Stevenson vs. Marriaga Preview/Cancelled
By Robert Ecksel on March 12, 2020
It’s only a matter of time before boxing takes this virus as seriously as it needs to be taken.
In a fight televised live Saturday night on ESPN and ESPN Deportes from Madison Square Garden’s empty Hulu Theater, due to Covid-19, the global pandemic happening in real time, WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs), the 22-year-old southpaw from Newark, New Jersey, will defend his title against 33-year-old Miguel “Escorpión” Marriaga (29-3, 25 KOs), the perennial contender from Arjona, Colombia.
“We’ve been trying to make this fight with Miguel Marriaga for a long time now,” said Stevenson. “I wanted a strong opponent for my first title defense. He’s been in the ring with multiple world champions, and I am ready to prove that I am the best featherweight in the world. This is my fourth fight at Madison Square Garden, but my first as a world champion and it will be my best performance yet.”
A prohibitive underdog, to put it mildly, Marriaga has heavy hands but fell short in his three previous title challenges, against Vasiliy Lomachenko and Oscar Valdez in 2017, and Nicholas Walters two years earlier.
“I always wanted this fight, and the time is right now that he’s a world champion,” Marriaga said. “He speaks often about how people are ducking him, but here I am. Colombia will have a new world champion March 14.”
With professional and amateur sports ending their current seasons or before their new seasons begin, it’s only a matter of time before boxing takes this as seriously as it needs to be taken.
Buckle up. This is the calm before the storm. Coronavirus doesn’t discriminate. One can be black or white, rich or poor, athletic or slovenly, a radical socialist or among the Trumpenproletariat, nobody is immune.
Neither boxer, by the way, has been tested as of this writing.
The seer from Culiacan
Boxing may have been momentarily relegated to the backburner, but you can’t keep a good sport down for long. Still, for those that need comforting, need reminding that hoarding toilet paper and survival biscuits is an overreaction, look no further than the seer from Culiacan, the old soul who goes by the name of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
In an attempt to quell the disquieted mob, the part-time boxer took to social media with the all the depth and clarity we’ve come to expect.
“They say there is coronavirus in Culiacan,” he wrote. “True or not true, it’s a pure show to me. Not from China to Culiacan, although there are many Chinese in Culiacan. Good Chinese food!”