With the state of Florida deeming WWE an essential business and allowing them to do live wrestling shows, Top Rank's Bob Arum is potentially looking to resume boxing in the state.
Days ago, WWE was given the green light to resume airing live episodes of Raw and SmackDown from the WWE Performance Center. An April 9 memo from the governor's office had recent additions to the list of "essential services" in Florida that include "employees at a professional sports and media production with a national audience -- including any athletes, entertainers, production team, executive team, media team and any others necessary to facilitate including services supporting such production -- only if the location is closed to the general public."
With that in mind, Arum could potentially use that memo as a way to return to doing live boxing shows later this year. Talking to ESPN, Arum said he might talk to WWE and see if it is at all possible to use their facilities to stage boxing cards with no fans allowed to enter, noting the relationship he has with Vince McMahon and WWE. However, Arum noted that if something were to come to fruition between both sides, don't expect anything to happen before June.
"It's very, very interesting, and we're going to be in touch with them. There's a possibility to use their facility to maybe do events without a crowd. We're very close with Vince [McMahon] and the WWE. So let's see, but we're still not talking before June. We haven't had a lot of new content since the middle of March. Here we are in the middle of April, and if people are being told to stay closer to the house, it sure does help to have some fresh things to be able to do," Arum said.
Several boxing shows promoted by Top Rank have been affected as a result, with fighters such as world champions Tyson Fury, Naoya Inoue and Jose Ramirez among others. In regards to Fury, who is earmarked for a trilogy fight against Deontay Wilder, and other major fights, Arum noted that those types of shows are not happening until fans are allowed to attend events.
"Those are either going to have to wait till you have spectators, or if the fighters get antsy, they will have to deal with an adjustment in their purses because you will have cut off an important revenue source from the event. For example, [Tyson] Fury and [Deontay] Wilder, the gate was close to $17 million, and that's from the public buying tickets to the fight. How do you replace that? Well, if you don't replace it -- then somebody has to eat that," Arum said.
All major boxing shows in the United States and United Kingdom have been either postponed, re-scheduled or canceled entirely through May while all boxing cards in Japan through mid-May have been called off. Top Rank, Golden Boy Promotions, Matchroom Boxing, PBC, Queensberry Promotions are just a few of many boxing entities to have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.