogether? Obviously Fox Sports and FS1 cable will have some say-so in whether the fight would be rescheduled and televised by them, as part of their ongoing multi-year deal with PBC.

After the Saturday night and Tuesday night cards, there is not a world title fight coming until Saturday night March 28th, when unbeaten Unified Light Heavweight champ Artur Beterbiev will take on challenger, Meng Fanlong, in Quebec City, Canada. That is a Top Rank show and scheduled to be televised by ESPN.

And, obviously, it will be up to the Candian government and health officials, as well as the promotion and the TV network, as to whether it gets held, postponed, or fought with no fans, etc.?

As always, stay tuned.

It all could change in a matter of minutes.

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A veteran broadcaster of over 25 years, T.J. has been a fight fan longer than that! He’s the host of the “Big Fight Weekend” podcast and will go “toe to toe” with anyone who thinks that Marvin Hagler beat Sugar Ray Leonard or that Tyson, Lennox Lewis or Deontay Wilder could have beaten Ali!

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