As with most fights right now, the heavyweight mandatory clash between Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev is largely up in the air.
WBN spoke to Bob Arum recently as the Top Rank boss continues to try and find a way to get top-class boxing going again.
Joshua vs Pulev was scheduled for the summer but has been pushed back indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak.
When can it happen? – Who knows, but WBN began by asking Arum about the chances of Tyson Fury replacing Pulev to battle Joshua.
It’s been pointed out many times that an undisputed unification between Joshua and Fury overrules an IBF stipulation, but as Arum explained, that’s simply not the problem.
“A unification may overrule a mandatory, but it doesn’t overrule a contract,” Arum exclusively told World Boxing News. “We’ve got a signed contract between Joshua and Pulev to fight each other.
“We can’t say, ‘oh you got to the IBF and they’ll give you relief on the mandatory. They might, they might not. But that’s irrelevant once a contract is signed.”
On how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting day-to-day negotiations, Arum stated it may not even be his decision on when and where the fight takes place.
“I talk to Eddie every week and I talk to Frank all the time. Obviously, we all want to do the best thing.
“But nobody really knows anymore, what the best thing is (due to coronavirus). This is going to be decided, where they can fight – when they can fight and under what circumstances they can fight, on a governmental level.
“Not really on a level of Boxing Commissions or the British Board.”
Asked if this was the most unusual circumstance to hit the sport in his tenure, Arum concluded: “Usually, if something happened, you’d go to the old guys to figure out how to deal with it.
“But I’ve never seen anything like this before and I’m the old guy!”
For now, like every big-money bout in the world, moving forward with no fans present seems a non-starter.
If this remains the case, Pay-Per-View events could be off the table for up to a year or more.
Phil Jay is Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay