Not one but five exciting heavyweight bouts at the Microsoft Theatre in LA

TGB Promotions’ next Boxing show features 10 Heavyweights (all have a winning record) and all are set to battle it out Saturday, November 7, 2020 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. At the Microsoft Theatre? Isn’t that the same venue where they host all those big concerts, plus the Emmys and ESPYs? The ownership has certainly come down a peg in their expectations. 

On June 9, 2015, in its first namingrights deal for a sports or entertainment building, Microsoft put its moniker and logo on the downtown Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. The theater which has hosted more than 700 concerts, the ESPY Awards, the Emmys, BET Awards, American Music Awards, People’s Choice Awards and MTV Video Music Awards is in AEG’s L.A. Live entertainment/shopping complex in downtown Los Angeles, across from the Staples Center.
Can you imagine, on Saturday night, November 7, 2020, local boxer, heavyweight Rafael Rios of San Diego (11-2) will be battling Carlos Negron (21-3) at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. Back on April 16, 2017, Little Big Town, Tori Kelly, Cynthia Erivo, Thomas Rhett, Kelsea Ballerini, John Travolta, Andra Day, Demi Lovato, Barry Gibb, Nick Jonas, DNCE, Pentatonix, Stevie Wonder, Panic at the Disco plus Tavares all appeared at this very same venue on that Stayin’ Alive tribute: A GRAMMY Salute to the Music of the Bee Gees

With the Covid 19 numbers currently rising here in California and in countries throughout the world, forcing limits on large gatherings to virtually cripple these magnificent venues like the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles how can they now be opening their doors to a boxing show?  

Is it their intention to follow in the footsteps of ESPN, Top Rank and the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas? Like ESPN will they be able to safeguard the boxers, their staff and officials, hoping beyond hope that everything continues to go right – until it doesn’t? How ambitious/cautious will the promoter be? Without the same 10 physicians from the Walter Reed Medical Center on call as were available to President Trump, these people need to be extremely vigilant.

The return of boxing to the United States has taken months of planning. The study of over 20 different protocols from sports leagues to movie studios to large corporations led to the creation of a 20-page, five-pronged plan, which Top Rank then delivered to the Nevada State Athletic Commission to make certain their Fightcards were set up to quarantine and keep their fighters safe. There are no fans, limited media, and only the bare necessary support staff. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, which helps detect COVID-19 remains commonplace to insure review and identifying of any potential risk to establish a method of emergency communication, creating the safest possible environment to execute their plan.

Before a fighter arrives at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas for the final stages of his camp, they’re required to fill out a questionnaire asking if they had come into contact with anyone with COVID-19. If they’ve had a fever at or above 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit within the past 72 hours, and what their recent travel history was. Did they have any symptoms before they drove or flew to Vegas. While fighters and their teams were encouraged to drive, flying was allowed. Boxers generally arrive the Friday before their Tuesday night fight.
Once a fighter lands in Las Vegas, the team is then transported in a sanitized vehicle to take a PCR test, the results of which take six hours. If a fighter or anyone on that team tests positive either at this test or at the test following the weigh-in, they are immediately quarantined, and their fight is off. If their tests are negative, the team is then allowed to check in to the MGM Grand Hotel through a private entrance and taken up a back elevator to the floor in the hotel just for Top Rank. No access is granted by elevator for other hotel guests, and all movement to and from that floor will come from a back-of-house elevator. A training schedule at a gym is provided as well as transportation in a sanitized vehicle from the elevator to the convention center. While the gym is cleaned daily, it’s the responsibility of the fighter and their team to clean and sanitize after themselves. Basically, everything is done in that convention center bubble: meals, training and their fight. Access to the bubble is allowed only for those who have a dated/color-coded wristband. If anyone leaves the bubble, they have to take another COVID-19 test to reenter. Masks must be worn at all times except when eating and in a hotel room.

The question is: “Will this same protocol established by Top Rank in conjunction with the Nevada State Athletic Commission become the standard to insure the safety of all involved? We’ll see. We’ll certainly monitor the situation and check with those put in harm’s way.

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