Stevenson-Marriaga, Conlan-Preciado MSG Cards Officially Postponed

After giving it a few hours to think about, Top Rank went ahead and scrapped their double-feature fight card altogether.

Shakur Stevenson’s fight against Miguel Marriaga on Saturday, March 14 and Michael Conlan’s bout against Belmar Preciad on Tuesday, March 17 will no longer be taking place inside Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. This is after the initial news that the events were going to be closed off to the public.

“After close consultation with the New York State Athletic Commission, it has been determined that Saturday’s and Tuesday’s events cannot proceed in light of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis,” Top Rank stated in a release. “Top Rank will work with the Commission to reschedule the events as soon as it is safe for all involved.

“The health and safety of the fighters and their teams, and everyone involved in the promotion of these events, necessitated taking this step.”

Top Rank joins a number of combat sports that has had to postpone, allow events with no fans or move them to different areas. ONE Championship, KSW, Bare-Knuckle FC, Bellator and the UFC are recent examples of change happening due to the coronavirus.

This would have been Conlan’s fourth fight inside the Hulu Theater on St. Patrick’s Day. He ended up beating Ruben Hernandez via unanimous decision back in 2019. Since then he has gone 2-0, his last time out being inside the main Garden, beating Olympic nemesis Vladimir Nikitin via unanimous decision. Prior to the card getting postponed, Conlan was ready for war, but was sympathetic to all those who couldn’t attend the event.

“I can’t apologize,” Conlan stated during Top Rank media day. “It’s not my fault, but I’m devastated because there were thousands coming over that had to cancel flights and tickets and stuff because the {St. Patrick’s Day} parade was canceled also. It’s not nice, but it is what it is. I’m a fighter. I have to do my job Tuesday night.”

Stevenson (13-0) won the vacant WBO belt against Joet Gonzalez via unanimous decision back in October. He became the first male fighter from the 2016 Olympics to win a world title.

It is unknown when and where these cards are going to be moved. With testing becoming an important factor, and the rise in infections around the world, Top Rank was not going to risk anyone involved.

“We thought we had solved the problem by saying no audience, but then the question became whether any of the fighters had the virus,” Top Rank’s Bob Arum stated, via Newsday. “There was no way to get testing for them so we agreed with the New York Athletic Commission that the fights would be called off.”

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