Updated: Oct 14
The much anticipated exhibition boxing match between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. has been rescheduled to November 28th, Thanksgiving weekend. The return of "Iron" Mike is being promoted by Rhode Island based promotion, and New England stalwart, Classic Entertainment Sports (CES). The Burchfield's are aligned to make their biggest waves yet in the combat sports industry, and that says a lot with the history that the organization brings to the table here in New England.
The move was announced by Tyson's camp and social media platform, Triller, on Tuesday. It's been publicly stated that pushing the date back makes sense from a viewership perspective, and I agree, as the viewing audience will be much larger on a holiday weekend when the weather is a little chillier versus the original mid-September date. It also affords them more time to promote the event, build anticipation, and nail down international tv rights deals, which are rumored to be another big reason for the postponement.
The match is scheduled as an "exhibition" bout, which is being overseen by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), but with two competitive legends in the ring, you have to assume they'll be throwing some bombs. We can only hope.
As state governments are doubling down with restrictions on the size of gatherings we are getting some more clarity on the landscape of future of events in the region. The only MMA promotions with scheduled events as of Monday were New England Fights (September 12th - Orono, ME) and Premier FC (October 3rd - Springfield, MA). But with Massachusetts governor, Charlie Baker, further restricting the number of people within a venue to 25, it became evidently clear that Karyn Wesch and Premier FC would have an impossible task of pulling off the scheduled event in October.
The writing had been on the wall for quite a while, but Wesch's optimism pushed her forward with matching fights for the card. At the end of the day it comes down to Charlie Baker and what his administration deems law, and it doesn't matter who you talk to in local and state government. The buck stops with Baker and his administration, and their conservative approach of reopening the state makes it nearly impossible to pull off a fan-less event, let alone an attended event. Unfortunately, I'd be surprised if we saw live regional MMA in Massachusetts before the end of the year, and quite possibly not until there is a vaccine.
Wesch has to be commended for sticking her neck out on this one, but it just wasn't in the cards. We were hoping that the event could proceed as planned, but with mass hysteria still an everyday part of our lives, reality tells us that governments are going to take a very slow approach to allowing these types of gatherings.
Matt Peterson and Nick DiSalvo also had a scheduled event in Orono, Maine in a month, but with the Pine Tree state in a similar position as Massachusetts as it relates to reopening, it just isn't going to happen. NEF has yet to make an official announcement, but logic can formulate that Janet Mills has little intent of lifting her thumb off the small businesses in the state any time soon. It's highly unlikely that we'll see a live event in Maine before the end of the year as well.