Bob Arum admits putting on fights without crowds is far from ideal.

Amid these extremely unusual circumstances, however, it is the only way regulatory agencies in the United States will even consider allowing boxing cards to take place. After postponing events scheduled for Saturday night and Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater, Arum is exploring the possibility of moving upcoming shows his company is promoting to a studio setting in Las Vegas. has learned that a studio setting is an option to try to salvage Arum’s show scheduled for March 28. That card, headlined by IBF/WBC light heavyweight champ Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) and IBF mandatory challenger Meng Fanlong (16-0, 10 KOs), will not be held at Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada, as originally planned.

According to Arum, the only way the Nevada State Athletic Commission would sanction such events in studio settings is if all fighters scheduled to compete would be tested for coronavirus. Almost all sporting events in the United States have been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re gonna try to set up a studio atmosphere in Vegas, so we can do fights maybe,” Arum said during Friday’s episode of “The Ak & Barak Show” on SiriusXM. “You know, ESPN, unfortunately for them, doesn’t have content. They don’t have the NBA, they don’t have college basketball, they don’t have the women’s tournament. So, they’re gonna need content. And we can provide content. We’ve talked to the athletic commission here [in Nevada], doing fights in a studio. But we’ve got to get the testing done. We’ve gotta get enough tests here, so that we can test the fighters before the fights, so we can show that they do not have the virus. Or, if they have the virus, they can’t fight. I mean, that’s what we’re working on.”

ESPN is supposed to televise the Beterbiev-Meng card as part of its exclusive content partnership with Arum’s Top Rank Inc.

ESPN was forced to fill air time Saturday night that had been reserved for a Top Rank show that was to feature WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs), of Newark, New Jersey, and Colombia’s Miguel Marriaga (29-3, 25 KOs) in the 12-round main event from Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. On Tuesday night, ESPN+ was scheduled to stream a card in which Northern Ireland’s Michael Conlan (13-0, 7 KOs) was supposed to encounter Colombia’s Belmar Preciado (20-2-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-round main event at Hulu Theater.

Top Rank postponed those two shows Thursday night in part because the 14 fighters that were set to compete Saturday night hadn’t been tested for coronavirus. Top Rank had announced earlier Thursday that it planned to proceed with those two shows without fans in attendance. 

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.