By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
The sport of boxing has been on the canvas for weeks as the dreaded novel coronavirus continues to spread in 210 countries and territories. Major fight cards are postponed as the host countries struggle to contain the deadly virus. While fight fans are reminiscing about classic fights at home, the powers that be are discussing the various scenarios where boxing can make a comeback.
That will depend first of all if the efforts to “flatten the curve” will actually succeed. It is not just sports, but entire governments want to reopen and go back to the way things were. But every day, when we turn on the news, we find that we are still far from getting back to normal.
The President of the WBO, Paco Valcarcel, has said that the WBO has withdrawn sanctioning of bouts through the month of June as well as freezing their rankings. A couple of weeks ago, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman said that for fights to resume, even behind closed doors, strict protocols should be in place for the fighters and their teams which include “having fighters and their teams isolated for at least a month in the areas where the function would take place and during that period, they would have to do the laboratory medical tests to make sure everyone is healthy."
The website of the WBA has an article stating that its president, Gilberto Jesus Mendoza and the members of the directorate met virtually to discuss having boxing events behind closed doors. Last April 17,the IBF lost Board member and former referee Eddie Cotton, who passed away and was diagnosed with COVID-19 at the hospital.
A couple of weeks ago, Top Rank’s Bob Arum said he was in no rush to get fighters back into the ring. One of the high profile bouts postponed by the Covid-19 pandemic is the bantamweight unification between John Riel Casimero and Naoya Inoue. Arum recently said that the fight is unfortunately now in the backburner. Matchroom Sports’s Eddie Hearn has also been talking about fights being held behind closed doors and smaller venues.
The low income boxers will be severely affected by the pandemic. They may wind up not having any fights and purses for several months, even until the end of the year.
So how can boxing make a comeback? These are the few scenarios that crossed my mind:
Boxers will obviously need to be tested negative for the novel coronavirus before they are cleared to fight. Then we will have to test the cornermen and the boxing officials. I would not be surprised if even the ring girls need to be cleared as well.
Then we will have to screen the spectators. Temperature checks as well as having them seated at least six feet apart. Masks would have to be required for everyone in the venue who is not fighting. Fewer spectators would mean less ticket sales and could very well mean that plans for big fights could be put on hold.
This will still be a worrisome scenario without a vaccine or cure.
What are the medical scientists doing in the race for a cure?
An article posted on the BBC website stated that more than 150 different drugs are being researched around the world. Most are already existing drugs that are being tested against the virus. Many research centers around the world are attempting to use the blood of patients who recovered from the virus as a treatment. The results of the various drug trials will be available in the next few months.
Human trials for vaccines have started last month. Usually, it takes years to develop a vaccine but desperate times call for desperate measures and the race for an effective vaccine against Covid-19 has been fast-tracked. The most optimistic experts say it will be available by mid-2021.
There are countries like Sweden that are using a herd immunity strategy, Herd immunity happens when enough people have immunity to a disease, in this case through exposure and natural immunity, to make it difficult for the virus to infect new victims.
The situation remains an uphill battle. Any of the major sports will be different without the roar of the crowd. Not just from a profit standpoint but also if you view it from the drama or lack of it when no cheers can be heard when a boxer gets knocked down.
The bottom line is the safety of the participants. No one will be taking a risk of staging an event where people could catch a potentially fatal illness. For that to happen, a cure and a vaccine are needed to be widely available.
But fans should not lose hope. Medical science will find a way to save not just boxing but the entire planet.
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.