How does Mikaela Mayer’s positive COVID-19 test impact boxing?

Boxer Mikaela Mayer prepares for her super featherweight fight. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)
Boxer Mikaela Mayer prepares for her super featherweight fight. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images) /

Here’s how Mikaela Mayer’s COVID-19 test could impact the sport. 

Top Rank is bring boxing back to ESPN on Tuesday, June 9, but they will be doing it without super featherweight boxer Mikaela Mayer after she announced that she has tested positive for COVID-19. The card will go on, but this makes us question how the sport will go on during a pandemic.

Mayer (12-0, 5 KOs) was set to fight Helen Joseph (17-4-2, 10 KOs) as the primary undercard of the Shakur Stevenson vs. Felix Caraballo main event. She broke the news of her positive COVID-19 test on Instagram and is understandably devastated that her fight is off.

“I am heartbroken to report that I will no longer be fighting on Tuesday’s Top Rank card due to a positive result in my COVID-19 test yesterday,” said Mayer via Instagram. “It came as a complete surprise. I am currently asymptomatic and am quarantining at an off-site location per recommended guidelines.”

Mayer’s positive test result comes as a surprise, but considering the current state of affairs, it’s not necessarily shocking. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum talked in-depth about testing procedures during a media call on Thursday, June 4. Arum was realistic about the new normal that sports have to conform to, which includes rigorous testing and safety procedures.

Sports are a work in progress in regards to COVID-19 protocol.

“It’s really been a work in progress and continues to be a work in progress,” said Arum. “Imagine guys come into Vegas to get into the bubble, which is a special floor at the MGM. They got to be tested. They’re in the bubble. They got to be escorted to a place to shake out and train, a place to eat. We have a special dining room set up in the convention center. All of this is something that none of us is used to.”

Arum and Top Rank are working with the safety protocols instilled by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). Las Vegas is hosting numerous boxing and MMA events over the next few months. Their procedures are made to ensure that any athletes infected with COVID-19 are identified, quarantined, and treated while not passing it on to others.

Mayer went on to state that all of the members of her team tested negative. Since she wasn’t displaying symptoms, the testing procedure played their part in detecting an athlete who seemed healthy, yet could have gone on to infect others if such rigorous protocols weren’t in place.

After the news of Mayer’s test results, members of the boxing media have pointed out that the guidelines implemented by NSAC are proving to be effective in a short period of time. Top Rank told ESPN that no other boxers have tested positive for COVID-19. It appears that the co-main event between Mayer and Joseph is the only bout on the card to be impacted due to the virus.

If no others test positive, then it seems like Top Rank and NSAC have a safe design for boxing’s return. COVID-19 is real and still a threat, but that’s why safety procedures are absolutely necessary for the indefinite future.

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Watch boxers Shakur Stevenson and Felix Caraballo battle live on Tuesday, June 9, on ESPN starting at 7 p.m. ET.