COVID-19 has shut down the entire sport of boxing across the world, and while there is starting to be plenty of talk from the likes of Top Rank’s Bob Arum about holding closed doors fights, Arum has an ESPN TV deal, so there are ways to make money without fans.
What about the promoters who don’t? Particularly those operating in New York and New Jersey, where coronavirus has devastated many? The likes of Star Boxing’s Joe DeGuardia and Lou DiBella, who run regular, well-promoted cards in the northeast are expecting the shutdown to hit them hardest, and with good reason.
George Willis at the NY Post spoke with DeGuardia about the situation facing himself and other promoters who regularly work at the more local level:
“We make most of our money to put on these shows from the gate. Even in some of our small television shows, the television fees aren’t sufficient to cover the cost of the show. We generate our dollars from our audience.”
DeGuardia says that they’re exploring options and realizes that everyone will have to run somehow, at some point, but he’s in a much tougher spot than Top Rank or Matchroom or Golden Boy or Queensberry Promotions, who all have good TV deals, either in the US or UK, or both.
Boxing is hurt across the board here, of course, but the smaller shows, where nobody is making multi-million dollar paydays, not only serve the sport on that local level, but also produce a lot of good fighters who move up. We may get boxing back on our TVs sooner than later, one way or another, but these guys are still going to be largely stuck.