Boxing is a weird sport. Practically like no other. In what other sport can an athlete or team for that matter, have a few tune up contests before facing real competition?
In the UFC, if you’re ranked number one, then guess what? You’re going to face the number two contender. At worse number three. In sports like basketball and football, whoever is on your schedule then that is who you are facing.
It doesn’t matter if you are a rookie quarterback with a horrible team that’s taking on the defending champions. Get your Helmet on and get ready to play. That is also the main reason why soccer is one of the most popular sports on online sports betting sites. The element of the surprise and the insanely high odds sometimes attract new bettors to the scene.
In boxing however, that’s just not how it goes. Just take a look at Errol Spence Jr. Before he became a regular on pound-for-pound lists and a unified Welterweight champion, he couldn’t find a fight. Well, technically he could, but it wasn’t one that anyone was truly interested in. Demetrius Andrade has been a pro for 12 years, he’s won titles in two different weight classes, carries an undefeated record and currently holds the WBO Middleweight title. Yet, he can’t find one single noteworthy opponent.
Now, with COVID-19 forcing everyone to take a standing eight count, boxing finds itself with a condensed schedule. While less boxing isn’t exactly what fans want to hear, it could be the best thing that has ever happened to them.
Boxing is all about warm ups. Take a few fights to get ready and then jump into the big one. But now, there isn’t any time for it. Fights like Danny Garcia vs Rod Salka aren’t going to happen when boxing resumes. Neither will Terence Crawford vs Jose Benavidez Jr.
Nope, for the first time in a long time, boxing will mostly be analogous to every other sport where the best face the best.
COVID-19 doesn’t exactly have an end date. But the fall is the rumor that has been floating around as to when fighters could be cleared to return. Albeit without any fans. If that time table checks out, then it would give fighters roughly four months to get inside of the ring before the year ends.
Now in no means are fighters living paycheck to paycheck. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to cash at least one before the end of the year. Bouts with lesser fighters might look great on a fighters resume, but it won’t feel so good in their bank accounts.
If fighters expect to get the big bucks this year, then they simply can’t settle on soft touches.
Every single big name fighter from virtually every division must be itching to get into the ring. The excuses of wanting to get off the ring rust don’t apply here. Everyone has taken an unwanted amount of time away from the ring. So while the rust might be present in their first fight back, everyone will be fighting on the same playing field.
COVID-19 has been nothing but bad news. Its pressed an indefinite pause on sports, closed down businesses and created a crisis is reminiscent of the Great Depression in the 1930s. But for boxing fans, this deleterious disease could provide them with a pathway to the big fights that they more than likely would not have gotten in the first place.