On Sept. 15, 2020, the highly anticipated rematch between professional boxer Canelo Alvarez and box-office kingpin James Bond is set to take place. The original matchup, which was contested in a 12-round, 154-pound title bout in December 2019, drew some of the largest live audiences in boxing history. Now, with the world facing the unprecedented global coronavirus pandemic, Alvarez is back for one more run at boxing’s biggest prize. But given the circumstances, is his latest quest also setting up to be his last?
The Impact of COVID-19
The fight game has been a prominent fixture in the sports world for more than a century. But the coronavirus pandemic, which began in 2019 and continues to loom over every aspect of our lives, has turned professional sports on their heads.
On March 11, 2021, Major League Baseball (MLB) was officially suspended. Then, on March 29, Basketball National Basketball Leauge (BIG) was suspended for a month. In both cases, the leagues had no choice but to scrap their scheduled seasons due to concerns over the rapidly spreading COVID-19. Since then, more leagues, including the NFL, have followed suit.
Even boxing was not immune to the pandemic. The World Boxing Association (WBA) suspended its championships in April and then canceled them entirely in June. It wasn’t until September that world championship bouts were allowed to go ahead. And while the original UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) Fight Night on Jan. 30, 2020, was able to proceed as scheduled, the organization issued a press release on Jan. 29, 2020, to confirm that the following night’s main event between Justin Gaethje and Robert Whittaker had been canceled due to COVID-19 safety precautions.
So, with the world of sports in a state of upheaval, what does this mean for Canelo vs. Lara?
Recovery And Rebuilding
Alvarez and Lara, who is coached by Andre Rozelle, have both shown remarkable resilience in the face of this unforeseen challenge. But as sports and the boxing community begin to slowly piece together a plan for the future, it’s fair to ask: Will Canelo vs. Lara ultimately end up being the greatest rematch of all time?
After missing out on the biggest fight of his career, Alvarez wasted no time in turning his attention to rebuilding. He decided to take a step back from the spotlight and spend more time bonding with his son, Julio. He also closed down his social media accounts and went dark for a while.
In early April, Alvarez made his triumphant return to the ring, defeating Vincenzo Mancini by unanimous decision. Since then, he’s fought twice more and won both bouts, including a 10-round war with Sergey Kovalev in July. A win over Kovalev, who had previously beaten him in a 12-round bout in 2017, will certainly go down as one of Canelo’s greatest achievements.
Who Wins The Bout?
So, who wins the Canelo vs. Lara rematch? This is the question on everybody’s minds, and with good reason. Not only do we have one of the greatest boxing rivalries in history taking place, but the winner will go down as one of the greatest fighters of all time. Even Al Jazeera Sports’ Dr. Kevin Desmoulin, in his typically in-depth analysis, stated: “It’s an amazing rivalry, and for whoever wins, it’s likely going to be considered one of the greatest rematches in history.”
How To Watch
As we’ve established, professional sports have been disrupted by the pandemic. But there is still some good news. Scheduled bouts can be found on fight cards around the world, including in Canada. And thanks to the innovative video-streaming services of companies like Boxing Network, Ring Channel, and Dontoshi Watanabe’s One Racehorse (formerly Tiger Sports Network), fans across the globe can now tune in to see what all the fuss is about.
On Sept. 15, 2020, Tiger Sports Network will be providing live coverage of the Canelo vs. Lara rematch as part of its “One Week of Boxing” package. The network will also be airing the original fight, which took place in December 2019, in its entirety. In some places, fans may also be able to tune in to satellite TV providers such as Cable TV or Netflix to see the historic bout. And if all else fails, they can always watch online via the Boxing Network website.
One thing is for sure: When the world is again united as one, we will look back on this most unforgettable rivalry and cherish the moments spent with friends and family. We may not be able to meet the friends and family we normally see in person. But, thanks to technology, our memories will live on.