By Alan Hubbard
When I was a kid my mum used to give me a ticking off whenever I got a bit impatient, usually just before Christmas when the pressies were stacked temptingly around the tree. “All good things come to those who wait,” she would remind me.
That’s precisely how I feel now about all the live sport that has been pushed back because of this dreadful coronavirus, especially boxing.
Of course I am disappointed that most of the upcoming collisions between the big beasts of boxing not least that humdinger of a domestic dust-up between the unbeaten, thunder-punching pair Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce, have been put on hold. But my appetite remains even more whetted.
I can’t wait to see it. But as my old mum said, the tastiest of morsels are well worth waiting for.
Sensibly, like other promoters, Hall of Famer Frank Warren has followed government advice. The original date of Saturday, April 11 at the 02 has been rescheduled for Saturday, July 11 at the same venue.
Frustrating, I know, but the good thing is that this will give the fight – and the fighters – an extra edge. Both are champing at the gumshield to get it on and will be in even sharper condition in order to peak at the later date.
One reason why neither will take time off from training – like chief support Anthony Yarde and others on postponed bills – is that the fitter and healthier you are the greater your defence against this wretched virus.
The quickfire shootout between Dynamite Dan and Juggernaut Joe reminds me of the great Western, High Noon – which doubtless is one of the old movies we will be seeing repeatedly as the TV channels look to fill screen time that otherwise would be occupied by live sport.
Personally I would much rather see re-runs old fights than old movies. For instance, there is a whole generation out there who have never seen the fantastic Rumble in the Jungle or Thrilla in Manila in their entirety; or Eubank v Benn, Calzaghe v Lacy Hatton v Tszyu or the two Sugars, Robinson and Leonard at their sweetest.
The same goes for football. What possessed the BBC go show a tired old comedy sketch in the Match of the Day slot last Saturday night? In future while we await its return let’s see the 1966 and other World Cup finals, plus previous Matches of the Day which will remind us what football was like in pre-VAR days.
Who would have thought that that an incurable disease passed on by a bat to an exotic creature sold as an allegedly edible delicacy in a provincial Chinese market last December four months later would have brought not only the world of sport to a standstill, but virtually the world itself.
That strange mammal, a pangolin, said to be an endangered species, is now widely believed to be the source of the coronavirus, officially known as Covid-19, which has raced unchecked around the globe causing what the British prime minister has described as the worst crisis since World War II.
Both mainland Europe and America are in total lockdown, their borders closed. All apparently because someone ate the infected meat of the pangolin, whose scaly skin is also used in Chinese medicine.
Seems hard to believe but having lived and worked in the Far East for a few years I can vouch for the fact that some of the older generation of Chinese will eat anything that moves, from dogs to dormice, tiger’s testicles to snake soup, mainly because they believe it enhances virility. I was once invited to a function at a Chinese restaurant in Singapore where the dish of the day was a steamed bullock’s penis, which you sliced off rather like a lamb shank. And very tasty it was too!
Inevitably sooner or later such a bizarre diet was bound to inflict more than an upset tummy.
This is not to make light of a terribly scary situation that is likely to change not only sport, but society, greatly affecting all our lives. No-one seems to know where it will all end.
The latest edict from Boris Johnson, is that we old’uns, said to be most vulnerable, should self-isolate (i.e. stay indoors and preferably home alone for the next three months – maybe longer).
This may be okay for those who have hobbies which keep them occupied. But what about people like myself who don’t DIY, decorate, tend the garden or collect stamps?
Normally we might settle down with a cuppa or a glass of plonk and watch some live sport on the box. But there won’t be any because it’s all been cancelled, suspended or postponed until further notice.
I suppose I could read a few novels, even try and write one. But more likely I will be just twiddling my thumbs – and washing my hands as instructed to do copiously while murmuring the national anthem or Happy Birthday to You twice to ensure they are properly clean.
Stalwart sports events such as Wimbledon, the FA Cup final and the Open golf tournament are under threat. Anything which attracts a crowd, from darts to skateboarding. Even a karate tournament has got the chop.
Yet curiously our government has ignored the advice of its chief scientific officer who opposed halting major sport, saying that, for instance you are more likely to catch the virus watching sport on television in the confined atmosphere of a pub than in a stadium because of the close proximity of others. Yes, if you sit next to someone who is infected in a stadium filled with thousands, you might get it. But in a pub or club so might several others too.
And so it goes on. Or rather, off.
With senior citizens confined to barracks even bowls, bingo and bridge clubs will be deserted.
Nothing seems to be left unscathed by a horrific pandemic which has brought unprecedented panic and pandemonium to our shores.
All this doom and gloom and doom and no boxing for awhile. It’s enough to drive us all, er, batty.
Like all sports, boxing has to respect the referee who, in this case, is dear old Boris. He has ordered ‘Break’. Now we eagerly await the command to ‘Box On’.
Stay safe, folks.
(The ‘Seek and Destroy’ Event being headlined by Daniel Dubois v Joe Joyce on April 11 at the O2 Arena has now been rescheduled to Saturday July 11, still at the O2 Arena. Tickets will remain valid for the new date however, people who cannot attend the new date can obtain a refund from their original point of purchase).