What Is Top Rank’s Plan For Future Fight Cards?
Returning to action in June, Top Rank was one of the first major promotions to produce boxing events during the COVID-19 pandemic. Championships changed hands and solid fights were produced. Now, the promotion will look ahead to the next phase of its return to form.
Speaking with Boxing Scene, Bob Arum discussed the idea of bringing back a semi-normal fight card. During its time back, Arum has been producing fight cards that have up to four-five fights on them. While future fights will air on ESPN as they normally have, Arum will look to create an undercard of sorts, with three fights airing on ESPN+.
“We’re gonna go, when we start again, to seven fights on the cards,” Arum stated, “figuring that we’re gonna lose one or two along the way. For example, let’s assume we do an event and all seven get through the COVID-19 testing. We’ll take three fights and maybe show those on ESPN+ or show highlights on ESPN, and still go with four on the telecast. We’re doing the best we can. At least the fighters understand what we’re up against.”
Top Rank will be producing shows regularly on the weekends from August 22 until September 26. During its return, Top Rank was producing shows on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. With a regular sports schedule returning (MLB, NBA, etc.), the idea of mid-week fights was not going to last.
Regarding losing fights, almost every Top Rank show that went on from inside the MGM Grand Conference Center lost a fight or main event. This was either due to weight issues or related to COVID-19. Jamel Herring, Mark John Yap, Mikkel LesPierre (his manager), and Mikaela Mayer are recent examples. Having backups could end up helping Arum in the long run.
The next major card for Top Rank will be Eleider Alvarez v. Joe Smith Jr. on August 22. The bout will take place inside the “Bubble” in Las Vegas.