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Las Vegas Pushes Forward into the New World Order of Boxing

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  • Las Vegas Pushes Forward into the New World Order of Boxing

    Click image for larger version  Name:	lv best.PNG Views:	1 Size:	758.2 KB ID:	17131

    By Arne K. Lang

    This coming Thursday, June 4, the Las Vegas tourism industry will take baby steps back to the future when most of the big resort-hotels on the Strip re-open after being shuttered for 79 days. Boxing will return to Sin City on June 9 after a 101-day dry spell with a Top Rank card on ESPN. Another Top Rank card is planned for June 11.

    Las Vegas has been called the last great boomtown of the 20th century. The locals should have been discomfited by that characterization. A boomtown is by nature a boom-and-bust town.

    The Las Vegas Strip went bust on March 18 when all of the casinos went dark in compliance with Gov. Stephen Sisolak’s mandate to close all non-essential businesses. To say that the Strip has been quiet since then is an understatement. This reporter was among the first to take a leisurely bicycle ride down the famous boulevard, an activity that has become more popular in recent weeks. The sidewalks were empty when previously there were hordes of people. A neon billboard that previously housed an advertisement for Cirque de Soleil read “Wash Your Hands.” Surreal.

    Social Distancing Protocols

    Visitors to Las Vegas won’t be able to barge right in to their hotel’s reception desk. First, they will be directed to a designated area to have their temperature taken. Guests and employees will be required to wear masks and no-bunching will be the rule in all the public places. Table games in the casino will have every other seat removed; in the slots area, every other machine will be blocked off.


    Top Rank got the official approval to re-introduce boxing to Las Vegas at the monthly meeting of the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Wednesday, May 27. It was a rubber-stamping as the details had already been hammered out in brainstorming sessions involving commission doctors, state health officials and executives from the host property and Top Rank. The list of protocols that Top Rank must follow reportedly runs five pages.

    The fights won’t be held in the MGM Grand Garden where Tyson Fury fought Deontay Wilder before a sold-out crowd in February, but in a ballroom in an area of the property that gets little foot traffic. It would be foolish to hold the event in a larger room as no fans will be allowed and, at least for the moment, no media either. All of the boxers and their handlers will stay on the same floor of the hotel, eat at the same restaurant, and train at the Top Rank Gym. In Bob Arum’s words, they will live in a bubble.

    Two fights have been confirmed for the June 9 card. In the main event, Shakur Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs) meets Felix Caraballo (13-1-2, 9 KOs). Stevenson, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, last fought on Oct. 26 in Reno where he won the vacant WBO world featherweight title with a 12-round decision over Joet Gonzalez. It was a masterful performance by the Newark native, a near-shutout. Stevenson’s showing, said Dan Rafael, “harkened back to the brilliance of the young Floyd Mayweather and Pernell Whitaker.” Little is known about Caraballo who will be making his first start outside his native Puerto Rico. Stevenson’s title won’t be at stake.

    In the co-feature, Mikaela Mayer (12-0, 5 KOs) meets Helen Joseph (17-4-2, 10 KOs). Unlike the Stevenson-Caraballo match, this shapes up as a very competitive fight. Joseph, a 31-year-old Nigerian who has been living in Camden, CT, has four losses on her record but in each instance she was fighting in her opponent's backyard. On paper she definitely represents Mayer’s toughest test to date.

    Also expected to appear are featherweight Robeisy Ramirez and rising heavyweight prospects Guido Vianello and Jared Anderson. Ramirez, a two-time Olympic gold medalist for Cuba, has won two straight since suffering a shocking defeat in his pro debut. It is expected that their opponents will be revealed on Monday.

    The main event on the June 11 show pits Jessie Magdaleno (27-1, 18 KOs) against Yenifel Vicente (36-4-2, 28 KOs). It will be the third fight back for Las Vegas resident Magdaleno since losing his featherweight title to Isaac Dogboe. Vicente is from Miami by way of the Dominican Republic. No other fights have yet been confirmed.

    Top Rank Boxing is expected to be back in ESPN on July 2, if not sooner. Their third event will likely include San Diego southpaw Giovani Santillan, their newest signee. Santillan, an undefeated (25-0) welterweight, will retain an affiliation with Thompson Promotions, a small LA-area firm noted for uncovering gems in the fertile Southern California terrain. Thompson proteges include Tim Bradley and former WBA/IBF super bantamweight champion Danny Roman.

    And so, boxing will return shortly. The conditions are far from ideal but it’s a start, a welcome development for boxing fans and, more than that, another sign that we are making headway in rubbing out this great plague that has caused so much heartbreak.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Nobody’s takin my temp.

    So I guess Vegas is out.


    • #3
      I think you are over-reacting my friend. It's a non-invasive procedure; we're not talking about a rectal thermometer here. I had to submit to a temperature check when I went to the dentist. It was no big deal.


      • #4
        Oh no, I go on vacation to get away, escape.

        Not to be herded like sick cattle. Not doing it.

        The dentist is different. I’ll play their games.