Coronavirus and economic upheaval: Many fighters to leave boxing?
“The coronavirus is creating a fundamental opportunity to remake the economy,” said Azeem Azhar, an analyst who runs the popular industry newsletter Exponential View.
When this is over, the pandemic fallout will have ushered in a brave, new world; But, a lot must happen before the masses acclimate to that paradigm shift that's only just begun.
From a business sector standpoint, there will be winners and losers but the world will eventually get back on track and adapt to a new - or greatly modified - normalcy. Until then, we will experience a painful unheval, a purging that threatens to impact the lives of almost everyone.
Not only will businesses not suited for the post-coronavirus world continue to go under, businesses that would have otherwise prospered post-coronavirus will succumb to the harsh financial repercussions of the current shutdown that has most of the world temporarily closed for business.
Sustainability is king - and boxing is no exception.
"If this drags on to September, October, November, December, we'll have fighters that have not boxed this year," famed boxing promoter Eddie Hearn told Reuters last week.
"The fighters at the top end are going to be fine but the fighters coming through, small hall fighters, ones starting their careers or those who do not have a sponsorship deal face big concerns."
"They will have to give up the sport of boxing and get a job and that's heartbreaking for someone trying to live their dreams."
"Look at the Olympics -- these people have grafted for four years to achieve their dream and fight in Tokyo," commented Hearn.
"There's no chance of these Olympics taking place so what are they going to do? Everything is going to be a complete reshuffle of every sport."
Keep in mind, the crisis won't end when there's a cure or when coronavirus is subdued.
When it's over, some promoters will have moved on, club halls will have shut down and a lot of people, whether re-employed or still not working, will be too strapped for money to attend local boxing shows for awhile.
The keyword is awhile. That doesn't mean the situation will be permanent. But there will be considerable fallout to what we're experiencing. We obviously don't know to what degree.
Nevertheless, how much work will there be in the next 5 years for local club fighters or guys not already ranked in the top 40 of their division who don't have strong, outside financial backing?
If you're not already an accomplished fighter or someone who's easily promotable, it could be years until you get the opportunity to earn a purse equal to your most recent.
And fighters with part-time jobs will be impacted as well.
Many will likely transition into full-time employees if the opportunity exists. And even those boxers with other full-time jobs will feel the pinch of fewer fights and lower purses.
"If you don't run a sustainable business, very quickly this is going to unfold on you like a ton of bricks," Hearn added.
Again, sustainability is king.
Maybe the landscape for local and upcoming fighters will fully rebound in 5 years. Even so, they'll need a vocation to ensure sustainability from now until then.
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