Showtime Targeting July For A Boxing Return
As the world slowly starts reopening its doors in the wake of the coronavirus, boxing is looking to get a head start on returning to action. Like other promotions, Stephen Espinoza’s Showtime is eyeing the summer as a potential landing spot when it comes to holding events.
Speaking to Boxing Scene, Espinoza, the President of Sports and Event Programming, is looking into locations and nights that make sense.
“We’re targeting sometime in July to return,” Espinoza stated. “And obviously, we’re spending a tremendous amount of time right now trying to make the environment as safe as possible. Keep in mind, that involves working with PBC as they set up protocols for the fighters and promoters. And it’s also working with our parent company [ViacomCBS], as we set up protocols for our employees and contractors.”
Espinoza joins Top Rank’s Bob Arum and Golden Boy’s Oscar De La Hoya as promoters hoping boxing can thrive under the current conditions. A model they have all looked at is the UFC, which hosted UFC 249 this past weekend and continues to hold events in Jacksonville, Florida.
Something to look into is whether the late summer can work or not. Gyms across America are shut down, and fighters are limited due to travel restrictions. Like baseball is planning, Espinoza is looking into an extended training camp for fighters to be prepared for whenever fighting resumes.
“Practically speaking, we want the fighters to have a full camp,” Espinoza went on to say. “For example, California is just starting to re-open. Texas is just starting to re-open within the last week, along with a lot of other states. That means that a lot of the fighters in California, Texas and elsewhere haven’t had regular access to a gym or to sparring. So, could we rush back in June? Sure. But that wouldn’t give the fighters the best opportunities to succeed.
As far as who would be competing on the cards, that is unknown. With no revenue to gain if no fans are inside the building, Arum has been adamant a fighter like Tyson Fury won’t be competing, With Premier Boxing Champions postponing several fights as a result of the coronavirus, those fighters who didn’t get to compete may get priority booking. They include David Benavidez, Jamal James, and Luis Nery.
Espinoza is looking to make this a smooth process. With no need to rush, Espinoza wants to handle the situation in a logical way.
“We’re not gonna come back just for the sake of coming back,” Espinoza stated. “There’s no particular value in saying, ‘We’re the first,’ or, ‘We’re the second.’ The value is coming back with fights that matter, with fighters who have had a fair opportunity to prepare. That’s the key. Nobody wants to see fights with unprepared fighters, in meaningless tune-up fights. So, coming back in July is our target.”