Kovalev-headlined card canceled amid virus crisis


Although it comes as no surprise, Golden Boy Promotions on Tuesday canceled the April 25 boxing card because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The show, due to include four world title fights and be headlined by former three-time light heavyweight world titlist Sergey Kovalev taking on former world title challenger Sullivan Barrera in a 12-rounder, was scheduled to take place at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, and air on DAZN. Riverside County, the location of the resort, has banned large public gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kovalev was supposed to fight for the first time since Canelo Alvarez knocked him out in the 11th round to take his 175-pound world title on Nov. 2 in Las Vegas.

“Whether it’s in Riverside County or Los Angeles County, it is clear that we must take every precaution to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19,” Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya said in a statement. “We lament the hardship this has caused for our fighters, partners, employees and state officials, and we look forward to providing better news in the coming weeks.”

Beside Kovalev-Barrera, the card was loaded with four world title fights: junior middleweight titlist Patrick Teixeira against mandatory challenger Brian Castano; secondary junior lightweight titlist Rene Alvarado facing Roger Gutierrez; strawweight titlist defending against Marco Rementizo; and junior flyweight titlist Felix Alvarado — Rene’s twin brother — squaring off with former strawweight titlist DeeJay Kriel.

“The health of our guests and Golden Boy’s athletes is our top priority,” said Paul Ryan, the general manager of Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. “This week we’ve seen professional sports leagues err on the side of caution, from the NBA and college basketball to the PGA and Major League Baseball, and we’re doing the same. It’s the right thing to do, and we look forward to having another stellar Golden Boy card here in the future.”

The postponement is just the latest of dozens of cards around the world called off because of the coronavirus. Major promoters such as Top Rank, Golden Boy, Top Rank, Matchroom Boxing, Queensberry Promotions and TGB Promotions — which handles the Premier Boxing Champions events — have all postponed their events through early May.

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