Showtime’s tentative plan is to televise all eight cards the network announced Wednesday from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
That strategy could change, however, if fans are allowed to attend boxing matches and other sporting events elsewhere once COVID-19 restrictions are loosened. Stephen Espinoza, Showtime’s president of sports and event programming, explained the network’s perspective on venues for upcoming cards during a virtual press conference Wednesday.
“Our initial few fights are going to be at Mohegan Sun,” Espinoza said. “They’ve been a great host so far, and we expect to work really well with them. Having said that, these [fighters] and the fans want a chance to interact, so we’re going to monitor the situation and try and figure out if there’s an opportunity to go outside of Connecticut, especially in front of a crowd, we could jump at it, as long as we can do it safely. So, I think the initial plan is to stick at Mohegan, but we’re gonna keep an eye out and monitor the situation, and hope that we can get back to normal relatively soon.”
Showtime’s two pay-per-view events especially would benefit from different locations if fans can attend those shows. That’d require various states to flatten coronavirus curves relatively soon.
Houston is Al Haymon’s preferred site for the six-fight pay-per-view event September 26 that’ll feature the Charlo twins. Jermall Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs), who’ll defend his WBC middleweight title versus Ukraine’s Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs), and Jermell Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs), who’ll face the Dominican Republic’s Jeison Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) in a 154-pound title unification fight, are Houston natives.
Haymon also would like to bring the Gervonta Davis-Leo Santa Cruz card scheduled for October 24 to the Los Angeles area. Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) is from Southern California and Davis has proven himself as a draw in his hometown of Baltimore, Atlanta and Carson, California.
Without fans and the accompanying revenue stream, however, Showtime’s home base will remain at Mohegan Sun. Its first card there is scheduled for August 1, when Philadelphia’s Stephen Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs) and Las Vegas’ Angelo Leo (19-0, 9 KOs) will fight for the vacant WBO junior featherweight title in the 12-round main event.
Showtime’s 2020 slate is scheduled to end December 12. France’s Nordine Oubaali (17-0, 12 KOs) is set to defend his WBC bantamweight championship against Las Vegas’ Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26 KOs), his mandatory challenger, in the main event that night.
FOX, which also has a deal with Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions organization, is expected to announce its summer and fall schedule sometime next week.
FOX’s network and pay-per-view shows will take place at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles at least until fans can attend cards.
The first FOX boxing show since March 7 is scheduled for August 8. It will feature Las Vegas’ Thomas Dulorme (25-3-1, 16 KOs) and Minneapolis’ Jamal James (26-1, 12 KOs) in a 12-round fight for the WBA’s interim welterweight title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.