By: Aiden Holczer
As the hysteria surrounding the COVID-19 virus rises with each passing day, it’s safe to say that the hype train surrounding sports is at an all-time low. Almost all major sports organizations (NBA, UFC, NHL, etc) have canceled or suspended all further sporting events, leading to a never-before-seen drought in the sports world.
As such, sports fans have had to find their own unique ways to cope during these tumultuous times. Many fans have cracked open the vault of time and watched archived footage from games of old. Others, in an effort to fill the void left by a lack of sports gambling, have resulted to betting on marble races, NBA 2k games, and even the weather.
At the moment, the state of sports seems dim, but perhaps there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m referring to the recently announced charity boxing match between FS1’s Skip Bayless and ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith. First reported by Adam Schefter, the match is set to take place on May 16th in Madison Square Garden.
Due to the strict “stay-at-home” laws in place all across the country, no fans will be in attendance, and the event will be available for pay-per-view on ESPN+, DAZN, and FOX Sports, with all proceeds going to Coronavirus-relief . The only people allowed to be in attendance are the fighters themselves, one coach per corner, the three sanctioned New York State Athletic Commission judges and the referee.
Skip Bayless’s cornerman is none other than long time friend and frequent guest on FS1’s Undisputed, Dwayne Michael Carter Jr, better known by his stage name, Lil Wayne. Carter Jr. is a prolific cut man, who’s wide array of ice will help to bring down any swelling Skip might procure throughout the bout. Stephen A. has decided to go with boxing historian and co-host of ESPN’s First Take, Max Kellerman. Kellerman has been the voice of boxing for over 20 years and has seen it all. He will be able to provide Stephen A. with coaching that will make Cus D’Amato and Freddie Roach proud.
The bout is set to take place at a catchweight of 185lbs in order to put limited stress on the two broadcasting legends. The Las Vegas betting odds opened today with Skip Bayless being the -120 favorite, and Stephen A. coming in as the underdog at +200. When asked, bettors cited Skip Bayless’s heavily muscled physique as the X-factor they believed would give him the edge. The notorious “Mattress Mack” liked these odds so much that he has reportedly placed a $300,000 bet on ESPN’s own Stephen A. Smith.
The CDC has put out a recommendation against large “watch-parties”, insisting that “all fans should view the event from the comfort of their own homes.” Shannon Sharpe, Skip Bayless’s co-host on FS1’s Undisputed, disagrees. Stating on Instagram that “CLUB SHAY SHAY IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS!” whilst posing with his goat mask on and a full bowl of popcorn.
Whether you’re attending Club Shay Shay or Club Quarantine, one thing is for certain. For the first time in what feels like forever, the entire sports world has something to look forward to.